In Dubai, there is a permanent competition between spectacular architectural projects, and chances are that every time you come back to visit, to be surprised by a new impressive appearance on the skyline of the city. For example, I look forward to the inauguration of the tower that promises to be almost a kilometer on completion, Dubai Creek Harbor. Until then, we are enjoying what is already in the emirate landscape and especially one of the newest appearances, The Dubai Frame.
The construction opened its doors to visitors in January 2018, after a contest in which the best project won, but also after several years of building it. I remember that in 2017 I saw it in a building phase far from being ready. That time I was wondering what the huge rectangle in Zabeel Park represents. I investigated the “problem” and learned the exact purpose of the two 150-meter towers, united up and down through a 105-meter long bridge, creating the illusion of a giant photo frame.
Fernando Donis, the architect who won the project together with $ 100,000, had in mind a great idea. Through Dubai The Frame he would make a connection between the past, present, and future of the Arab metropolis. Therefore, the positioning of the building in Zabeel Park is not at all a random one, but it is based on a very carefully calculated strategy. Once you go up, you can see the old Dubai in the North and the new Dubai in the South.
How to get to The Dubai Frame:
- By subway – the closest station is Al Jafiliya, located on the red line, just 4 stops away from Burj Khalifa. Dubai has an extremely easy and well-thought-out subway system
- By car/taxi – you can, of course, get here either by rented car or by taxi, but you have to keep in mind that you must pay for the parking
Visiting The Dubai Frame
The Dubai Frame has a more than a generous visiting schedule. Practically, any day of the year you can visit, being open daily from 9 am to 9 pm, even on weekends and during legal holidays. To avoid long standing in the queue, I recommend you try to come here during business days. The ticket costs 50 AED, equivalent to 12 € or 14 USD. It’s not necessary to buy the ticket in advance, it’s enough to get to the counter at Gate 4 of Zabeel Park and buy directly from there. Normally, you shouldn’t wait more than half an hour.
Another aspect that you need to consider is the weather. No matter how developed, Dubai is located in the middle of the desert, where sandstorms are no longer an unexpected surprise and where a serene day can turn into a dark one in just a few minutes. Dust sometimes takes control over the city, and even the tallest buildings plunge into a dense cloud of mist, in which even the peak of Burj Khalifa is no longer distinguishable. Therefore, you will want to avoid such a day and make sure you visit Dubai Frame on a sunny one. I also advise you not to carry a large baggage, because you will have to leave it somewhere at the entrance, considering that only small bags are allowed inside.
The first step of visiting The Dubai Frame
The Dubai Frame visit takes place in 3 phases that relate to the past, present, and future of the city, particularly in the given order. After you face the building that looks like a gold-plated photo frame, you will enter inside it, where you will discover the magic of the former Dubai. The one that is long gone was a basic fishing village with traditions, customs, and handicrafts that we can rarely nowadays. All are magistrally interpreted, with sound effects, smells, fog and 3D images of high quality. It’s so beautiful and realistic that you’ll have the feeling that you’ve teleported in the past, among sand dunes and bedouins riding on camels. This is one of the reasons why I think it is worthwhile visiting the famous attraction. It’s not just a tall building that offers a stunning panorama, but it’s also a museum in its entirety.
The second step of visiting The Dubai Frame
The next step is to get inside the glass elevator, the one that reaches the 48th floor in just 75 seconds. Try to squeeze yourself in front of the group so you can enjoy the fast-climbing while admiring the thousands of cars running on the city’s largest boulevard, Sheikh Zayed.
Once you’ve reached the top, a long ultramodern room, two bars with sweets and soft drinks, wide windows on both sides of the building and a glass floor that you can walk on will welcome you. I remember as soon as I spotted the glass floor, I immediately ran in its direction and began to walk on it, excited by the view at my feet and the nice sensations it gave me. As a result, the group coordinator took me as an example to other visitors, exclaiming funny, “She’s not afraid, she’s not afraid, she’s not afraid!”. Obviously, I was not afraid, although the feeling is that you can fall into the hole anytime, because the floor is made of an extremely durable material, without the possibility of cracking or breaking.
However, no matter how satisfied you are about the glass floor, you should not forget to admire and see the panorama of the city, both the old and new sides. Each group has, theoretically, only 20 minutes to spend here. As I have already mentioned, on the North side you will have a view of Deira, Bur Dubai, Dubai Creek and on the Southside, the downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina. It is a strong contrast that perfectly defines the initial purpose for which the Dubai Frame was built at a strategic location so as to “embed” the two faces of the emirate city.
The third step of visiting The Dubai Frame
The last chapter of the visit is, as you already expect, the future. A Science Fiction style video show where you’ll see a conceptual Dubai, as it should look like over 50 years from now. Besides, you’ll find some interesting things about the Dubai Frame. About the total cost of 230 million AED, the building materials such as steel, aluminum, and reinforced concrete. And also the mathematical formula that inspired it, the golden ratio or the golden section or the first irrational number discovered in history. For all of these, The Dubai Frame deserves a place in the top ten experiences in The City of Gold.