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Dubai's Enormous “The World” Artificial Archipelago

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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