Not being satisfied with being the home to the tallest skyscraper, the largest shopping centre, and the longest driverless metro system in the world, Dubai has finished its newest man-made wonder of the world. The ‘Dubai frame’ has opened its doors to the public at the beginning of this new year, with the official press release stating it was a “New Year gift to the people.” It has perked the interest of many people, especially those who have never visited the wonderful capital of the United Arab Emirate. It is widely expected to become a global attraction spot for tourists, estimating that it alone will be attracting a further 2 million tourists annually, right in the centre of one of the longest parks in Dubai.
But how did we get here, and how did such an odd creation come into existence?
Following the government’s ideology of creating a superior city that is touristically appealing, the country ran an art competition back in 2008 for “The new face of Dubai.”
What Dubai ended with instead, is a monstrous 150 metre, eye popping gold plated structure. This was on top of the £35 million spent on building the frame.
Facing the north side of the frame, would show visitors the ‘old’ Dubai, whilst looking to the south offers a view into the ‘new ‘Dubai. The idea was to create an illusion of time travel through the frame. A kind of Warp vortex, if you will.
The structure of this frame consists of a couple of towers that are perfectly aligned, with a connecting bridge.
The bridge is 93 metres long, and allows for the frame to be more than a philosophical selfie-friendly landmark. Located near the beautiful (and enormous) Zabeel Park, it invites visitors, who become struck by the sheer amount of gold surrounding the structure. It is surrounded by contrastingly simple, yet beautiful blue dancing watered fountains.
Unfortunately the process of buying tickets isn’t any more splendorous than anywhere else. You queue, you wait, you get your ticket.
But once tickets have been secured and you begin wandering inside, then you really start feeling a difference as you’re greeted by ‘old’ Dubai photographs, along the hallways. They offer a real raw sense of pride in the evolution the city has taken over the past few years. It even features a museum, referencing back to the past.
It even has holographic images and videos. For a city that has come so far, they really don’t seem to try and hide their roots.
Getting inside the elevator and staring out the clear glass panel into palm trees, quickly makes you realise the crazy reality Dubai is creating. A dream-like world of riches, among a very real world. As the elevators begin elevating, taking its visitors to the very top, the views Zabeel Park has to offer become insanely stunning.
The bridge connecting the two towers is more than it appears to be. Visitors can count on multiple shops inside, offering food and drinks, and of course, tourist ornaments, such as mugs, hats, and adorable mini versions of ‘the frame.’
The sky deck offers a 360 degree view of the city, as well as a downward view through the transparent floor glass. Two hundred people can come inside at any one time.
Looking to one side, the view sports many riches, such as tall buildings surrounded by motorways, countless shopping centres separated by fountains and greenery. Among the riches sits the famously tall skyscraper built in 2010, Burj Khalifa. The building that broke countless height records including some of its own, to be named as the tallest tower in the world. It’s a way to really witness the prowess of the vision of those in charge. A metropolis city that looks like it was create in the popular video game, the sims.
Looking the opposite way offers quite a different experience, one we would perhaps be more familiar with somewhere in Europe. It shows ‘old’ Dubai, and its more humble sized buildings. Its grey look, reminiscent of Paris.
One does wonder how the locals living in ‘old’ Dubai, feel about this kind of money and willingness to build gold plated monuments.
Even if the frame is ‘only’ half the size of the famous Eiffel Tower, there’s definitely a different feel to being on the frame, that can perhaps be described as a more ‘modernised’ feeling.
Upon making a way out of the frame and back into the real world, visitors have to walk into ‘the future museum,’ with holographic images showing Dubai’s skyline. Look closely to the floor, and you’ll notice the lasers across shooting from different corners of the room are. Actually forming different shapes. Almost hinting at what’s to come but without giving anything away, really. There s however a short video at the end that demonstrates how the city is committed to solar power. And also, flying cars.
Once the short video that is in constant loop. The video entices people to what Dubai will look like in 2050. There is an a very obvious feeling of pride of what is being achieved in a city that was built on a desert.
The last thing visitors will see before getting into the elevator is a social media wall, which basically highlights photos from the 200 people up at the bridge. Visitors can then purchase their own photos as a souvenir.
As visitors begin descending from the bridge, back down below, they can take another good long look at what Zabeel Park has to offer.
They immediately head there once they touch down.
The park that was created in 2005, in the Al Kifaf area, is divided into numerous sectors connected by pedestrian bridges.
Earlier I made reference to the Zabeel Park being enormous, so let me tell you just how much – 52 hectares. That’s equivalent to more than 50 football grounds. If you forget where you park your car in your local supermarket, you will definitely lost your car here, as there are 2300 spaces.
The three sections consist of various different activities such as a 4.3km jogging track, a cricket ground, BMX track, skateboarding park, barbecue and picnic areas, – which if trip advisor review are to be believed, you get a lot of them, maybe overly so – ice skating, a boating lake with classy lakeside restaurants, and also exhibition galleries.
The park was renowned for being the largest multi-million Dubai Municipality project, – that was over, of course, once the the frame of Dubai was built – carrying a high technology theme.
For example, the Stargate family edutainment centre, that covers over 260.000 square feet of the park’s layout has created an educational place filled with technological advances. Especially considering this was built back in 2006.
The edutainment centre contains various different areas known through as our celestial counterparts. Such as, Saturn, where families can enjoy a 3D (as well as 2D) movie theatre, in a 80×40 square feet screen.
This isn’t just a regular movie theatre though. They have theatres as well as game rooms where – this is going to sound insanely cool – the movies and games are brought to life through laser shows. Some of the 3D games are interactive games, where Half the audience can play against the other half of the audience.
An Area called Mars, contains a play area that is children-friendly, called Zero gravity. No, unfortunately you can’t float in the air, in it, but your kid can still have a blast! There is a roller-skating track, wall climbing activities, and a dedicated colourful room for birthday parties.
Then, of course there’s an area called Earth, that has an electric indoor Go Karting track. This is called No Speed Limit. Sounds very earth-like, especially in comparison to what the Saturn area had to offer. Fortunately, Earth has more to offer, with a futuristic UFO. Zone containing brand new robotic simulated rides as well as sophisticated 4D VR (Virtual reality) rides.
In case you were wondering, there is also an area called Moon. There, you will find a lunar shaped ice-skating rink, with artificial snow falling every 30 minutes.
One of the key offerings in the park, at least for the locals, is in the underground section of all these fun packed activity rooms.
This area is the home of the Stargate Academy. A place dedicated to offering scheduled classes in classic arts, music, technology, along with “a world class” nursery.
This has proven to be a popular destination for after school activity seekers, or for native families to come on holiday to.
Whether Fernando is right, or wrong, in relation to who created the idea, the reality for the rest of us is that this is real.
Dubai is becoming a city that is harder to ignore with each passing monument.
It’s no surprise to see them wanting to build something that is a statement in its own right, such as the frame. It not only capitalises on the magnitude of this park (Zabeel) but it highlights Dubai to the rest of the world once again.
It has proven to be an ever growing centre of the world, where money definitely is no issue, at least when it comes to flashing it to the rest of the world, making us all envious. Whatever your thoughts of Dubai, I would be amazed if you did not feel tempted to visit it just for this little area the article describes.
It’s a fun, energetic place, whose reality completely contrasts ours out in the west.
There’s a sense of everything being grand, and promising. Most people would find it to be an experience like no other.