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In little over 50 years, Dubai has been completely tranformed from a fishing settlement to the "Manhattan of the Middle East." This is the story of Dubai's ever developing skyline.


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The Evolution of Dubai



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Al Maktoum Bridge

The Al Maktoum Bridge is completed and opened. It becomes Dubai's first bridge and crosses Dubai Creek.

Sheraton Hotel

One of the city's first 5 star hotels, Sheraton on the Creek, opens in 1978 aiming to attract wealthy tourists.

Dubai World Trade Centre

Dubai's first skyscrape, the Dubai World Trade Centre, is completed. Standing at 39 storeys and including commercial space and a luxury hotel, this building announces to the World that Dubai was open for business.

Burj Al Arab

The Burj Al Arab is completed and opens. The 56 storey hotel remains to date the world's only 7 star hotel.

Emirates Office Tower

The Emirates Office Tower opens its doors. the 56 storey building is where Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has his private office.

Murjan Tower (Marina 1)

The Murjan Tower opens in Dubai. It becomes the first building of the Dubai Marina project and is also known as Marina 1.

Capricorn Tower

The Capricorn Tower opens for mixed use, with both commercial and residential floors.

Shangri-La Hotel

The Shangri-La Hotel opens its doors and steals the title of tallest building in Dubai. Just 13 years later, it will be just the 70th tallest building, down to the phenomenal rate of construction in the Emirate.

21st Century Tower

21st Century Tower is completed and opens. Standing at 56 storeys, it becomes the world's tallest residential building - a title held until 2006.

Chelsea Tower Hotel

The Chelsea Tower Hotel and Apartments opens. This 250m tower's unique design makes it stand out against an increasingly busy Dubai skyline.

Le Rêve

Le Rêve (French for "the Dream,") opens its doors as an upmarket residential tower.

Al Fattan Towers

Al Fattan Towers in Dubai Marina opens its doors. This impressive 40 tower complex comprises of hotel, residential and retail property.

Palm Jumeirah

The Palm Jumeirah is open! This completion marks a construction first as Palm Jumeirah is the world's biggest artificial island.

Angsana Hotel & Suites

Angsana Hotel & Suites is completed. This is made up of two 49 storey towers.

Rose Tower

Rose Tower opens its doors, accommodating one of Dubai's first major hotels to operate alcohol free. The unique building and impressive 330m height make this another icon on the skyline.

Al Kazim Towers

The Al Kazim Towers open, based on the Chrysler Building in New York.

Address Downtown

The Address Downtown Dubai opens its doors. An Art Deco inspired building, its style stands out in a skyline of modern towers.

Almas Tower

Almas Tower opens as the world's tallest office building, standing at an impressive 360m and 68 storeys.

Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall opens its doors, becoming the world's largest shopping mall by total area.

Atlantis, The Palm

The first resort to be built on the Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis the Palm opened in September 2008. Incorporating classic Arabian architecture styles, the East and West Towers of the building are linked together by the Royal Bridge Suite.

Sama Tower

Sama Tower, a 149m high building, opens its doors. It had originally been designed to be over 300m in height before being scaled down over air traffic concerns.

Jumeirah Beach Residence

Jumeirah Beach Residence is completed. This 40 tower residential development alters the skyline again.

Rolex Tower

Rolex Tower opens its door, with architects citing the classic watch design as inspiration.

Ocean Heights

Ocean Heights is completed with its unique curved design.

HHHR Tower

HHHR Tower opens its doors, boasting 72 floors.

The Index

The Index, an 80 storey tower, opens. It goes on to win the 2011 Bet Tall Building Award.

Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is completed. This 829.8m structure remains the tallest in the world and fast becomes the iconic Dubai skyline building.

Marina Torch

The Marina Torch opens as a residential tower boasting 86 floors.

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai opens its doors and enjoys a status as the second tallest hotel in the world.

Elite Residence

Elite Residence opens, boasting 87 floors and standing at 380.5m.

23 Marina

23 Marina opens. It enjoys a brief stint holding the record for world's tallest residential building, before the nearby Princess Tower is completed and steals the crown.

The Princess Tower

The Princess Tower is complete and stands at an immense 413m in height . It boasts 101 storeys with an additional 6 basements floors dedicated to parking.


Lebanon, the first of the ambitious "World," islands project opens. These artificai islands will represent the globe when completed.

Dubai Mixed-Use Towers

The Dubai Mixed-Use Towers are perhaps Dubai's least imaginatively named buildings. Often referred to as the "Dancing Sisters," because of their design, they comprise a 53 storey hotel building and a 61 storey residential storey.

Conrad Dubai

The opening of the Conrad Dubai hotel marks the arrival of another luxury hotel catering to Dubai's growing number of tourists.

Cayan Tower

After 7 years under construction, Cayan Tower opens its doors. This residential development uses modern engineering techniques in windows designed to protect residence from the heeat associated with direct sunlight.

Al Yaqoub Tower

The Al Yaqoub Tower. Inspired by the tower housing London's Big Ben, this 328m tall skyscraper has 69 floors.

Ahmed Abdul Rahim Al Attar Tower

Ahmed Abdul Rahim Al Attar Tower opens its doors after almost 11 years under construction.

Marina 101

Marina 101 opens as a 101 storey building that takes the title of tallest residential building in the world.

Aladdin City

Sama Tower, a 149m high building, opens its doors. It had originally been designed to be over 300m in height before being scaled down over air traffic concerns.

The Tower

The Tower is expected to open in 2020, featuring a unique pyramid peak.

Mall of the World

Comprising 48 million sq feet, Mall of the World will become the biggest shopping complex globally.