The Kiswa, as the fabric covering the Kaaba is called in Arabic, is made from raw silk, with 120 kilograms of gold wires and 100 kilograms of silver wires woven into it. Image Credit: Saudi Press Agency/Twitter

Cairo: Preparations are being made to change the kiswa or the covering cloth of the Holy Kaaba in the Grand Mosque, Islam’s most sacred site in Saudi Arabia on the first day of the New Islamic lunar Hijri Year 1446.

The annual ritual will be performed by 159 technicians and professional artisans on the 1st of Muharram expected to fall on Sunday.

Muslims around the world pray facing the Kaaba and flock to the sacred site in Mecca around the year.

As part of the change process, the old kiswa is replaced with a new one composed of four pieces covering sides of the sacred cube-shaped structure and a curtain on its door.

The kiswa is manufactured at the King Abdulaziz Complex for the Holy Kaaba Kiswa manned by more than 200 artisans and administrative staff. The complex comprises departments for dyeing, automatic and hand-made textiles, printing, belts, gold embroideries, sewing and assembling where the world’s tallest computerised sewing machine is installed, according to the Saudi news agency SPA.

Other auxiliary divisions include a lab, administrative services, quality assurance, public relations, and occupational health and safety.

Around 1,000 kg of black-dyed silk is used in making the kiswa, in addition to 120kg of gold wires, and 100kg of silver wires.

The outer part of the drapery carries Islamic embellishments with such phrases including “There is no god but Allah and Mohammad is the messenger of Allah”; “Glory and Praise is to Allah”; and “Glory is to Allah Almighty”. The cloth is also embellished with verses from the Holy Quran in gold and silver threads. The kiswa belt is made of 16 pieces.