Giant shopping mall opens in Dubai.
The Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping and entertainment destination, was formally opened by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president and prime minister and Dubai ruler at a colourful ceremony.
The highlight of the opening ceremony was the unveiling of The Dubai Fountain, the world's tallest performing fountain, which performed to the melody of an Emirati song, Sama Dubai.
Replicating the graceful movements of Emirati dance forms, the performance of Sama Dubai was a tribute to Sheikh Mohammed. The song highlights his vision and leadership qualities and celebrates the success of Dubai.
The spectacular opening ceremony, held by the waterfront promenade of The Dubai Mall, was attended by dignitaries and high-ranking officials, and joined by thousands of visitors to the mall, who were treated to a full showcase of the fountain's musical performances.
Mohamed Alabbar, chairman, Emaar Properties, said that the opening ceremony, with the special performance of Sama Dubai, is Emaar's tribute to Sheikh Mohammed.
"The formal opening of the mall will continue to energise the retail and tourism sector of Dubai, and now, with the unveiling of The Dubai Fountain, we are also adding to the tourist attractions of the city," he added.
The Dubai Fountain will now perform daily, with the performance repertoire including Sama Dubai; Baba Yetu, an award-winning song in Swahili; the Arab world's top-selling dance number Shik Shak Shok; and the signature piece of world-renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, Con te partiro (Time to Say Goodbye).
Set on the 30-acre Burj Dubai Lake, the fountain shoots water jets as high as 500 ft (150 metres), equivalent to that of a 50-storey building.
The fountain is 900 ft (275 metres) long and has five circles of varying sizes and two central arcs. It has been designed by California-based WET, the creators of the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Marking the revelry of the opening ceremony, the mall also organised an array of entertainment events to add to the verve of the month-long Festival@The Dubai Mall, a shopping and entertainment extravaganza.
Since its soft opening in November 2008, The Dubai Mall has welcomed several thousands of visitors, including UAE residents and tourists.
Situated in close proximity to Burj Dubai, the world's tallest building, The Dubai Mall is spread over an area of 12 million sq ft. It has a gross leasable area of 3.77 million sq ft and is planned to have over 1,200 retail stores including 160 food & beverage outlets.
Already, more than 900 retail outlets have opened including several flagship stores and Middle East debuts of global brands. For the convenience of visitors, the mall has 14,000 car parking spaces.
The mall's extensive array of leisure attractions makes it one of the largest entertainment destinations in the region too. The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is a key attraction for families, and has over 33,000 aquatic animals.
The aquarium also features the world's largest acrylic viewing panel and a walk-through tunnel. The Olympic-sized Dubai Ice-Rink and The Waterfall, which traverses the four levels of the mall, are also popular among families.
Later this year, the mall will open the region's first KidZaniaA -- an innovative children's edutainment concept; Sega Republic -- a high adrenaline indoor theme park; and the 22-screen REEL Cinema with a total capacity of 2,800 seats.
The Festival@The Dubai Mall will continue through May 29, 2009, with the retail outlets offering several bargain deals for customers.
They also have the opportunity to win millions of dirhams in prizes through daily and weekly draws, and a grand draw for Dh1 million ($272,273) at the end of the festival.- TradeArabia News Service
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