Highlights of the Last Decade in UAE

The third decade of the third millennium begins with an impressive event – World EXPO 2020, which will open in Dubai on 20 October 2020.
The organisers of the event and the Sheikh of the Emirate of Dubai promise that ‘Dubai will dazzle the world’. Seeing the fantastic modern and sustainable buildings of the EXPO 2020 site, rising not far from Dubai International Airport, leaves no doubt.
Looking at the near future and what has been achieved in the United Arab Emirates during the second decade of this millennium, it becomes obvious that Dubai, a small settlement of fishermen and pearl catchers only a bit more than fifty years ago, already dazzles the world.

The population of UAE was 8.3 million.
4 January marked the opening of Burj Khalifa, the highest 829.8 m building in the world, which became Dubai’s symbol and can be visible from as far as 95 kilometres.
27 June marked the opening of Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum – the largest international airport in the world, which has 6 runways and covers the area of 140 sq. km. It can service 120 million passengers and accept 12–14 million tonnes of cargo per year.
On 25 November, Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE, opened the 842 metre-long, 64-metre-high Sheikh Zayed Bridge, designed by the architect Zaha Hadid and featuring a four-lane highway.

16 May marked the opening of Rak Maritime City, not far from the Strait of Hormuz. Ras Al Khaimah is a maritime city and port, established as a free economic zone in a strategically attractive location.
On 27 June, Al Ain Oasism, where the first people settled 4 thousand years ago, became the first UNESCO world heritage object in the United Arab Emirates. Al Ain, which refers to a spring of water, is the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the fourth in the UAE.
21 December marked the opening of the Capital Gate Tower, also known as the Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi. It was included into Guinness World Records for being the farthest leaning building in the world. Thanks to the special engineering solutions, this 35-storey building is leaning 18° (the natural leaning of the Tower of Pisa, built in 1173, is 4°, while the belfry of Suurhusen village in Germany is 5.1939°).

15 July marked the launching of the 360-kilometre-long Habshan–Fujairah oil pipeline, also known as Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline, starting in Habshan and running to Fujairah, evading the Strait of Hormuz.
12 September marked the opening of the Princess Tower in the marina of Dubai. The 101-storey hotel, which costed 210 million dollars, was the tallest residential building in the world until 2015.

On 17 March, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, not far from Madinat Zayed, opened the largest solar energy power plant in the region.
On 27 November, Dubai won the tender to organise the World EXPO 2020. World EXPO commission picked Dubai’s offer, theme and ideas from 5 candidates, which included Thailand (Ayutthaya), Brazil (Sao Paulo), Turkey (Izmir), Russia (Yekaterinburg) and UAE (Dubai). Thailand has been dismissed, Brazil dropped out first, followed by Turkey. Dubai won the third round 116:47 against Russia.

Sharjah was named as the Capital of Islamic Culture of the Arab world. The title of the city and the emirate originates from the Arab word, which means ‘east’. Historically, this was one of the richest cities in the region and the most important port in the entire Persian Gulf until the early 19th c.
In July, UAE announced about their plans to send an unmanned probe to Mars.
11 November marked the opening of the 14.5 km Dubai tramway line, stretching along the road of Al Sufouh from the marina of Dubai to PalmJumeirah and Al Sufouh.

On 9 March, Solar Impulse 2, the long-distance solar-powered aircraft, built in Switzerland and piloted by a single pilot, took off from Abu Dhabi Al Bateen airport for the first flight around the world. The first aircraft of this project – Solar Impulse 1 – was successfully tested in Switzerland on 3 December 2009.
On 28 August, UAE celebrated the first Women’s Day. The Emirates are hoping to become one of the Top 25 states that are best at tackling gender equality issues in the world until 2021.

On 26 July, Solar Impulse 2 landed in Abu Dhabi Al Bateen airport, successfully completing its mission and becoming the first aircraft to fly around the world, covering more than 40,000 km fully solar-powered and without using a single drop of fossil fuels.
31 August marked the opening of Dubai Opera. This was a special event in the cultural life of Dubai and the entire UAE. Dubai Opera is a multifunctional centre of arts, including theatre, opera, ballet, conferences, exhibitions and other events. On 20 October 2019, Dubai Opera, located not far from Burj Khalifa, hosted the fantastic One Year to Go event, dedicated for the one-year countdown until EXPO 2020.
9 November marked the opening of Dubai Water Canal. That is a 3.2-kilometre-long artificial canal, ranging from 80 to 120 m width. It starts in the Business Bay and takes to the Persian Gulf through Sheikh Zayed road – the major artery of Dubai – Safa Park and Jumeirah residential district.
2016 was announced as the year of reading in order to raise a new generation of book lovers and strengthen the country’s positions as the centre of culture, science, art and knowledge.

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed announced the year of 2017 as the Year of Giving, promoting the culture of giving to the community, and the spirit of volunteering, sympathy and loyalty to one’s country.
On 14 February, during the 5th World Summit, which took place in Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister of Dubai, together with the Crown Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, launched Mars 2117 Project. The visionary project aims at building the first city in Mars by 2117.
‘The landing of people on other planets has been a long-time dream for humans. Our aim is that the UAE will spearhead international efforts to make this dream a reality,’ stated Al Maktoum in his presentation.
11 November marked the opening of Louvre – a museum of art and civilisation – in Abu Dhabi. The first Louvre beyond France is the result of mutual agreement between the governments of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and France regarding 30 years of partnership. The museum project, developed by the French architect and Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Jean Nouvel, reminds of the Arab medina.

On 1 January, Dubai opened the tallest 150 m picture frame in the world. Dubai Frame is a building at the bottom of which there is a museum, telling a vivid story of Dubai’s journey from a small village to a metropolis and also an interactive exhibition of visions of Dubai 50 years in the future. At the top there is a 93 m glass observation path, rising above the city of skyscrapers, while the elevators carry visitors up and down the verticals.
The shiny Dubai Frame is not only impressive, but also intriguing due to the large-scale architectural scandal. In 2008, the project of Dubai Frame, created by the world-known Dutch architect Fernando Donis, was selected from 926 proposals by an important international commission. But the author did not get to implement his idea. According to some sources, the architect refused to sign the agreement that he was offered, which limited his participation in building the largest picture frame on the planet and demanded him to give up his intellectual property rights. The construction of a changed design took place without the architect. ‘They took my project, changed the design and built it without me.’ he told The Guardian, marking the opening of the building.
On 29 October, Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre successfully launched UAE’s Earth observation satellite KhalifaSat. At the beginning of the project, the satellite was developed by South Korea and later the work was completed by a young team of engineers from Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
The developers of KhalifaSat claim that this satellite, equipped with the latest space technology, is a powerful imaging tool and easier to manoeuvre than its predecessors – DubaiSat-1, launched in Kazakhstan in 2009, and DubaiSat-2, launched in Russia in 2013.

The population of UAE was 9.8 million.
Sharjah has been named World Book Capital City of 2019. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), together with the International Publishers Association (IPA) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), announced Sharjah as the world’s capital of books of 2019. UNESCO’s World Book Capital programme, the goal of which is to promote publishing on local and global scale, has been launched in 1996. The aim of this initiative is to promote peace and cultural dialogue through education, communication and sharing information.
3 February marked the historical visit of the Pope Francis to the United Arab Emirates. This is the Pontiff’s first visit to the Arabian Peninsula – the cradle of Islam. The Holy Father was welcomed by the Heir to the Throne Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Catholic representatives, also Sheikh Ahamed Al Tayyib, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Islamic University in Cairo. Holding the Holy Mass at Abu Dhabi Stadium, the Holy Father highlighted two blessings: the blessing for the gentle and the blessing for the peacekeepers, thus encouraging the people to stay gentle in conflict situations and seek for peace at all times. During the visit, the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar signed a declaration promoting human fraternity.
During the Pope’s visit Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayd also announced about the construction of the Abrahamic Family House – a complex for religious communities, which will host a church, a mosque and a synagogue.
On 25 September, the astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri became the first man from the United Arab Emirates to go on a mission to space. He was launched on Soyuz-MS 15 shuttle from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for an eight-day space mission and successfully returned home.

Based on the world press.


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