Timeframe: The Dubai Mall in 2008 redefined the shopping experience

From a 155-million-year-old dinosaur to unique retail outlets, the mall never ceases to amaze

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It’s hard to imagine Dubai without one of the world’s most well-known malls. The UAE and Dubai have built and achieved numerous world firsts, but The Dubai Mall is really a feat of its own.

More than a Guinness World Record breaker (in fact, it has a few of those), The Dubai Mall redefined the meaning of shopping and entertainment when it opened 14 years ago.

The Dubai Mall opened on November 4, 2008 and was designed by DP Architects. It was completed on the scale of a city, at more than 120 hectares — approximately 50 football fields.

It features open, wide and airy boulevards that lead the way into the many realms of shopping. With more than 1,200 retail spaces (not including pop-ups and stalls), two global department stores — Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdale's — and more than 200 international dining experiences, a 250-room luxury hotel and 22 cinema screens, it’s no surprise more than 100 million visitors flood there every year.

That figure is more impressive when you consider that The Dubai Mall has attracted more visitors in one year than other global landmarks such as New York City's Times Square and Central Park, even Niagara Falls.

The grand entrance of the mall once housed the Dubai Dino, a 7.6-metre-tall, 24.4-metre-long skeleton of a 155-million-year-old dinosaur. It has now been moved to the Souq Dome, which leads to the gold souq pavilion, designed with intricate and ornate motifs.

Other major attractions include the indoor waterfall and the aquarium and underwater zoo, which houses more than 300 species of marine animals, including sharks and rays. Then there's the Olympic-sized ice rink and, most recently, the mall’s very own immersive digital art gallery Infinity des Lumieres, which has displayed reimagined digital works of Vincent Van Gogh, Kandinsky and Gauguin.

The mall’s Fashion Avenue presents luxury shopping in a unique way. Aside from the engaging installations and stylish interiors, it’s rare to find nearly every international luxury brand from fashion, timepieces and homeware only a short walk from each other, but here you do.

You can't speak of The Dubai Mall and not mention Dubai Fountain, of course. The musically choreographed fountain system on the 12-hectare artificial Burj Khalifa Lake, between the mall and Burj Khalifa, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year by itself.

It's more than just about impressive numbers or breaking the conventions of what malls are about, though. Like the rest of the UAE, The Dubai Mall is about an experience to remember and showing the world what amazing things can be achieved with creativity, a sense of adventure and a great vision.

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Updated: November 04, 2022, 10:38 PM