A stunning forest of giant umbrellas covers the grand piazza in the holy city of Medina. With millions of Muslims traveling to the holy mosque for the annual pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia has increasingly turned to technology to keep visitors safe from the punishing heat.
King Abdullah ordered the installation in the piazzas outside the Grand Mosque to shelter worshipers from the blistering sun as they offered prayers in their proximity to this holy site. The opening and closing procedure only takes 3 minutes.
German designers came up with an ingenious way that improved the mosque’s natural micro-climate without destroying its architectural character. They created giant foldable sunshades, each being almost 20 meters tall, the largest umbrellas ever built.
In November 2010, the Medina Haram Piazza project was completed by multi national companies including the Saudi Binladin Group, Germans SL-Rasch and Liebherr and Japanese manufacturer Taiyo Kogyo. A total of 250 umbrellas cover the two large courtyards.