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Story of the UAE in Historical Rare Photos - Part1


 Fujairah Fort is one of the biggest in the UAE, shown here in the 1980s before it was restored. It has four substantial towers, three circular and one square, and was started between 1500-1550, when the fort was mainly used for defence, but like most others it was also the administrative centre for the area. The fort came under attack by the Portuguese in the second half of the 17th century. It was again attacked by British artillery in 1925. Since its renovation in 1998-2000 the site has become an important tourist attraction.
 The headquarters of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Adia, in 2007 is the latest landmark along the Corniche with its dramatic folding glass front towering over the rest of the city. This is where Adia manages Abu Dhabi’s large financial reserves in a fund for the future, as it has done since 1976 when it replaced the Financial Investments Board as the government’s investment overseers. To the left of the Adia building, as the Corniche curves around to meet Rashid Bin Saeed Street (Airport Road), the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce building stands next to the small mosque.
 Looking along Abu Dhabi Corniche in 1998 to the Bainuna Tower in the distance, with the blue Union National Bank and gold Arab Monetary Fund buildings in front of it. At this time, the whole length of the Corniche was being extended into the sea.

 Dubai’s Flame Roundabout in 1980 with Dubai Airport in the distance and the DNATA building to the left.

 Construction just starting around the Dubai Marina in 2005, showing the long-established beach hotels at the back right of the picture, which at this time had yet to be dwarfed by the towers of Jumeirah Beach Residence and The Walk. As the freehold real estate market took off during this year, the companies developing these properties sought clear guidelines from the authorities on foreign ownership.

 In 1979 Al Safa Park in Dubai was still largely without trees, and the grass was only just starting to cover the ground. It had opened to the public in 1975 but was still a long way from the major attraction it would become in later years with a lake (yet to be built in this picture) and vast grassy areas making up 80 per cent of its total 53,300 square metres. In this picture the Metropolitan Hotel is visible in the distance after the thin line of Shaikh Zayed Road as it was in 1979. The sandy waste behind the hotel is what would become Business Bay in the 2000s.
 Looking over the heart of Bur Dubai in 1986, what stands out to the modern reader is the startling amount of open land in what has become a very built up area. Khalid Bin Al Walid Street swings to the left; and in the centre, the minaret of the Iranian mosque stands out in front of the BBME building.
 From the Trade Centre in 1981, looking north into Dubai along what became Khalifa Bin Zayed Road. The residential buildings of Karama are surrounded by sand in the middle distance, with the undeveloped areas of Mankhoul and Umm Hurair to the left. In the foreground, the Immigration building is just in sight at the bottom left, while on the open ground at bottom right is where Zabeel Park is now.
 From the Trade Centre in 1981, looking south along the Abu Dhabi Road (now Shaikh Zayed Road). The Trade Centre apartments are the only buildings on the left of the road (in front of where Dubai International Finance Centre, DIFC, now stands), and only the Al Rostamani Towers (closer) and the ‘Toyota building’ (further away) are on the right (all still standing in 2009). In the distance to the right the low-cost housing of Satwa has spread out over the sand.
 The tower of the Dubai World Trade Centre in 1980 is still recognisable today, but what is a surprise is the temporary exhibition hall with the striped canopy which has long since been replaced by the exhibition halls to accommodate Dubai’s numerous exhibitions. Just visible in the background is the Hilton Hotel, later renamed the Dubai World Trade Centre Hotel, and later again replaced with the much larger building we see today.

 The new nine-hole course of Emirates Golf Club in 1992 was a green oasis in the middle of sandy desert on the side of the Abu Dhabi Road, which is the dual carriageway stretching back to the right of the picture into Dubai. The open sand between the road and the sea is where Internet City and Knowlegde Village now stand, and the beach palaces on Al Sufouh Road are just visible on the coast.
 The gardens of Abu Dhabi Corniche in 1984 which had just been laid out and were still being planted.
 Dubai’s Flame Roundabout in 1980 with Dubai Airport in the distance and the DNATA building to the left.
 The Dubai Aluminium Company’s (Dubal) smelter under construction in Jebel Ali. Construction of the smelter started in 1977, and the first metal was tapped and poured in 1979, followed by sales in 1980. Dubal was initially a relatively small operation utilising three potlines which produced 136,000 tonnes of aluminium annually before growing into today’s global aluminium producer. Today Dubal is one of the world’s largest single-site aluminium smelters.
Abras (water taxis) in 1981 picking up passengers to cross Dubai Creek at Captain’s Stores, a popular landmark on the Creek front selling camera equipment, binoculars and telescopes. The first branch of the National Bank of Dubai in visible in the background.
From the Trade Centre in 1981, looking west towards the sea, along largely undeveloped Al Diyafah Street with the ‘Wilson buildings’ to the right, over Al Satwa roundabout with the tall Plaza Hotel to its right, to the coast where the Dry Docks and its breakwaters are just visible.
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