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Dubai Frame: the world’s largest frame

by Paola Bertoni
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The Dubai Frame is a popular attraction in Dubai. It is a large frame that stands 150 meters tall, showcasing the history and present of the city. Visiting the frame with a fun and witty companion is recommended, as there are many opportunities for amusing poses. The building is a symbol of Dubai and is quite extravagant.

Dubai Frame: a must-visit attraction

As a city of futuristic and excessive architecture, Dubai is home to many iconic buildings. The Dubai Frame is no exception. With no expense spared and with the aim of becoming a city symbol, the Dubai Frame is a gigantic golden frame adorned with the same motif as the Expo 2020 logo. It seems to be actually plated with real gold.

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However, the Dubai Frame is more than just a record-breaking building. It offers a unique view of the emirate of Dubai, capturing the past and present from the top of its frame. The old city with its low-rise buildings in traditional Emirati architecture is framed on one side. While the new city of ambitious skyscrapers is framed on the other.

Why the Dubai Frame is Worth Visiting

The word “frame” in English means “frame” and this unique building is designed to resemble that shape. The structure is situated next to Zabeel Park in Dubai and consists of two towers with panoramic elevators. The towers are connected by a walkway that features a remarkable 93-meter-long transparent floor situated 150 meters above the ground. It provides breathtaking views from all angles, including downward.

If you’re wondering whether the Dubai Frame is worth visiting, my answer is a resounding yes. Before I went up there, I thought it was just another tourist attraction. However, it’s more than that. The building is designed to perfection with attention to every detail, and you’ll find it hard to come back down. The Dubai Frame is like a time frame as it connects ancient Dubai, which started as a pearl fishing settlement, to the ultra-modern Dubai of luxury skyscrapers and record-breaking shopping malls.

I have to admit, the idea of being suspended in the air on a transparent floor didn’t appeal to me at first. However, it turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences I had in Dubai! The observation deck has a strip of opaque glass in the middle that becomes transparent as you walk over it. This gives you a clear view of the base of the frame, which is 150 meters below. The rest of the floor is normal, so there are no surprises for those who prefer to view the scenery from the side.

Visiting the Dubai Frame: a guide to your experience

Visiting the Dubai Frame allows you to experience a real journey through time, not just admire the view from above. In fact, before and after the central panoramic part, you will pass through two exhibition spaces. The Old Dubai Gallery tells the story of the emirate. The Future Dubai Gallery, on the other hand, is dedicated to the vision of the reigning emir. Here you can discover how he wants to redefine the Dubai of the future.

Before exploring the Dubai Frame you will be invited to pose in front of a green screen, like in a film productions. The photographer then will invite you to pose in the most fashionable positions possible. The results will be quite questionable as you will see in the gift shop at the end of your visit.

The first part of the Dubai Frame’s tour takes you back in time. From the Emirate’s birth as a fishing settlement through the British influence. The exhibition of Dubai’s past is a cross between a classical museum and a multimedia installation. The entrance is a scenographic passage through vaporised water, to be greeted by a giant picture of the reigning emir.

Then begins the historical part, with projections of black-and-white footage of the Dubai of yesteryear. This is followed by a series of everyday objects. Coffee pots for typical Emirati coffee, Prym sewing needles and Singer sewing machines, both from Germany, canned foods such as American Campbell soup and Dal Monte plums in syrup. The Old Dubai Gallery, with its exhibits, bears witness to Dubai’s role as a crossroads of trade in the Middle East, since the early 20th century.

Present Dubai: city views from the Dubai Frame

Leaving behind, physically and metaphorically, Dubai’s past, you are catapulted into the present in just 75 seconds in an all-glass panoramic lift. Once the lift doors open wide, you will find yourself enveloped in light, with a panoramic corridor in front of you.

Standing 150 metres high, the Dubai Frame gives you a breathtaking view of every corner of the city. On one side the most ambitious skyscrapers and buildings of Dubai Marina. On the other the ancient souqs of Deira with the desert dunes in the background. The view is spectacular as you can admire the different architectural styles of the city with your own eyes.

The main attraction of Present Dubai, however, is the bold transparent floor. The central strip of the floor, composed of a series of opaque glass panels, becomes transparent as you pass through. You’ll have the impression of walking in the air. Telling about it makes me hold my breath. Yet the floor of the Dubai Frame for some strange reason conveys stability and security. Even with the ground clearly visible 150 metres below.

The real attraction, however, are the interactive installations. Cameras to take selfies and touch screens to discover the history and curiosities of the buildings visible from the frame. Everything is studied in detail and you just have to look and touch everything in amazement.

The Dubai Frame floor becomes transparent when you step on it
The Dubai Frame floor becomes transparent when you step on it

After admiring Dubai through its frame, you will return to the ground via another panoramic lift. Before you leave, however, another surprise awaits you: a very special 3D video installation that imagines the future of Dubai.

On the walls of the Future Dubai Gallery, almost psychedelic images of a futuristic metropolis run at full speed. You will be impressed to see medical research that can regrow limbs, flying cars and flats populated by robot butlers. The effect of Dubai in motion, modern and avant-garde, does not leave you indifferent Almost hypnotising you in its futuristic vision.

Dubai Frame souvenirs

Finally, as in any self-respecting tourist attraction, Dubai has no shortage of questionable souvenir shops. With perfect organisation, you will be greeted on the way out by a clerk with your photo in a snowball or golden frame. Among the souvenirs available you can find golden frames of all sizes, pencils with the Dubai Frame on one side, shiny golden notebooks, the miniature Dubai Frame building under a snowball or as a fridge magnet.

During our visit, my companions and I decided to purchase the pictures on a memory stick so that we could share this unforgettable moment with everyone. In the photographs, the green background was replaced by the Dubai Frame, which was captured at various times of the day and night. Whether it was on the side of the skyscrapers or the side of the desert.

Photo souvenir of the Dubai Frame. I'm the girl in the centre
Photo souvenir of the Dubai Frame. I’m the girl in the centre

Practical tips for visiting the Dubai Frame

The Dubai Frame is one of the most popular attractions in Dubai, so in high season you can expect a lot of queues. That’s why I recommend buying Dubai Frame tickets online in advance, to ensure your entry to the world’s largest frame.

The Dubai Frame is located in the Zabeel Park district of Dubai. The most convenient way to get there is by taxi, otherwise you can get off at the Al Jaddaf metro stop and take a bus to your destination. Since Dubai is really huge check Google Maps for the best combination of public transport to get there.

Dubai Frame
Zabeel Park, Dubai

Where to stay in Dubai

Often considered a luxury destination, Dubai offers hotels and flats for all budgets and is much cheaper than you think. Below are a few value-for-money establishments that have been tried out by me personally or by friends and fellow bloggers.

For a luxury family holiday, the Bluewaters Beach Hotel, with swimming pools, restaurants to suit all tastes and children’s areas, is a great choice. To spend less but still stay in top-notch facilities, the Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City or the V Hotel Dubai are great choices, both overlooking the Dubai Water Canal with numerous in-house restaurants to choose from.

Finally, to see Dubai from a different perspective, I suggest you stay at the Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai, a unique property built in traditional Arabian style and located a short distance from the historic district and Al Fahidi Fort.

Write to me in the comments if you already knew the Dubai Frame, an exaggerated frame that is gaining its deserved place on Instagram and the Dubai skyline.

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