Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

Megaprojects: Think tank in Masdar City proposes splitting the sea for tourists

Pharaoh's Pass would involve a giant glass wall in the sea to create a natural aquarium

A think tank in Masdar City has created a model for parting the waters of the Arabian Gulf opening the sea bed to tourists.

The Pharaoh’s Pass concept was brought to life in a short CGI film that showed how offshore engineering can create a giant aquarium at The Palm in Dubai or near Lulu Island in Abu Dhabi.

Those at the National Advisor Bureau behind the concept said it could one day become reality – another wonder of the world.

“The project simulates the historical story of the sea split in the era of the pharaohs, which occurred thousands of years ago,” said Abdullah Al Shehhi, an electrical engineer who is the bureau’s executive director.

“The Pharaoh’s Pass will be one of the world's wonders, as the sea will be split by a transparent glass wall.

“It will be considered the largest in the world, with high safety and security features and enough thickness so that it prevents leakage.”

Designers said the project could become a marine park, with retail shops, cafes and seafood restaurants – all surrounded by floating villas.

Visitors would be transported within the Pharaoh's Pass in horse-drawn carts, in keeping with the traditions of ancient Egypt.

There, they will be able to see marine life from behind giant glass walls, while the floor of the project will consist of natural sea sand, seashells and marine coral.

The project could be years away, but Mr Al Shehhi said investors have expressed an interest in feasibility studies.

“This is an early concept, but we are presenting it to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Saudi Arabia as a potential tourism project,” he said.

“We would use similar engineering as that used in constructing a dry dock to repair vessels, where water is pumped out from an area of land.

“Once a barrier is in place, a glass wall can be inserted to create a giant natural aquarium.

“Hopefully, we can generate some solid interest by next year, so the project can begin.

“It is an unusual project and unlike anything else. It would be considered as a new wonder of the world.”

UAE megaprojects of 2020 - in pictures

Updated: September 20, 2020 11:29 AM

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