Why Saudi Arabia’s Two Holy Mosques’ Marble Floors Stay Cool Even in The Summer
The Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah have welcomed travellers from all over the world for centuries. The gleaming white marble floor that surrounds the Kaaba in Makkah keeps tourists’ feet cool even on the warmest days, much to their joyful surprise.
The mosque’s unusual choice of building material is the underlying cause of its coolness, despite some people claiming that under-floor cold-water pipes are to blame.
One of the rarest qualities ever discovered in stone is present in marble from Thassos, an eastern Greek island close to Kavala in the Aegean Sea. The Thassos marble, sometimes known as “snow white” marble, has one of the lowest heat absorbances of any marble because of its bright white look and great light reflection. Arab News Reported
According to report, The stone has been quarried from the island since ancient times, and is still used all over Greece today. It has formed the walls, floors, and statues of some of history’s greatest sites, including the ancient Macedonian tomb at Amphipolis (the largest ever discovered in Greece) and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
The stone’s unique properties see its frequent use in luxury villas and interior decoration, though it does not come cheap. Individual tiles can range between $250 and $400 per square meter, according to Indian marble supplier RMS Marble.
Since visitors to the mosques are required to enter barefoot, Saudi Arabia has imported the special dolomitic marble for usage only in the Two Holy Mosques for many years in order to provide respite and prevent harmful surface temperatures.
According to Eng. Fares Al-Saedi, the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques’ undersecretary-general for technical, operational, and maintenance affairs, Thassos marble is distinguished by its extreme coldness, despite intense heat that can reach 50–55 C in the summer.
The study discovered that compared to limestone, another stone frequently used in Islamic architecture, Thassos marble has an unusually high level of high solar reflectance and a high rate of thermal conductivity.
Together, these characteristics have shown to be able to maintain cool surface temperatures even during the hottest summer months and to generally reduce the amount of thermal energy that is convectively released into the atmosphere at night.
The marble also contributes to the mosques’ artistic atmosphere, which makes for a very unforgettable experience.
Another study conducted by a joint Saudi-Egyptian team and published in the Arabian Journal of Geosciences in 2018 described the marble as “heat-dissipating smart marble,” attributing the stone’s high whiteness purity to its dolomite-rich crystal formation.