The Abraj Al Bait (Arabic: أبراج البيت) is a government-owned complex of seven skyscraper hotels in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. These towers are a part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project that aims to modernize the city in catering to its pilgrims.
The central hotel tower, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower. The clock tower contains the Clock Tower Museum that occupies the top four floors of the tower.
Makkah Royal Clock Tower complex is metres away from the world’s largest mosque and Islam’s most sacred site, the Great Mosque of Mecca. The developer and contractor of the complex is the Saudi Binladin Group, the Kingdom’s largest construction company.
Makkah Royal Clock Tower is one of the world’s most expensive building with the total cost of construction totaling US$15 billion. (China’s Three Gorges Dam cost about US $31.8 billion)
The complex was built after the demolition of the Ajyad Fortress, the 18th-century Ottoman citadel on top of a hill overlooking the Grand Mosque.
The tallest tower in the complex is the tallest building in Saudi Arabia, with a height of 601 metres (1,972 feet). Currently it is the fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world, surpassing the Ping An Finance Centre in Shenzhen, China but shorter than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE, the Tokyo Skytree in Tokyo, Japan, the Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, China, and the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China.
The site of the complex is located across the piazza to the south from the main entrance (King Abdul-Aziz Gate) to the Masjid al Haram mosque, which houses the Kaaba. To accommodate worshippers visiting the Kaaba, the Abraj Al-Bait Towers has two large prayer rooms (one for men, one for women) capable of holding more than 10,000 people.
The tallest tower in the complex also contains a five-star hotel, operated by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, to help provide lodging for the millions of pilgrims that travel to Mecca annually to participate in the Hajj.
Abraj Al-Bait compared with other tallest buildings in Asia.
In addition, the Abraj Al-Bait Towers has a five-story shopping mall (the Abraj Al Bait Mall) and a parking garage capable of holding over a thousand vehicles.
The building was planned to be 734 m (2,408 ft) tall in 2006. In 2009, it was published that the final height would be 601 m (1,972 ft). The complex was built by the Saudi Binladin Group, Saudi Arabia’s largest construction company.
The tallest building in the complex (from a height of 450 m (1,480 ft) up until the tip) was designed by the German architect Mahmoud Bodo Rasch and his firm SL Rasch GmbH.
The façade was constructed by Premiere Composite Technologies, the clock by German tower clock manufacturer PERROT GmbH & Co. KG Turmuhren und Läuteanlagen.
According to the Saudi Ministry of Religious Endowments, the project cost US$15 billion.
The Largest Clock
The project uses clock faces for each side of the main hotel tower. The highest residential floor stands at 370 m (1,210 ft), just below the media displays under the clock faces. At 43 m × 43 m (141 ft × 141 ft), these are the largest in the world.
The roof of the clocks is 450 m (1,480 ft) above the ground, making them the world’s most elevated architectural clocks. A 151-metre-tall (495 ft) spire has been added on top of the clock giving it a total height of 601 m (1,972 ft).
Behind the clock faces there is an astronomy exhibition. In the spire base and the glass-covered floors (The Jewel) there is a scientific center which is used to sight the moon in the beginnings of the Islamic months, and to operate an atomic clock which controls the tower clocks.
Makkah Royal Clock Tower Data
- Saudi Arabia
- Western Asia
- In use
- Official name
- Other name(s)
- Abraj Al Bait, King Abdul Aziz Endowment Tower, Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel
- Makkah Haram, Saudi Arabia
- Saudi Binladin Group
- US $15 billion
- Construction end
- 1972 ft / 601 m
- 120 (+3 below ground)
- other / hotel
- Floor area
- Tower: 310,638 m2 (3,343,680 sq ft) Development: 1,575,815 m2 (16,961,930 sq ft)
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[…] The Makkah Royal Clock Tower adds a touch of modernism to the bustling ancient city of Mecca. The tower was built as part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project and used by religious Muslims who go to the city every year for the Hajj. It is near the Grand Mosque, which seats up to two million people during the Hajj pilgrimage. […]