Timeframe: what Dubai's Mall of the Emirates looked like this time 15 years ago

This time 15 years ago, the popular Dubai mall was still being built

TO GO WITH AFP STORY UAE-DUBAI-CONSTRUCTION-TOURISM: The Mall of the Emirates under construction in Dubai, 17 September 2004. Skyscrapers, sprawling resorts, malls and residential complexes are mushrooming across the desert sands of Dubai, a Gulf emirate in the throes of an apparently endless construction frenzy. Dubai is forging ahead with a multi-billion-dollar tourism drive to meet depleting oil resources. AFP PHOTO/Rabih MOGHRABI (Photo by RABIH MOGHRABI / AFP)
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It may be hard to imagine, but just 15 years ago the well-established Mall of the Emirates was merely a construction site. Today, the popular shopping centre may feature hundreds of the world's biggest and best fashion brands, a ski slope, cinema complex and more than 100 eateries, but back then it was just scaffolding and hoarding, which announced its opening in September 2005.

It was on schedule, too. Shops started launching around September and October that year, with a grand opening to follow in November. That was also when it was awarded with the title of The World's Leading New Shopping Mall at the World Travel Awards in London (shortly before its roof leaked thanks to torrential rains in Dubai, reports the mall's official website).

Eight years later, in September 2013, a major "evolution" was announced, with an expansion and redevelopment project worth Dh1 billion set to open two years later. That saw the fashion shopping district, a new area for luxury retailers, a sports and leisure section and more restaurants and cinema theatres join the already extensive mix.

Today, it's undoubtedly one of the most beloved malls in the emirates.