How Reem Island Became an Iconic Part of the Abu Dhabi Skyline


Today, life in the Emirates is advancing rapidly. In a regular series on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates, we take a little trip back in time and see how much the country has changed.

This series showcased the huge changes that have taken place in the UAE over the past decades.

But, in some cases, this transformation was accomplished much earlier.

Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island in the early 2000s was a stretch of sand surrounded by mangroves and the waters of the Persian Gulf.

Today, it is home to dozens of high-rise towers that have transformed the Abu Dhabi skyline.

The oldest photo, taken in 2011, showed the first phase of this huge real estate boom. The multibillion-dollar development consisted of luxurious skyscrapers, schools, offices and even a branch of the prestigious French Sorbonne University.

It marked a departure from traditional low-rise developments on Abu Dhabi Island and it also became one of the first places residents could own freehold apartments.

In the middle of the older photograph, we see the construction of some of Abu Dhabi’s most striking buildings: Sun, Horizon and, to the right, Gate Towers. The Sky Tower is hidden behind Horizon. The distinctive ceiling of the three individual towers of the Gate complex has yet to be put in place, but it is not far off.

When the older photograph was taken, construction was temporarily halted due to the fallout from the 2008 global financial crisis. But activity on the island has increased significantly since then, with over 100 towers now completed on the handle. which existed in 2011.

The new photograph shows the same scene again and the transformation is clear. The Gate and Sun and Sky development is now one of the largest on the island, while the Horizon Towers have also been completed.

Despite the fact that many parts of the island are still waiting to be developed, the foundations are laid for the future. The Reem Shopping Center, home to the world’s largest snow park, is slated to open soon, while residents will also be able to enjoy walks in the newly opened parks that champion diversity.

Anyone walking past the Eastern Mangroves Hotel on Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street (Salam Street) can also see a huge bridge being built next to the mangroves.

It will eventually connect to Reem via Umm Lafina Island, adding another landmark to what not so long ago was a stretch of sand.

Updated: November 25, 2021, 3:23 a.m.

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