When we saw that today marked the first anniversary of the opening of the world’s largest indoor amusement park, Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, we were stimulated to do more research about the Middle East. In the immediate vicinity of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, we were only able to identify four sacred sites, and all of them are in Bahrain. Taking a broader view of pilgrimage destinations, however, the situation is quite different. For example the aforementioned Ferrari World has already become a quest for the millions of Tifosi who are avid supporters of the Scuderia.
Anyone who fancies very tall buildings will want to make a pilgrimage to Dubai, the Emirate that has more ultra high architecture than any other city, and included among them is the tallest building in the world. Soaring nearly half a mile toward the heavens is the Khalifa Tower, known locally as Burj Khalifa. Its official height is 2,722.57 feet or 828.84 meters.
Another kind of attraction that brings people on holidays to Dubai is its theme parks. The oldest, Al-Nasr Leisure Land is beginning to show its age, as it has been around for more than 30 years. The facility has sports and entertainment attractions covering 48 acres, all under one roof. Still awaiting completion is Dubailand, which will have seven different worlds or themes: shopping, accommodation, sports, science, culture, health, and amusement, when it is finally finished.
Our favorite Dubai theme park is Aquaventure, also known as Atlantis. It combines a water park where guests can interact with dolphins, an accredited PADI 5-star dive center, and what we find most interesting, the Lost Chambers. When the complex was being constructed, a network of underwater passageways was discovered. Some people believe these ancient streets, hidden for thousands of years under the seas of the Arabian Gulf are actually remnants of the Lost City of Atlantis. Whether or not this is true, the attraction now enables visitors to view such aquatic life as giant catfish, sharks, arapaima and others face to face. Atlantis seekers who have already visited Bimini and Santorini may want to make a visit to Dubai’s Aquaventure, just in case its Lost Cambers is the real one.