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Each year millions of Muslims make the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, fulfilling the obligation that all Muslims visit Islam's holiest city at least once in their lives, if they are physically and financially able.
During the five-day hajj, pilgrims perform a series of religious rites along a 12-kilometre route, including the ritual "Stoning of the Devil" at Jamaraat Bridge in nearby Mina.
There was a time when this was considered the most perilous part of the hajj, given the surging crowds on the narrow pedestrian bridge, which occasionally led to stampedes. As the numbers kept growing, the Saudi government sought ways to ensure the safety of worshipers that would also preserve the sanctity of the religious site.
Otis answered the call.
In 2006 Saudi authorities decided to demolish the existing bridge and start from scratch. They asked Otis to design a state-of-the-art system for moving as many as 300,000 pilgrims an hour up and across the new bridge safely, efficiently and reliably.
The new Jamaraat Bridge, completed in 2009, features five levels, a column-free interior space and 328 Otis escalators: 28 in each of the bridge's 11 towers, plus another 20 that provide external access to the bridge. The bridge is also equipped with six passenger elevators, two ambulance elevators and two helipad elevators.
During the hajj season, escalators operate round-the-clock. Pilgrims cross the bridge multiple times on successive days to complete the ritual. During the 2017 hajj, the escalators carried an estimated total of 12.5 to 15 million passengers.
Hajj pilgrims in 2017
Completion of new bridge
在"魔鬼的石頭化"儀式中，當撒旦誘惑他無視上帝命令犧牲他的兒子艾薩克時，朝聖者象徵性地重現先知亞伯拉罕的反應。 他用石頭向撒旦投擲，以驅逐他。 在最後一刻，上帝留下了亞伯拉罕的手，保留了艾薩克並取代了他的地方。 根據傳統，Jamaraat大橋是這場對抗的場所。 它圍繞著代表撒旦的三根柱子而建造。 在向柱子扔鵝卵石時，朝聖者確認他們順服上帝並譴責邪惡。 記住艾薩克是如何倖免的，朝聖者也屠殺了一隻綿羊，山羊，牛或駱駝 - 或者更有可能的是，他們為此付出了代價。
在評估新Jamaraat大橋的設計方案時，沙特當局諮詢了英國曼徹斯特城市大學人群科學教授Keith Still。 仍然說，在朝覲期間，舊橋的人群密度異常危險 - 每平方米多達11至15人。 "在那種環境中任何旅行，滑倒或摔倒都可能是致命的，"他說。 在新橋上，每平方米只有一個人。
The new bridge features three jamrah pillars many times longer than their pre-2006 predecessors to reduce congestion while pilgrims are performing the stoning ritual. Saudi authorities also issued a fatwa decreeing that the ritual could be performed between sunrise and sunset rather than only at midday.
The new bridge features more than 500 closed-circuit television cameras, monitored by dozens of security officers on the lookout for any sign of trouble.
"It is an immense responsibility," Col. Khakled Qarar Mohammadi, head of the emergency forces at the site, told CNN in 2009.
Number of lifts