The world’s largest folding umbrella has been delivered to Haram Sharif (also known as the Great Mosque of Makkah) –for installation at the Khana Kaaba, Saudi Arabia.
Weighing approx. 600 tons (according to one source), the canopy will protect pilgrims from extreme heat as well as provide cool environment to visitors of the Haram Sharif.
The German company that designed and manufactured these folding umbrellas has been bound by the Saudi government not to replicate the same elsewhere.
Eight high-tech giant umbrellas and dozens of small ones are being installed in the Grand Mosque. All in all, more than 300 canopies will provide shade from the sun to the visitors of the Grand Mosque.
These will give shade to the courtyard when open.
Some 25 engineers, specialist technicians, and safety experts from Germany are supervizing the installation process and electronic operating mechanism.
Bin Laden Group –the kingdom’s largest construction conglomerate, is said to be implementing the largest ever expansion of Islam’s holiest site.
The project will cost billions of riyals, says an engineer on site.
Nearly 250 similar umbrellas have been installed on the plazas around the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah earlier.
Like blooming flowers, the umbrellas are programmed to fold and unfold in minutely delayed sequence to avoid collision between their moving parts. Their near-silent operation is automatically aligned with changes in the daily temperature. They open each morning, creating a translucent ceiling, and retract each evening in less than three minutes.
In summer, the open 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. When temperatures are relatively low, umbrellas are closed during the day to allow the winter sun to warm the site, and opened at night to retain heat near ground level. (Saudi Gazette)