Abraj al Bait
Located in Saudi Arabia, this complex of skyscraper hotels is government-owned. The complex is part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project that is devoted towards modernising the city of Makkah. The tallest tower of the lot is the tallest building in all of Saudi and the 2nd tallest building in the world – it is 601 metres high. The central tower, Makkah Royal Clock Tower, has the world’s largest clock face.
Description Abraj Al bait
There are a total of seven skyscrapers in the complex. The main funder and contractor of the project was the Saudi Binladin Group, which is the area’s largest construction company. The clock tower is now the world’s fourth tallest structure, surpassing Taipei 101, but led by Shanghai Tower, the Tokyo Sky Tree, and the Burj Khalifa. This tower was intended to be 734 metres tall, but was scaled down to 601 metres. Construction began in 2007 and was completed in 2012.
There is a five-storey shopping mall in the complex. The buildings are right across the street from an entrance to the Masjid-al-Haram mosque, home of the Kaabah (a sacred monument for Muslims). There is also a five-star hotel for those wishing to splurge a little more.
The main building has a 93 metre spire at the top, which sports a 23 metre high golden crescent. This crescent is made of mosaic gold and weighs 35 tonnes.
Quick Facts about the Abraj al Bait
- The construction faced much controversy. Muslims claim that it is disrespectfully shadowing their Holy Kaabah, whilst other fanatics rail against it as a sign that the ends of times are near.
- During construction, there were two fire incidents at the tower. One struck the Hajar Tower in 2008, and the other occurred at Safa Tower in 2009. Thankfully, no deaths or injuries were reported in both incidents.
- The minaret and its base have colossal loudspeakers that transmit the call to prayer at a distance of over seven kilometres away. To aid the deaf, a 16 beam light illuminates an area of a diameter of 10 kilometres, and 21000 lamps shine green and white lights to a distance of 30 kilometres.
- The crescent at the top of the main building took five engineers, a hundred workers, 90 million UAE dirhams, and three months to build. Now that’s topping the tower with style!
- The seven component towers are: Makkah Royal Clock Tower, Hajar, ZamZam, Safa, Marwah, al-Maqam, and Qibla. They are named after locations and people that hold a certain significance in Islam.
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