After spending a very enjoyable few days in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, we drove north toward Dubai, no doubt the most well-known city in the Emirates. We couldn't help but admire first Abu Dhabi's very intriguing Aldar headquarters building. It's described as the first circular building of its kind in the Middle East and also described as the world's first circular skyscraper. The distinctive building was voted the “Best Futuristic Design” by The Building Exchange Conference held in Spain. The shape of this building was achieved using structural diagrid, a diagonal grid of steel.
According to Wikipedia, the building, which opened in 2010, features 12 passenger elevators, 3 mono space elevators and 2 service elevators. If you’re interested in finding out more, YouTube has a fascinating National Geographic documentary titled "Can it be Built? Circular Skyscraper.”
Unlike the Sikh temples we'd visited in India in 2015, Steven needed to have his head covered at this one.
We had thought we would just wander around the temple on our own for a few minutes before heading onto Dubai itself. However, a wedding was about to take place and we were kindly invited to join in the festivities. So, join in we did even though though we didn't have on our wedding finery!
All religious ceremonies took place in the temple's Darbar Hall, located upstairs. Steven jokingly asked me if I thought we'd arrived at a good time to witness the wedding!
The hall's meditation room was closed, probably because of the wedding.
The temple, in the heart of Dubai's industrial area, was next to a church complex that comprised Coptic, evangelical and orthodox churches.
It was fascinating to learn that Dubai is now officially the tallest city on the planet. Considering the city only built its first real skyscraper in 1979, that's a stupendous achievement. The city now boasts 28 of the world's 200 highest buildings compared to New York and Hong Kong who, by comparison, have just 13 and 11 respectively.
A close up of the Burj Khalifa which, at 2,717 ft tall, obliterated all previous records for the world's tallest man-made structures past and present. It smashed the previous record for the world's tallest building - formerly held by the Taipei 101 in Taiwan at 1,670 ft - by a staggering 984 ft! It opened in January, 2010, only six years after excavations began. Up to 13,000 workers toiled day and night, at times putting up a new floor in as little as three days!
No other mall we've been to has had a Courtesy Policy that I can remember. The Dubai Mall stipulated that people wear respectful clothing with shoulders and knees covered. Plus, kissing and overt displays of affection - and that included even the holding of hands - weren't allowed! We obviously respected those Arab sensitivities but the rebel in me wondered what might have happened if ...!
It wasn't too hard on the eyes watching very buff young men competing for a while!
Even though we had a longish walk back through mostly a massive park to the car from the other side of the lake, we were greeted with some more stellar views of the city's skyline.
The design of the Dubai Opera was supposed to rival that of the famous Sydney Opera House. Having now seen both, we far preferred the latter. We walked back to the car via Burj Park where we came across a rather unusual sculpture that you can see on the right below.