A Tour of the Emirates’ Architectural Marvels


Emirati architecture has become synonymous with cutting edge design and pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved. Architecture buffs aren’t alone in being wowed by the spectacular skylines of the Emirates, you don’t need a degree in building design to appreciate the amazing architectural marvels found in the Emirates’ cities. Many of the buildings are world renowned for their innovative design and feats of engineering.

From the breathtakingly beautiful to the frankly outrageous, the Emirates encourages a diverse range of pioneering design to jostle for attention in its cities. If you’re planning a cruise to the beautiful shores of the Emirates, these are the buildings that you simply can’t miss – as if that’s even possible!

Woman With The Dubai City View 2

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

At 828 metres high, the Burj Khalifa is not only the tallest building in the world, but it is also the tallest free-standing structure. This looming skyscraper is a tourist attraction in its own right, with people coming from all over the world to see this impressive feat of architectural engineering. If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, you can even head up the tower and look across the city from the tallest outdoor observation deck in the world. Burj Khalifa also boasts one of the highest bars in the world, At.mosphere Bar and Lounge, so grab yourself a cocktail and enjoy the spectacular views.

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

Designed to put Islamic culture on the map and establish Qatar as a cultural capital, the Museum of Islamic Art is as awe-inspiring outside as it is inside. Iconic Chinese-American architect IM Pei came out of retirement to design this imposing cubistic pyramid that rises out of the turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf. Despite being 91 years old at the time, Pei travelled across the Middle East for six months to draw inspiration for this impressive building from the culture it was to represent. Not only is the building itself a beautiful sight, but the museum it houses is world-leading and has all kinds of fascinating exhibitions, so it’s well worth the visit.

Marina district on January 10 in UAE, Dubai. Marina district is popular residential area in Dubai

Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi

As well as being the first ever Ferrari-branded theme park, Ferrari World also holds the record for the largest space frame structure ever built. The gigantic, racing car red structure hulks on the desert landscape like Ferrari’s first alien spaceship and everything about it seems designed with the brand in mind. Equal in size to seven football fields, the structure contains the world’s second largest indoor theme park, with 21 rides. With something for all the family, it’s a great place to add a little fun to your architectural tour.

Cayan Tower, Dubai

When it was built, Cayan Tower was the tallest high-rise building with a 90-degree twist, although it has been surpassed by the Shanghai Tower since then. At a massive 306 metres, it is still impressively tall and its helical shape doesn’t seem real or possible even when you are stood directly in front of it.  Cayan Tower is actually residential, and its 73 floors are home to stylishly-designed apartments. The tower is a breathtakingly impressive piece of design and is an essential visit while you’re in Dubai, although we don’t recommend dangling from it by one hand like model Viktoria Odintsova.

The Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi illuminated at night. United Arab Emirates, Middle East

Yas Viceroy, Abu Dhabi

Yas Viceroy was designed by Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture of Asymptote Architecture and is the first ever hotel to be built over an F1 race track. The massive structure comprises two 12-storey towers that are linked together by a swooping glass and steel canopy called the Grid Shell structure. Incorporating a sophisticated LED lighting system, the building lights up the entire skyline with an ethereal glow as soon as the sun goes down.

Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi

The Etihad Towers are a complex of striking buildings that were designed as part of an architectural design competition. Sheikh Suroor Projects Department constructed the final five buildings, which make up the entire complex. The tallest of the towers has an observation platform that allows visitors to look out at views across Saadiyat Island and the Emirates Palace. If you’re a bit of a film buff, you might even recognise the towers from a chase scene in the seventh instalment of the Fast and Furious movie franchise.

Cityscape of Abu Dhabi at Persian Gulf, UAE

Emirate Towers, Dubai

The Emirates Towers are a recognisable symbol of Dubai, cutting a dramatic shape on the city’s skyline. Constructed by the Al Ghurair Investment group, the most interesting thing about the towers’ architectural design is the relationship between the two buildings, which alters depending on where you are in the city. The taller of the two towers is an office complex, while the smaller contains a luxurious hotel.

Aldar Headquarters, Abu Dhabi

Aldar Headquarters was the world’s first circular skyscraper and its spherical design is as beautiful as it is technically impressive. Nicknamed ‘the coin’ because of its shiny, circular appearance, it has won awards for the ‘Best Futuristic Design’ at international architectural conferences. Sitting on a raised level, the building offers spectacular views from both inside and outside.

Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s Capital Gate is a building that redefines what is possible when it comes to architectural design. Drawing inspiration from Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, the skyscraper looks as though it could lose its balance and topple over at any time. In fact, it leans four times further than the original, with an impressively designed foundation that means it is also more stable.

If you want to see the Emirates’ impressive architectural marvels in the flesh, why not do a tour as part of one of Cruise1st UK’s wonderful cruise holidays? Browse the full selection of itineraries online or call our friendly sales team on 0808 2746 777.

A Tour of the Emirates’ Architectural Marvels
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A Tour of the Emirates’ Architectural Marvels
If you’re planning a cruise to the beautiful shores of the Emirates, these are the buildings that you simply can’t miss – as if that’s even possible!

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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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