Cairo: As several parts of the world are sweltering in record temperatures, thousands of Muslims flocking to Islam’s second holiest site in the Saudi city of Medina need not to worry.
A state agency in charge of the Prophet’s Mosque has stepped up efforts to ensure temperatures at the site, that draws large numbers of worshippers and visitors from around the world, are kept under control.
More than 700,000 pilgrims are expected in Medina after they completed the annual Hajj pilgrimage in and around the Mecca late last month. Over 383,000 of them arrived in Medina until Thursday, according to official figures.
As part of a multi-way mechanism to protect worshippers from the summer heat, an efficient cooling system is operated at the Prophet’s Mosque, using a central air-conditioning station set up on an area of 70,000 square metres.
The system is switched on according to the air temperatures in a way that ensures balanced cooling in the place.
Moreover, 250 large umbrellas, installed in the mosque’s courtyards, are automatically operated to protect worshippers from the direct sunlight.
The courtyards are also fitted with 436 spray fans to cool temperatures and constantly sterilised to ensure the quality of the sprayed water and it is bacteria-free. To the same end, the mosque’s courtyards and corridors are coated with heat-reflecting marble.
The Agency for Affairs of the Prophet’s Mosque provides around 20,00 Zamzam water containers across the site, increased to 22,000 during peak times, in addition to cold water bottles distributed to worshippers, the Saudi news agency SPA reported.
The stepped-up efforts come as the Saudi National Centre for Meteorology has warned that a heatwave will hit Medina region, with temperatures expected to reach 48 degrees Celsius.
The heat will mostly be felt from 11am to 5pm. It is not clear yet how long the heatwave will persist.
Medina is famed for the Prophet’s Mosque, which houses Al Rawda Al Sharifa where the tomb of the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon him) is located.
Last month, the city saw the arrival of thousands of Muslims from abroad en route to Mecca ahead of Hajj.