04/16/2010, 00.00
SAUDI ARABIA

Second tallest skyscraper in the world for Mecca

The Royal Clock Tower is made up of seven towers and will contain 3 thousand rooms and suites, for a total cost of 3 billion dollars. It will be crowned by a four sided clock larger than Big Ben. Most rooms overlook the Grand Mosque. Opening date set for June; clock will be set in motion mid-August, the eve of Ramadan.

Mecca (AsiaNews / Agencies) - After the emirate of Dubai, Saudi Arabia will hold the primacy of the tallest skyscraper in the world. In June 2010 in Mecca - the holy city of Islam - the Clock Royal Tower will be opened, a building that will house a hotel complex and is expected to set a further record: the largest clock in the world, six feet more than the famous Big Ben in London. The Saudi government has entrusted the construction of the complex to the Bin Laden Group, a multinational company with its headquarters in Jeddah.  

The Mecca Royal Clock Tower (pictured) will consist of a reinforced concrete structure 662 meters high, to be completed by June. To this a metal spiral structure 155 meters high will be added, inside which a clock 45 feet wide and 43 high will be placed. Six feet larger than the famous Big Ben in London. The clock is to be set in motion in the middle of August, just days before the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

The skyscraper will be only 11 meters lower than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest tower in the world that opened in January. However, the concrete structure of the skyscraper alone makes it the second tallest building in the world, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan island is only 508 meters high. The management of the hotel complex - seven towers, including 3 thousand rooms and suites, at a cost of around 3 billion dollars - is entrusted to Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. Most of the rooms seem to look down directly on the Grand Mosque, to encourage prayer for the guests.

But the real source of pride for builders, in this race to the sky launched by Arab nations, is the large clock tower that will stand at its summit. German-made, it will be "the largest in the world" said Mohammed al-Arkubi, general manager of the hotel, and will be placed on all four sides of the building. It will also be visible at a distance of  17 km by day12 km and at night. He declares that "Putting Mecca time in the face of Greenwich Mean Time, this is the goal”.

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