|Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates|
"Eye In The Sky"No city in history has seen such architectural and economic growth as Dubai in the past two decades. Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, was a desert wasteland twenty years ago, in 1996. Dubai's advancement can be attributed to the ability of the UAE's Royalty to implement their drastic vision for a record-breaking city. In the 1990's, Sheikh Maktoum al-Maktoum developed free-trade zones which allowed businesses to own one hundred percent of their profits, he built trade alliances with the Western world, established infrastructure and strict law enforcement, and supported tourism through providing grants to tourism spots such as high class beach clubs, and The Palms, an artificial archipelago built to draw in tourism from the world's richest visitors.
Surrounded by countries in war and poverty and filled with hate, the royal family of the UAE and the people they rule seek to create a civilized and advancing first world nation. Present day Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has said,
"I want Dubai to be a place where everybody from all over the world meets each other,
don't think of fighting or hate, just love it, enjoy their sport, and that's it."
This futuristic city now boasts some of the world's most technologically advanced buildings, including the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. Towering above the rest of the skyscrapers, Burj Khalifa stands more than twice the height of the Empire State Building in New York City.
I got to experience Burj's staggering height first hand when I ventured up 163 floors to the glass observation deck. Aside from the dizzying views that extended miles and miles past the city and into the rolling red desert and crisp blue ocean, I saw the stark contrast between the city now, and how it looked 20 years ago. Below are two pictures; the first was taken in 1996 from a helicopter, the second was taken from Burj Khalifa in 2014.