Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 November 2019

The evolution of a city: when Dubai Marina broke ground nearly 20 years ago

The project changed the face of the emirate

Balloons fly up in the air at the opening ceremony of the Dubai Marina on October 17, 2000. AFP
Balloons fly up in the air at the opening ceremony of the Dubai Marina on October 17, 2000. AFP

When many people think of Dubai, they are likely to picture Dubai Marina. More than 200 impressive skyscrapers tower over countless docked super-yachts and eight kilometres of landscaped paths run alongside a 3km stretch of shore – not to mention the range of projects still under construction. If one place epitomises the emirate’s image of a lavish, ocean-adjacent lifestyle, then this is it – and it’s forever expanding.

And yet, nearly 20 years ago, when this photograph was taken, ground hadn’t even been broken on the project. In the picture, you see delegates from across the city gathering together for an opening ceremony on Tuesday, October 17, 2000, marking the beginning of a multibillion-dirham, decades-long project that would ultimately change the face of the city. While Dubai Marina is now firmly embedded in the fabric of this sprawling, ever-­growing landscape, there’s actually plenty more still to come. This city-within-a-city will reportedly eventually accommodate 120,000 residents across refined penthouses, lush villas and countless apartments.

On its website, developer Emaar describes Dubai Marina as one of the first and largest waterfront developments of its kind in the region. Riviera-­style living with a cosmopolitan, urban vibe was always the aim, with the marina inspired by Canada’s False Creek, a short inlet in Vancouver that separates the downtown area from the rest of the city.

No visit to the marina is complete without a wander down the bustling Jumeirah Beach Residence

Dubai Marina is not only a haven for residents, either. Today, tourists flock there in droves to enjoy myriad attractions in the area. One of the biggest and best is Dubai Marina Mall, which is home to several great restaurants, as well as a wide variety of shops and a cinema.

Outside the shopping centre there are well-known cafes, the world’s longest urban zip line and children’s play areas. Visitors can also hop aboard a traditional dhow and explore the waterways, as Captain Jack’s cruises take place every hour.

Finally, no visit to the marina is complete without a wander down the bustling Jumeirah Beach Residence and The Walk, where there are more than 70 shops and dining outlets, a cinema, beachfront and an abundance of nightlife options.

Updated: October 17, 2019 05:06 PM

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