The Makkah Royal Clock Tower will start ticking officially on the first of Ramadan. (AN photo by Ahmad Hashad)
By BADEA ABU AL-NAJA | ARAB NEWS
MAKKAH: The Makkah Royal Clock Tower, the second tallest tower in the world, will start emitting 16 light beams to a height of 10 kilometers Sunday evening to announce the beginning of Ramadan.
The loud speakers installed at the top of the tower will carry the sound of adhan (call to prayer) from the Grand Mosque to seven kilometers far. The powerful lights in white and green blinking at the time of adhan can be seen from a distance of 30 kilometers. The lights are also helpful for people with hearing difficulties to know prayer times.
The clock face is white and indicators dark during daylight and green and white at night.
A trial run of the clock was held at the beginning of last year’s Ramadan.
The gigantic Makkah clock project was constructed on top of tower number five of King Abdul Aziz Endowment project, which consists of seven towers.
“All arrangements to receive Ramadan guests in the residential hotel, on which the clock tower is situated, have been completed. All rooms and suites have an Islamic style of interior décor that add to the spirituality of Ramadan,” director of telecommunications and business promotion at the Fairmont Raffles Hotels International in Makkah, Khaled Yamaq, said.
The Makkah Clock Tower Hotel, on which the clock is situated, is 601 meters high with 76 stories and 858 suites. It overlooks the Grand Mosque.
“A large number of pilgrims of different nationalities will be visiting the tower to get a close look at the interior of the clock tower. Therefore, the hotel’s main banquet hall has prepared to accommodate 1,000 guests for iftar (fast-breaking meal) and suhur (predawn meal before starting the fast). It comprises menus of 15 countries, including local dishes,” he said.
A cannon will fire seven shots to mark the beginning of Ramadan in Makkah, the Saudi Press Agency said on Saturday. Shots will be fired throughout the month to announce the time of breaking the fast, the time for suhur and the end of the suhur.
The cannon will be positioned at the top of the highest hill, away from residential neighborhoods in Makkah, and is provided with sound-producing detonators. There are special security officers to take care of the cannon, which will be sent back to the store of the Tasks and Duties Administration in Makkah after the last shots announcing the arrival of Eid Al-Fitr. A total of 150 shots will be fired in the whole month.
In most Muslim countries, cannons are fired to announce the beginning of Ramadan and fast breaking time.