for Medina

Plate from Dillinger shields pilgrims

250 outsize sunshades form a roof totalling more than 156,000 m² in area – the equivalent of more than twenty-two football pitches – protecting pilgrims in Medina against the rays of the sun. The whole shade system can be opened or closed in less than 15 minutes; the linkages necessary for this were produced in flame-cutting shops. Adherence to ultra-tight tolerances was vital for production of these precision-made moving parts.

Parasols of quite out-of-the-ordinary dimensions now adorn the courtyard of the Mosque of the Prophet in the Saudi Arabian city of Medina – Islam’s second most holy place, after the Grand Mosque in Mecca: 250 shades in all, reaching up to a height of a good 20 m. The project was the work of Germany’s Liebherr contractor. Each one of these sunshades protects an area of 625 m² (25 x 25 m), shielding up to eight hundred pilgrims against the sun, and temperatures as high as 50° C. The new parasols make possible the use of more than 156,000 m² of shade on the courtyard – equivalent to around twenty-two full-size football pitches.

Whether open or closed, the supersized sunshades harmonise at all times with the architecture of the mosque. When closed, they form the outlines of small minarets. Each sunshade weighs 45 tonnes and is capped off with a gold-plated tip and crown. Their arms are lined with lightweight mosaic tiles, while Teflon was used for the ornamented canopies. The facilities are rounded off by four high-quality lamps and a mast cladding of granite slabs.
The sunshades are opened and closed by an electromechanical actuation system. A central, individually programmable unit monitors and controls the movements of all 250 parasols, which can be extended or retracted in their entirety in less than fifteen minutes.

Dillinger supplied some 2,600 t of DILLIMAX 690 and DILLIMAX 965 in plate thicknesses of up to 70 mm for this out-of-the-ordinary project. Flame-cut elements were prepared from the plates supplied, and were then used, inter alia, to fabricate the linkages. Preparatory work for fabrication, i.e., welding, machining, rounding off of edges and sand blasting of the components, was also performed by flame-cutting companies in many cases. Adherence to tight tolerances was necessary, since these linkages are precision-made moving parts, via which the entire shade mechanism is set in motion.


Saudi Arabia
25 m
25 m
20 m
2,600 t
Wall thickness
up to 70 mm

Contact persons


Christoph Dickmann
Head of Sales Department, Machinery & Construction Equipment, Protection Steel

Phone: +49 6831 472385
Fax: +49 6831 47992681


Johannes Klemm
Head of Marketing & Technical Support, Machinery & Construction Equipment, Steel Service Center, Plate Processing, Protection Steel

Phone: +49 6831 475658
Fax: +49 6831 47999036