Palm Jumeirah, Dubai's iconic man-made islands, turns 20
June 22, 2021 at 00:46
(CNN) — From a vantage point more than 50 stories high, Ali Mansour looks down on the islands he helped build nearly two decades ago.
Those islands make up Dubai's iconic Palm Jumeirah -- a man-made, palm tree-shaped archipelago home to luxury hotels, pristine beaches, and nearly 80,000 people"It was a first," recounts Mansour, "an unprecedented project of that scale."
A civil engineer by trade, Mansour moved from Canada to Dubai in 1998 to work with a consultancy firm.
A spectacular feat of engineering, the man-made islands of Palm Jumeirah are 20 years old this year.
Building the islandNo steel or concrete was used to create the base of the island; instead, the team used only sand and rock.
The western part of the "trunk" of the Palm Jumeirah during construction.
Nakheel says all the rock and sand used to build the island could form a two-meter-high wall that would circle the globe three times.
Now, visitors can view the Palm from Nakheel's new 360-degree observation deck -- 52 stories high -- called the View at the Palm, which opened in April.
Part of the new Palm Tower slated to open fully later this year, the View at the Palm is the island's latest attraction, joining others such as the Atlantis resort and Palm West Beach.
Last year, Palm Jumeirah also received a Guinness World Record for the largest fountain in the world.
"The future of the Palm is just going to keep going and going," Sangster says.
Even Mansour, who has seen practically every inch of the island up close, can't help but get butterflies viewing the Palm from up high.