Dubai's 170-decibel cannon ready for Ramadan

Six are being prepared to signal the sighting of the new crescent moon and the beginning of Ramadan

Dubai Police's cannon team are ready to fire the shot that will signal the start of Ramadan and the breaking of the fast each evening this month. Courtesy: Dubai Police
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Final preparations are being made by Dubai Police to ready the cannon that will be used to signal Ramadan.

The guns that will be used throughout the emirate are located at the Burj Khalifa, prayer grounds in Al Mankhool and Al Baraha, as well as City Walk and Madinat Jumeirah.

The British-made 25 PDR MK1L artillery has a sound range of 170 decibels - a military jet taking off an aircraft carrier is about 130 decibels.

But - fascinatingly - the distance the sound travels has decreased over the years due to increased urban development in Dubai.

A group of officers have been chosen to ensure the cannons are shuttled to their designated spots.

“Dubai Police have been making the final arrangements and remain on standby to fire the cannons that will announce the sighting of the new crescent moon and the beginning of Ramadan, as is tradition since the early 1960s,” said Major Abdullah Tarish, of the General Department of Organisations Security and Protective Emergency.

“The department has equipped six cannons, including four core and two reserves, which are to be used in the event that one of the cannons malfunctions.”

Major Tarish added the iftar cannons have become an important tradition of the holy month among the emirate's tourists, with companies adding them as key attractions during Ramadan.

The cannon is first fired to mark the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, and then each day a cannon announces the breaking of the fast at maghrib sunset prayers.

The cannon shot can be heard across the country - there are almost a dozen in Sharjah.

In Abu Dhabi, it is tradition for a cannon to be fired at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to mark iftar each evening.

The earliest use in this region is believed to trace back to the 19th century when they were fired in Sharjah by Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi.