10 of the UAE’s Biggest Moments of the Decade
1 Dubai Metro launched
9 September 2009
At 9.09.09pm on 9/9/09 His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, opened the first urban train network in the Middle East. More than 110,000 people used the driverless system within the first two days and in the first six months it carried 10 million people. It’s the world’s longest fully-automated metro network at 74km!
2 First part of Dubai Marina completed
Dubai Marina Towers was the first part of the world’s largest man-made marina to be finished. The towers are called Al Mass, Fairooz, Murjan, Mesk, Anbar and Al Yass. Vastly expanded since then, the area is home to the world’s tallest area of apartments and world’s tallest residential building, Princess Tower.
3 Burj Khalifa opened
4 January 2010
"The tallest building in the world at 829 metres and 163 floors, the Burj Khalifa opened with a dramatic fireworks display. Work began in 2004, and at the opening ceremony the tower was renamed the Burj Khalifa after the leader of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE, Sheikh Khalida bin Zayed Al Nahayan, from its original title, Burj Dubai. Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum hailed it as: “The tallest building ever created by the hand of man. This great project deserves to carry the name of a great man.”
4 Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)
The largest single-phase development in the world, this mammoth waterfront community at Dubai Marina is home to around 15,000 people and was completed in 2007. Also housing hotels, it took five years to build. It’s fronted by The Walk, a seafront strip of cafes and shops. A new mall, called The Beach, is now under construction on the beach front and should be finished by the end of the year.
5 First Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
1 November 2009
Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi hosted the UAE’s first Grand Prix in 2009. It was won by Sebastian Vettel. He also sealed the world championship the next year by winning again on the circuit. Lewis Hamilton was the winner in 2011 while Kimi Räikkönen scooped the trophy in 2012.
6 Palm Jumeirah unveiled
The palm tree-shaped island with its 16 fronds is the self-declared eighth wonder of the world. The world’s largest artificial island, plans were first revealed for the project in 2001. Villas, apartments and hotels have been built on its shores, and work is still ongoing.
7 Atlantis opened
24 September 2008
Atlantis was the first resort to open on The Palm. A glittering display of 100,000 fireworks at a party said to be the most expensive ever at 85million dirhams marked the occasion. Guests included Janet Jackson, Robert DeNiro, the Duchess of York and Mischa Barton, while Kylie Minogue performed. The next year British X-Factor judge Dannii Minogue filmed her judge’s houses section in the hotel’s top Royal Bridge Suite. The hotel has also become home to the star-studded Sandance and Live@Atlantis events featuring performances from A-listers including Noel Gallagher.
8 40th anniversary of the UAE
3 December 2011
Though National Day is held every year, 2011 marked the 40th anniversary of the country which was founded in 1971 when Abu Dhabi joined with Dubai to invite five other emirates, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Umm Al Qaiwain and Ras al-Khaimah, to make the UAE.
9 Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3 opened
14 October 2008
The $4.5billion creation is the largest building in the world by floorspace at 1.5million metres square, as well as the largest airport terminal in the world. It increased capacity of the airport to over 75 million passengers. It’s currently the third busiest airport in the world, with almost 350,000 commercial aircraft movements in 2012.
10 Louvre Abu Dhabi announced
7 March 2007
Forget Paris, Abu Dhabi is going to be home to its own branch of renowned art gallery, the Louvre. The news was announced in 2007 and work started two years later, though completion has been delayed from 2012 to 2015. It will house artwork from French galleries, and will be part of a $27billion tourist and cultural development on the island including the Guggenheim Museum. You don’t need to wait until it opens though, as the Birth of a Museum exhibition is on at Saadiyat Island until 20 July.