Dubai: An under-construction hotel complex in Saudi Arabia will feature the world's second-tallest building, topped by a clock six times bigger than London's Big Ben, the hotel's general manager said on Tuesday.
The Makkah Royal Clock Tower will be made up of 662 metres of concrete structure and a 155-metre crescent-topped metal spire, Mohammad Al Arkubi said at a press conference in Dubai.
Combined, the two parts of the tower in Makkah would be only roughly 11 metres shorter than Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower at 828 metres.
Even the concrete section of the Makkah Royal Clock Tower would be taller than the current second-tallest building in the world, the 508-metre Taipei 101 in Taiwan.
"The first part of the hotel will open at the end of June, while the clock will begin operating at the end of July," ahead of Ramadan, which is expected to begin around August 10, Al Arkubi said.
The German-made clock, billed as "the largest in the world," will have 45-metre wide and 43-metre tall faces on all four sides of the tower, he said.
He added that it will be visible from 17 kilometres away at night and 11 to 12 kilometres away during the day.
"Putting Makkah time in the face of Greenwich Mean Time, this is the goal," Al Arkubi said.
He said the three-billion-dollar, seven-tower complex of hotels, called Abraj Al Bayt Towers, will contain 3,000 rooms and suites, the majority of which will overlook the Grand Mosque.
The complex is being constructed by the Bin Laden Group, a giant real estate firm, on behalf of the Saudi government, he said.
The complex will be managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and its revenue will be placed in a "waqf," or Islamic trust, devoted to the development and maintenance of Muslim holy sites, Al Arkubi said.