The islands with the shape of a palm tree

The emirate of Dubai is the most populous of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has the second largest area. The homonymous capital holds several mega-projects, one of them being the stunning Palm Islands.

These tree artificial islands have a palm-tree shape, hence their name. They happen to be encircled by a crescent-shaped barrier, aimed to diminish the effect of wave action. They are located off the coast of the UAE, amidst the Persian Gulf, and are truly a captivating engineering design. They are regarded as the 8th Wonder of the World.

Who commissioned them to build

Palm Islands are an initiative conducted by Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoumdo, who tried to increase the beach’s length, in order to accommodate the ever-growing number of tourists.

This dream started to become reality in 2001. The enterprise NAKHELL was held accountable for the project, with the Belgian Jan de Nul and the Dutch Van Oord being chosen as its developers.

Palm Jumeirah

This island was the first one to be built. Even though it is the smallest of the three, it can be seen from space. It has a length of 5 km and is 5,5 km wide, having increased Dubai’s coast in 56 km.

Rocks and sand were the only materials used for its construction. Taking into account how fine the desert sand is, it was necessary to extract sand from the bottom of the sea – such procedure relied on a jet to deposit the sand on the intended locations.

Several stones were placed on the sand and, steadily, the palm-shaped island started to emerge.

In this tree, we can find the trunk, 17 branches and a crescent-shaped barrier that encircles and protects it. This breakwater is attached to the main trunk through an underwater tunnel. The water renewal is made possible through several openings. If that did not happen, the water inside the palm tree would become stagnant.

The trunk has 2 km and it includes a main avenue with large residential buildings, hotels and shopping malls. Its branches have room for several high-end villas with their private beaches already included. The barrier itself houses multiple hotels, with the Atlantis the Palm being the most famous one.

This resort is aligned with the palm tree’s trunk, within the barrier’s central spot. This is a complex that occupies an extensive area, with 1500 rooms, 20 restaurants, several shops, a private beach, the Aquaventure, the Lost Chambers Aquarium and the Dolphin Bay, among other attractions.

Palm Jebel Ali

This island’s construction began in 2002, one year after the start of Palm Jumeirah. It has a length of 7 km and is 7,5 km wide.

It has a trunk, branches and a barrier as well. It will include residential and leisure areas, as well as hotels.

But this island has a distinctive trait. There’s an Arabic poem written on the water, between the palm tree and the barrier. There are 1060 houses on the water, disposed in a way that gives shape to the whole poem.

Its author is the Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoumdo, who had the idea to create the Palm Islands. In English the poem says:

“Take wisdom from the wise

It takes a man of vision to write on water

Not everyone who rides a horse is a jockey

Great men rise to greater challenges”.

Palm Deira

This will be the largest of the 3 islands. It will have a length of 14 km and a width of 8,5 km. It is still under construction.

When finished, it will be world’s largest artificial island.

These palm-shaped islands are truly an engineering wonder.