It’s every Muslim’s ambition, once in a lifetime, to visit the holy cities of Islam. At Hajj over 2 million people make the pilgrimage every year. With temperatures at Medina reaching 45°C/ 113°F and above, giant umbrellas are used to protect pilgrims from the ill effects of sun and heat.
These high technology sunshades are operated hydraulically, and German company Montanhydraulik has supplied the hydraulic cylinders for these, which also form part of the tall umbrella poles. Both extreme temperatures and sand storms put the motors to the test.
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions supplied DA27 wipers in NBR to ensure that media is excluded from the hydraulic mechanisms; these withstand the heat and are capable of bridging a one-millimeter/ 0.04 inch gap in case of movement of the umbrella’s pole.
Facts: Medina and the giant umbrellas
Medina [Al Madinah, Yathrib] is the second most important holy city of Islam, the refuge of Mohammed after his flight from Mecca. It is located in a well-watered oasis 180 km/ 110 miles east of the Red Sea. The chief building there is the large mosque, which contains the tombs of Mohammed, his daughter Fatima and the Caliph Omar. When making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, usually a visit to Medina is part of the trip.
One of the splendors of the newly expanded Prophet’s Mosque is the technology used for climatic control in its large open courtyards that are integral to the design of the mosque. This involves an innovative system of sliding domes and umbrellas that are deployed during the hot hours of the day to contain the circulating chilled air and retracted during the cool hours to release the heat.
Each of the 12 mechanized retractable umbrellas, six in each of the courtyards, is 17 by 18 meters/ 56 by 59 feet across and stands 17 meters/ 56 feet high. The armatures extend to carry covers, which together give shade to almost 300 square meters/ 359 square yards.