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It is one of history’s most rapidly developing urban centers.  It boasts the world’s “largest”, “tallest”, and “most expensive” architectural works in the world.  The city of Dubai has transformed itself from a humble port city into a sprawling metropolis fueled by immeasurable wealth.  To celebrate its achievements, here are the 10 greatest architectural wonders of Dubai.

10. The Emirates Towers

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The earliest completed structure on this list was, for a time, a primary symbol of the Dubai landscape.  The Emirates Towers are comprised of two individual structures, the Emirates Office Tower and the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel.  The Emirates Office Tower reaches a full 1,163 feet into the sky, while the Jumeirah Emirates Hotel is a bit shorter at 1,014 feet– making these the 12th and 29th tallest buildings in the world, respectively.  The Emirates Towers complex is joined by a two story, 100,000 sq. ft. retail mall set on a 42 sq. acre development of gardens, waterfalls and public seating areas.  A room at the Jumeirah Emirates Hotel this holiday season starts at $420/night– and climbs quickly from there.

9. The Dubai Marina

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Upon its completion, the Dubai Marina will be the world’s largest man-made marina.  While only its first phase of development is complete, it is on its way to unseating Marina Del Ray, California, as the world’s greatest.  This marina will hold over 200 high-rise buildings and complexes including the Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and the American University in Dubai.  Unlike other areas in Dubai, this marina is publicly accessible for boats via foreshoreways and ocean inlets that connect it with the sea-going world.

8. Business Bay

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In hopes to become the financial epicenter of the Middle East and later the world, Business Bay is set as the heart of Dubai’s commercial district.  The future home to 230 buildings both commercial and residential, Busines Bay will be Dubai’s answer to Manhattan, NY and Ginza, Tokyo.  Business Bay is built on 64 million square feet of space, including a waterway to be dredged from an existing creek.

7. Mall of Arabia

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To be constructed in the City of Arabia section of Dubailand, the Mall of Arabia will become the world’s largest mall– overtaking the South China Mall in Dongguan, China.  This 10,000,000 square foot behemoth will feature two levels of shopping and entertainment, rooftop hotels and relaxation spots– as well as the world’s largest Starbucks cafe.

6. Burj Al Arab

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(image courtesy: eric_swist)

Among Dubai’s greatest completed works of architecture, the Burj Al Arab Hotel is one of the most recognizable in the world.  The Burj Al Arab is the tallest active hotel in the world, reaching 1,053 feet from its base on an artificial island on Dubai’s coast.  The price of a suite in the Burj Al Arab starts at $1,000/night, climbing to $28,000/night for the royal suite.    Designed as a symbol of Dubai’s urban revival, the appearance of a sail taking wind, has been both hailed and hated by critics of architecture throughout the world.

5. Hydropolis

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To be built not far from the site of the Burj Al Arab, Hydropolis will be the world’s first underwater luxury resort.  It will be constructed 66 feet below the surface of the Persian Gulf, constructed of reinforced steel, concrete and plexiglass.  The resort will provide 2,200 underwater suites to its guests and will cost over $1 billion to build.  Construction has been delayed, cancelled, re-scheduled and delayed again, so it might be safe to assume the Hydropolis may not be built until later this century, if at all.

4.  The World Islands

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Among the world’s largest man-made archipelagos, The World Islands off the Dubai coast combine for 144 miles of shoreline.  Designed as a scaled map of the world broken into over 300 individual islands, The World Islands are among Dubai’s most expensive pieces of residential real estate– selling for between $15 million and $50 million each.  It had been rumored that actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie purchased the Ethiopia island, a rumor that was later proven false.

3. Dubailand

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At present, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is the largest theme park in the world.  When the Dubailand theme park in Dubai is completed, it will be twice the size of Disney World, setting the bar practically out of reach for future developers.  This 107 square mile superpark includes 45 “mega projects” and 200 sub projects, including projects from Dreamworks, Six Flags, Marvel and others.  $6 Billion in private capital has been raised to fund the park’s development, with completion on its final phase slated for 2015.

2. The Palm Islands

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(image courtesy: twocentsworth)

Arguably the most recognizable man-made island on the planet, the Palm Islands Jumeirah is a palm frond peninsula fanning out from the Dubai coast.  Construction on the first of three Palm Islands began in July of 2001, with residents moving into their homes on Jumeira in 2006.  The other two Palm Islands remain under construction and not-yet-liveable, but the existing island, the Jumeira, is deep into residential development.  Real estate magnate Donald Trump himself is currently building on the island, constructing the Palm Trump International Hotel and Tower.  When residential and commercial projects are complete, the Palm Jumeira will feature a monorail transit system, 4,000 residences and 32 hotels, making it a virtual city unto itself.

1. Burj Dubai

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(image courtesy: burjdubaiskyscraper.com)

The crowning achievement of the Dubai skyline is its highest reaching tower, the Burj Dubai.  Upon completion in the coming year, the Burj Dubai will be the world’s tallest building at 2,684 feet.  At present, it has already outstretched the Taipei 101 as the world’s tallest, having reached 2,320 feet on September 26th of this year.  Slated for completion in mid-2009, the Burj Dubai will open its doors to occupants in September of 2009.  Want to claim some of that space for yourself?  Office space prices has reached $4,000/sq. ft., while residential prices are available for just $3,500/sq. ft.  Those prices make Manhattan look cheap…

Thanks for reading, StyleCravers, Diggers, Stumblers and otherwise.  What do you think about this top 10?  Are these works justified in today’s failing world economy?  Is there another Dubai building you think should have been included here?  Share your thoughts in the comments.  Also, please share this article with your friends, and be sure to vote it up on your favorite social media site.  Thanks for reading!

(main image courtesy: get_down)

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