Speaking Of Time

Makkah Clock TowerMakkah – Saudi Arabia. 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 Makkah.

The four faces of the new clock perched atop a tower, whose height will reach 601 meters (1,983 feet), which is expected to be the world's second tallest building, will establish Makkah as an alternate time standard to the Greenwich median.

The clock reflects a goal by some Muslims to replace the 126-year-old Universal Time standard – originally called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) – with Makkah Mean Time.

At a conference in Doha, Qatar in 2008, Muslim clerics and scholars presented "scientific" arguments that Makkah time is the true global meridian. They said that Makkah is the center of the world and that the Greenwich standard was imposed by the West in 1884.

Makkah Clock TowerThe clock will be visible from 17 km away at night and 11 to 12 km away during the day. 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 colored lights, fitted at the top of the clock, will flash as far as 30 km to signal fivetimes daily prayers. The tower featuring the world's largest clock also includes a Lunar Observation Center and an Islamic Museum. While the Royal Clock will announce daily prayers, the Lunar Observation Center and Islamic Museum will serve to protect the heritage for future generations. The observatory will also be used to sight the moon during the holy months. On special occasions, 16 bands of vertical lights will shoot some 10 km up into the sky.


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