Dubai's Enormous “The World” Artificial Archipelago

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The World Islands is an artificial archipelago consisting of about 300 small islands constructed in the rough shape of a world map, located 4.0 kilometers off the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The islands are composed mainly of sand dredged from Dubai's shallow coastal waters. 321 million cubic meters of sand and 31 million tons of rock were used to build the islands that cover an area roughly 6 by 9 kilometers, and is surrounded by an oval-shaped breakwater island. The islands, which are named after countries such as Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, etc., themselves range from 14,000 to 42,000 square meters in area and located roughly 100 meters from each other.

The project debuted nearly 10 years ago, but work has been stalled periodically ever since due to the global recession. Two years ago, the entire project came very near to derailment when Penguine Marine, the company contracted to provide ferrying services to and from the shore, alleged that the islands were sinking into the shallow sea. Nakheel Properties Group, the property’s developer, denied these reports.

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Photo taken by the crew of the International Space Station shows The World Islands on top right. The Palm island, another artificial archipelago, is also visible on the bottom left. 

Although nearly 70 percent of the islands have been sold, according to a January 2012 report, the islands have remained mostly untouched due to the delay and lack of infrastructural necessities. Only two islands out of the 300 islands have any buildings on it. One of them, the Lebanon Island, is the only one that has so far been developed commercially. It’s owned by Abu Dhabi-based businessman Ravi Raman who plans to use it private corporate events and public parties.

Other plans are abound. Dubai-based Kleindienst Properties announced on May this year that it would soon start construction work on the “Heart of Europe”, an ambitious development that is planned to spread across six of the islands. Nakheel Group is itself developing a resort named “Coral Island” over 20 islands that make up the North American part of The World. Another investment group from Kuwait has purchased 14 islands that make up Australia and New Zealand where there’ll be another resort. Finland, Ireland, Great Britain and Moscow are acquired by different businesses groups with plans to transform them into villas, pubs, fashion-themed resorts and more.

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Photo credit: Jumana El-Heloueh

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Photo credit: Nakheel

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Photo credit: Richard Spencer

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Photo credit: Jumana El-Heloueh

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Photo credit: Jumana El-Heloueh

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Photo credit: Nakheel

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Photo credit: Nakheel

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Photo credit: Nakheel

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Photo credit: Nakheel

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Photo credit: Nakheel

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Photo credit: Nakheel

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Photo credit: Nakheel

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Photo credit: Nakheel

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Photo credit: Nakheel

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Photo credit

Sources: Wikipedia, Atlantic Cities, The National

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16 comments:

  1. Good Job Dubai amazing project :)

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  2. What a colossal waste of money and human effort.

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  3. totally idiotic waste of money n nature will reclaimed it sooner or later....

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  4. Totally awesome job this is great example of human creative mind. Many of my friends go there for 5 days trip they enjoying scuba and sky diving. They rent room near beach and enjoy every moment their by doing adventurous things. I also plan to go with my wife for honeymoon but she like Spain. Now i book luxurious and comfortable San Jose villas there for 1 week and i hope she admire me for this!!

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    1. Thanx for telling us you have 8000+ euros to blow. Your wife is, nonetheless right, stick to Spain, as perhaps she is uncomfortable visiting countries that only abolished slavery in the 1960s!

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    2. what a waste. the money and technology u are waisting on this " Royal Race" artificial crock of shit and you people who think this is cool are out of your mind. seek outside the box

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  5. No one is building on it and the islands are actually sinking. With the majority of the expats living in Dubai hailing from India/Pakistan, exactly who will live on the World as the expats surely cannot afford to?

    Not only was it a waste of money, time, effort and nature, it is bankrupt.

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  6. we proud on u dubai.... but dont play wid nature ... bcz suppoz some1 come in its way then u just cant imaginn that it will creat u a hell lot of problem ... and u cant stood up after it ....

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  7. What a stupid project and a waste of money.

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  8. Beautiful idea, hope it pans out

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  9. Idiot Gulf Arabs with more money than they know what to do with.
    Sit on their backsides all day, funded by rest of the world's need for oil.
    As 'good' Muslims they could be spending the cost of this grotesque farce on alleviating the poverty of the fellow Muslims they employ as virtual slave workers. Hypocrites

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  10. These will all be gone in several years ...all reclaimed by the sea. These people are truly morons.

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  11. Really Dubai ? Why do this you knew mother nature would destroy it all one day! It just looks rubbish

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  12. aww how cool.. killing our planet yaaayyy .. not like we care.. right ? make me sick !

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