A giant clock on a skyscraper in Islam’s holiest city Mecca began ticking on Wednesday at the start of the fasting month of Ramadan, amid hopes by Saudi Arabia it will become the Muslim world’s official timekeeper.
The Mecca Clock, which Riyadh says is the world’s largest, has four faces measuring 43 metres in diameter.
The clock will dwarf London’s Big Ben, once the largest four-faced clock in the world, with dials more than five times greater in area.
The around 130 foot (40 meter) diameter Saudi clock dials are also bigger than the current world champion at the Cevahir Mall clock in Istanbul, which has a 36 meter face set in the transparent roof of the shopping complex.
Over 90 million pieces of coloured glass mosaic embellish the sides of the clock, which has four faces each bearing a large inscription of the name “Allah”. It is visible from all corners of the city, the state news agency said.
Each face will be inscribed with “God is greatest” in Arabic and fitted with thousands of colored lights. The clock will be visible from more than 16 miles (25 kilometers).
A huge golden crescent moon, 75 feet (23 meters) in diameter, will eventually rise above the clock on a 200 foot (61 meter) spire, from which some 15 beams will shoot up into the sky. The entire clock, from the base up to the crescent, itself will be 820 feet (251 meters) high.
At 151 feet in diameter, the four clock faces on the Mecca Royal Clock Hotel Tower is just about as wide as an American 160-foot-wide football field, and absolutely dwarfs the world’s most famous tower clock faces, Big Ben’s 23-footers. It also takes advantage of modern technology, as its four faces will light up the sky with two million LEDs.
German and Swiss engineers designed the clock and according to the Ministry of Religious Endowments, the entire project will cost $800 million.
The seven tower complex is being built by developer Saudi Binladen Group, the press agency reported.
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