When you arrive in the outskirts of Dubai, you do not always realize that you are actually on the Arabian peninsula, bordering the desert, in a place that actually was a desert not even long ago. Before your eyes, modern constructions of glass and steel, housing shopping malls and offices form neatly planned lines and a display of modern architecture. The sun is there, reflected in the dark green of skyscrapers - undoubtedly an artificial climate will make those inside wonder if they are really in one of the hottest regions of the world.
Dubai is a traditional transit point for caravans ever since the trade routes between the Middle East and Oman, and between India, East Africa and the Gulf. It has therefore a long tradition of foreign influences on its culture, which shows in its architecture. In the 19th century, the city was described as a collection of mud huts. It was only after discovery of oil that Dubai saw an enormous increase of its population, while oil is not the most important pillar in the economy of the city. Even though space could not really be of concern, buildings became always taller. Architecture was designed not only by adventurous foreign architects, but also increasingly local architects who maintained an Arabic flavour in their designs.
The city of Dubai is becoming always more ambitious and some of the buildings are true pieces of art for those who appreciate modern architecture. What helps is of course the availability of low-income countries in the vicinity, and indeed, you see many construction workers working hard in the sun to realize the projects. Among the best known are projects such as the new islands off the coast and the tallest skyscraper of the world, the Burj Dubai. However, work at the latter site resulted in protests and strikes against the working conditions and low wages in 2006. Still, Dubai is clearly on its way to becoming a modern version of the transit function it has had for many centuries.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Dubai modern architecture (United Arab Emirates). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Dubai modern architecture. Read more about this site.