WATCH the nearly 250 folding and opening umbrellas installed on the plazas around the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
Exclusively designed and manufactured for the Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia, these canopies work like “blooming flowers”, opening in the daytime and closing at night during the summer, taking less than three minutes to complete the process, the website adds. Aside from keeping pilgrims cool in the heat, they’re also designed to retain warmth like a roof on chilly winter nights.
In summer, these umbrellas provide daytime shade and reflect away much of the sun’s radiant energy. When closed at night, they allow residual heat absorbed by the stone floors and walls to escape back into the atmosphere. The process is reversed in winter.
The world’s largest umbrella is also being installed in Makkah’s Grand Mosque along with 300 smaller ones in the courtyard. The shaded area will have the capacity to accommodate around 400,000 worshippers.
In December 2014, a few weeks before his death, King Abdullah ordered the installation of umbrellas in the courtyards surrounding the Grand Mosque.