It took exactly 62 seconds for the elevator to ascend through the bowels of the tallest building in the world, the Khalifa Tower, to the panoramic viewpoint on the 124th floor. From this record height in the middle of the so-called financial district, Dubai unfolds in its glass, steel and cement splendor of skyscrapers, modern watchtowers that symbolize the force of power that sprouted from oil fields, but there are also oases of sand in still unexploited lands that recall the desert nature of the small emirate that dared to dream big.
Perhaps because it was flat territory with no mounds other than dunes, Dubai decided to aim for the sky and in recent years has added landmarks to its skyline. The 829-meter Khalifa Tower, inaugurated in 2009, is the top of the world built by mankind, and Dubai erected this centuries-old, stylized and luminous minaret to establish an architectural reference, an updated version of the hierarchy like that of the cathedrals. in the European cities imposed in their time.
Before, not too long ago, because the United Arab Emirates, the country that created Dubai and six other neighboring regions, just turned 50 in 2021, wind towers were erected, called barjeel, clay or mud, as a natural ventilation system. Now, since the Manhattanization of power, the emerging world is asserting itself with skyscrapers, and Dubai is always looking for the highest, the most luxurious, the most original… The record is a national obsession.
Avenue Sheikh Zayed
Another view of this vertiginous desert is the Dubai Frame, the skyscraper version of a triumphal arch, which is in fact an aerial walkway made of transparent glass. The bridge was designed to give tourists a glimpse of the Dubai of the past and the future, with the old souk and the creek on one side, and the three urban centers with their skyscraper spiers that have sprung up in recent years. decades apart. , since the first, the World Trade Center tower, was built in 1979, to the present day, which has established itself as a tourist destination for culture and fashionable architecture, for example, among footballers , as seen in the last Christmas holidays.
The Marco Skyscraper
As it comes from the Khalifa Tower, surrounded by a lagoon and the Dubai Mall, behind the windows of the Dubai Frame we can see the Arabian Sea, but the light mist prevents us from discerning the silhouette of the artificial islands on which the country rests in part from its real estate and tourism prosperity at the turn of the millennium. From the famous map of the world, a collection of private islands with mansions built off the coast, you get a sense of what Australia would look like from the dizzying golden arch, but nothing else.
World Expo 2020
New urban and architectural heritage
Dubai usually undertakes projects of great urban significance, and the latest challenge was the 2020 World Expo, which will leave a legacy of a new neighborhood with icons such as Al Wasl Square, with light shows every night until closing on March 31. It has been delayed for a year due to the pandemic, and is the first time the Middle East has hosted this fair of fairs which Seville and Zaragoza recently hosted and Barcelona nearly a century ago. Dedicated to sustainability, mobility and opportunity, it houses architectural gems such as the Alif pavilion by Norman Foster, the Terra by Grimshaw or that of the host country, designed by the Spaniard Santiago Calatrava.
The views are much better from Ain Dubai, the ferris wheel which claims to be the tallest in the world, inaugurated just three months ago and created in the image and likeness of the one in London, but with a diameter of 250 meters and ready to host parties, rotating banquets and celebrations. The Dubai Eye, the translation of its name, is located on the Bluewaters leisure island, reclaimed from the sea, which includes, among other proposals, the highest infinity pool, on the 77th floor of the Address Beach Resort hotel, or even a wax museum. under license from the famous Madame Tussauds.
The tallest ferris wheel
Dubai Eye on Bluewaters Island
The Ferris wheel takes more than 40 minutes to make a complete turn, and you don’t have to reach the highest point to fully distinguish the two gigantic man-made palm trees, the Jumeirah and the Jebel Ali. The first is fully inhabited and with hotels at full capacity on its perimeter. The Jebel Ali is a silhouette still without buildings, testimony to the break that Dubai suffered with the last major financial crisis.
A restaurant with a view
Ce la Vie, at the Sky View Hotel
Like Jebel Ali, the pharaonic world map was a great failure, but since Dubai began its expansion to make a name for itself in the world, the emirate has become a tourist destination full of attractions, not only with the points sight, but also with museums like the Future Museum, which will open soon, with shopping centers which enter the Guinness book, such as the Dubai Mall, which has an ice rink, a waterfall, the fashion avenue with the most luxurious stores in the world and a cultural space, Infinity des Lumières, where you can see immersive exhibits. And of course, desert adventures just around the corner, never better said.