Today (January 4) is a big day for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister to the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as it marks 10 years of his reign and a decade of fabulousness in the emirate.
To celebrate 10 years as the ruler of Dubai, we look at the 10 momentous achievements overseen by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum within the past decade.
It’s hard to imagine Dubai without Palm Jumeriah and its gorgeous Shoreline apartments and its spectacular hotels, which include the celeb fave The Atlantis and Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. In 2006 residents began to move into the luxury hotspot and in 2009 a monorail opened, taking commuters from one end to the other. Palm Jumeirah is the first of the islands project – a second is planned in Jebel Ali and the third in Deira. The man-made archipelago has increased Dubai’s coastline by 520km.
On January 4, 2010, Sheikh Mohammed launched the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building (it stands at 829.8 m), with an almighty fireworks display – it’s believed 10,000 fireworks were used. The iconic building, which has been climbed by Sheikh Hamdan and Tom Cruise, is the centrepiece to the extravagant US$20 billion Downtown Dubai development, which includes luxury residential buildings, offices and retail spaces (see The Dubai Mall below).
The Dubai Mall
The world’s largest shopping mall hosts over 1,200 shops, a 250-room luxury hotel, 22 cinema screens plus 120 restaurants and cafes. It is also home to the Dubai Aquarium and Ice Rink and the lakes at its base outside are where you can witness the famous Dubai Fountains. Did you know the company behind the Dubai Fountains are the very same as those who created the iconic Bellagio Hotel Fountains in Las Vegas?
Dubai International Financial Centre is not just a great hub for luxury hotels (think Emirates Towers and Ritz Carlton), top restaurants (think Hakkasan, The Ivy and Roberto’s), outstanding art galleries and sleek offices, it also plays a vital role as a link between the financial markets of East and West.
It’s not just architectural feats that he has presided over, Sheikh Mohammed has also been instrumental in humanitarian projects. In September 2007, he launched the Dubai Cares, an initiative which raises money to educate children in poor and developing countries.
Noor Dubai is another charity set up by the Sheikh and has become one of the most successful humanitarian initiatives in the Middle East. The aim of the foundation is to prevent and treat blindness and poor vision in developing countries.
In 2009 life got much easier for the UAE’s non-drivers with the opening of the Dubai Metro – a clean, safe, reliable and very affordable way to travel across the emirate. The 75km-long track is the longest fully automated metro network in the world.
2020 World Expo
In November 2013, the UAE won the right to host the World Expo in Dubai in 2020. The event will be the first time it has ever been held in the Middle East. The theme of the expo is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, with the aim to “connecting minds from around the world and inspiring participants to mobilise around shared challenges.”
As part of its efforts to become a cultural hub, in 2013 Sheikh Mohammed revealed his vision to create a purpose-built design district that nurtures emerging local talent and provide a home for the region’s creative thinkers. This became D3 – the Dubai Design District. While still evolving it has already played host to come incredible creative events including Fashion Forward, Art Dubai and Design Days.
In case you haven’t realised Dubai has become a hot spot for fitness fanatics and helping us get more fit is the introduction of cycling tracks. It was actually Sheikh Mohammed who decided to turn the unused camel track at Nad Al Sheba into a bicycle park, which has the option of a 8km, 6km and 4km loop. The course is lit at night and their are bathrooms and shower facilities. Other tacks include Al Qudra, Dubai Autodrome and Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina.
Congratulations to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for 10 great years as the ruler of Dubai.
Images: Getty and Supplied