Urban landmarks

One of the oldest hotels in the country will be torn down later this year

Hard Rock Cafe was a popular landmark in Dubai that was demolished in 2013. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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When street names were nearly non-existent, landmarks were used to guide residents and visitors. One of the most famous is the Ramada Hotel in Bur Dubai. Surrounded by little more than desert when it opened its doors in 1983, the Ramada was the first four-star hotel in Bur Dubai. Its demolition is another sign of the pace of development and the price paid for rapid urbanisation.

For many residents, buildings such as the Ramada Hotel are more than structures – they are part of the fabric of the city. Even though efforts are being made to modernise our cities with ordered street names, many of these landmarks are still used as navigational aids. Considering their historical significance, steps could to be taken to preserve them on a municipal level. But we can take solace in the fact that their memory lives on when we conjure up their names as we get around town.