Kaaba to get new 120kg gold 'kiswah'

More than 150 tailors in Saudi Arabia are racing against time to embroider nearly 120kg of gold strings on a giant silk piece of cloth, called 'kiswah', so it will be draped around Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, during the upcoming pilgrimage.

The kiswah, Arabic for pall, will have a length of around 45 metres and a height of 14 metres. Parts of the gold and silver threads on top of the kiswah will read: "There is no God but Allah, Mohammed (PBUH) is the Messenger of Allah.”

“The kiswah this time will have more than 700kg of silk, 120kg of gold strings and 25kg of silver strings,” said Mohammed bin Abdullah, Director of the kiswah factory in the Western town of Makkah, where Kaaba is situated.

Quoted by 'Al Riyadh' and other Saudi newspapers, he said work on the kiswah takes several weeks and is normally finished a few days ahead of the Haj (pilgrimage).
He did not mention costs of the new kiswah, but last year it cost around SR17 million (Dh17 million), according to Saudi officials.

Kiswah is the cloth that covers Kaaba, where more than three million Muslim pilgrims converge for the annual Haj, which is expected to start on Sept 23.

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