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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Mind-blowing facts about how Dubai's Palm Jumeirah was built – insight into an engineering masterpiece
Joanna James Joanna James
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Mind-blowing facts about how Dubai's Palm Jumeirah was built – insight into an engineering masterpiece

Considered to be an eighth wonder of the modern world, the Palm Jumeirah is an architectural masterpiece. Here are a few mind-blowing facts about this amazing island that will leave you speechless.


It is made entirely of rock and sand

The developers that undertook this massive project decided to replace traditional concrete slabs with a foundation built entirely out of 7 million tons of rock that was taken from a quarry in the Hajar Mountains. And while there is plenty of sand above ground to use, they instead chose to dredge sand from the sea floor to create the foundation of the island.


A 11km breakwater protects the island

The crescent-shaped breakwater was the first part of the island to be built, it acts as a barrier to protect the inner palm-shaped island from strong sea current and seasonal winds that blow across the gulf sea. The breakwater has a 6 metre wide boardwalk that stretches from end to end and is a popular spot for morning strolls and sunset gazing.


A temporary dam had to be built

After the construction of the breakwater, a sea tunnel was built to connect the trunk to the crescent, 25 meters below sea level. To build the sea tunnel under safe, dry conditions, 2 dykes were created to form the dam. Over 5.5 millon cubic meters of water was pumped out in a record 45 days, with over 2,000 fish caught and moved to avoid them getting trapped in the space. Afterwards, the dykes were used as roads for construction vehicles.


Satellites were used to plan the shape

Once the breakwater was in place, engineers and sand dredgers worked overtime to construct the tree trunk and 17 palm fonds perfectly. However, creating the beautiful design we see today required surgical precision, and they did it using hi-tech GPS to spray the sand into the shape that has made it world famous. The finished island covers an area equivalent to 600 football fields.


It took 6 years to create

Believe it or not, the Palm Jumerirah project took just six years to complete from start to finish. Today it is home to some of the most exclusive and luxurious beachfront mansions, apartment complexes and hotel chains in Dubai, such as Minor Hotels, for example, an international hotel group


There were originally meant to be 3 palms

The first phase of work began on the much larger Palm Jebel Ali in 2002, however plans for that fell short after a financial crisis in 2008. The land reclamation was completed, but there has been no development on the island since then. Plans for the Palm Deira, an island eight times the size of Jumeirah were launched in 2004, but again, was never completed. Instead, developers decided to go ahead with a project known as Deira Islands. Consisting of four smaller islands, the development will include residential apartments, malls, hotels and a large marina.

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