Saudi Arabia hopes giant clock will establish 'Mecca Time'
Mecca: Muslims around the world could
be setting their watches to a new time soon when the world's
largest clock begins ticking atop a soaring skyscraper in
Islam's holiest city of Mecca.
Saudi Arabia hopes the four faces of the new clock,
which will loom over Mecca's Grand Mosque from what is
expected to be the world's second tallest building, will
establish Mecca as an alternate time standard to the Greenwich
The clock is targeted to enter service with a
three-month trial period in the first week of the holy month
of Ramadan on or about August 12, according to the Saudi state
news agency SPA.
It boasts four glimmering 46 metre-across faces of
high-tech composite tiles, some laced with gold, sitting more
than 400 metres over the Holy Haram compound.
The tower's height will reach 601 metres, SPA said.
On its website, Premiere Composite, which is responsible for
cladding the top section, including a shimmering spire topped
by a golden crescent moon, puts the planned height at 590
That would make it the world's second tallest
building -- ahead of Taiwan's 509 metre Taipei 101, but well
behind the Burj Khalifa, the 828 metre skyscraper inaugurated
in Dubai in January.
Some 250 "highly qualified Muslim workers" were
completing welding work on the clock's frame, SPA said.
More than six times larger in diameter than
London's famed Big Ben, the clock faces, with the Arabic words
"In the Name of Allah" in huge lettering underneath and will
be lit with two million LED lights.
Some 21,000 white and green coloured lights, fitted
at the top of the clock, will flash to as far as 30 kilometres
to signal Islam's mandatory five-times daily prayers.
On special Muslim occasions, 16 bands of vertical
lights will shoot some 10 kilometres up into the sky.
"Everyone is interested to see the clock, despite
the lack of sufficient information about it, and its
mechanism," said Mecca resident Hani al-Wajeeh.
"We in Mecca hope to be the world's central time
zone, and not just have a clock to look at, to show off," he