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Saudi tests Mecca giant clock on Ramadan first day

08-12-2010 08:55 BJT

RIYADH, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- A giant clock in the Muslim holy city of Mecca start to tick Wednesday on the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan as Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, is testing the edifice with which it aims to set a new time standard.

The Royal Clock, designed by German Premiere Composite Technologies company, is sitting atop a skyscraper just 50 meters of the Grand Mosque in the city. The clock was designed to be the world's largest - six times larger than London's Big Ben.

The four-faced clock project will be fully operational after a three-month trial period, official SPA news agency reported.

According to Arab News newspaper, the clock is placed at a height of 380 meters and could be visible from 17 km away at night and 11-12 km away during the day.

The name of Allah (God in Arabic) has been inscribed on each of the four clock faces.

The 577-meter Mecca Clock Royal Tower will also feature a lunar observation center and an Islamic museum as well as a luxurious 76- storey hotel.

With the giant clock, Saudi Arabia is trying the present an ideal alternate time standard to the Greenwich meridian; the Mecca time.

Muslim scholars at a conference in Doha in 2008 presented scientific arguments that Mecca time could serve as a true global meridian, given that Mecca is actually the center of the world.

"Putting Mecca time in the face of Greenwich Mean Time, this is the goal," Mohammed al-Arkubi, general manager of Royal Mecca Tower Hotel, was quoted by the local paper as saying.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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