The Makkah Royal Clock Tower complex was developed by Saudi Binladin Group. Credit: SAMAREEN/
At a height of 601m, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower is one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. Credit: Samira Ijam Hairi/
The Makkah Royal Clock Tower is spread over seven towers erected over podiums. Credit: Andrew V Marcus/

The Makkah Royal Clock Tower complex, also known as the Abraj Al-Bait Towers, located near Masjid al Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is a mixed residential and hotel complex.

Construction on the complex was started in 2004 and finished in 2012.

The tallest tower adorned with the Makkah Royal Clock stands at a height of 601m, which makes it one of the ten tallest skyscrapers in the world.

It was developed as part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project, which aimed to modernise the city to offer world-class accommodation for the increasing number of visitors and residents of the Holy City of Makkah.

Makkah Royal Clock Tower site, structure and design details

The Makkah Royal Clock Tower site is spread over 23ha south of the Masjid al Haram and the complex has a built-up area of 2.8 million square metres (21.5 million square feet). The historic Ottoman-era Ajyad Fortress was demolished to accommodate the tower.

The seven towers of the building rest on a 15-storey, 115m-high podium, which houses a grand retail area. The tallest tower housing the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel is located in the middle of the building structure.

The other six towers, including Hajar, ZamZam, Maqam, Qibla and Marwah, are situated to the sides of the clock tower.

The heights of the accompanying towers vary between 200m and 300m, while the number of floors ranges between 42 and 48.

The Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel is a 120-storey structure and is both the tallest hotel and the tallest clock tower in the world. The clock tower weighs 36,000t and is 251m-tall from the base of the clock to the top of the crescent structure.

The 43m×43m clock is the world’s largest clock face.

The clock faces are adorned with intricate Arabic calligraphy visible from a great distance and are illuminated by roughly two million LED lights for clear visibility both during the day and at night.

The tower features a 71m-tall spire above the clock, raising the building height to 601m above ground.

In addition, a 23m-high crescent made of fibreglass-backed mosaic gold is mounted at the top of the tower.

The top 200m of the clock tower is clad with fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) composite panels.

Facilities at Makkah Royal Clock Tower Complex

The Makkah Clock Tower complex houses residential towers for permanent residents, a five-star hotel operated by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts for accommodating the Hajj pilgrims, and the Abraj Al Bait shopping mall.

The building offers parking space for more than 1,000 vehicles.

Other facilities at the tower complex include an Islamic Museum, a Lunar Observation Centre and a large prayer room with a capacity for more than 10,000 people.

The residents of the tower complex usually perform formal prayers five times a day.

The building complex’s efficient people flow solution allows up to 75,000 residents from all seven towers to exit the building via podiums during each prayer time in an organised manner.

The podium has 79 elevators and 111 extra heavy-duty Transvario escalators. The clock tower features 94 elevators and 16 extra heavy-duty Transvario escalators.

The adjacent towers have 12 elevators including two helipad elevators and six extra heavy-duty Transvario escalators.

Clock Towers Shopping Center details

The Clock Towers Shopping Center is situated within the first seven floors of the tower and offers 190,000ft² (17,651m²) of retail space. It has more than 600 retail outlets, a food court, a money exchange office, coffee shops and numerous restaurants.

The retail centre serves as a meeting point for people and welcomes more than 20 million visitors every year.

Contractors involved in the Makkah Royal Clock Tower project

Construction company Saudi Binladin Group is the developer of the Makkah Royal Clock Tower project.

The architectural design contract for the complex was awarded to engineering and architecture company Dar Al-Handasa in 2001. It also provided structural engineering services for the project.

The upper portion of the clock tower (from a height of 450m up to the top) was designed by German architecture company SL Rasch.

The facade cladding for the tower top and the clock installation was performed by Premier Composites Technologies (PCT), a UAE-based supplier of composite materials.

Gurit supplied the composite materials used for the tower’s top facade.

The large clock fitted on top of the Makkah Royal Clock Tower was provided by the German tower clock manufacturer PERROT.

Elevator and escalator manufacturer Kone supplied the people flow solution for the tower.

A&O Technology supplied its SKY FALCON ARC architectural xenon lighting fixture for the tower.