Everyone knows that Burj Khalifa is the trademark of Dubai. Matter of fact, it’s also a symbol of architecture, given the fact that it’s the tallest building in the world. Along with the Dubai fountain dancing in front of it, and having the longest-running elevator of 140 floors; it definitely stands tall in Dubai, attracting thousands of tourists from around the world. However, ever wondered what was the highlight of Dubai before Burj Khalifa? It’s the Clock Tower roundabout in Deira!
The origins of The Clock Tower
To this day, The Clock Tower roundabout remains a recognizable icon in Deira, Dubai. And there’s a story behind it. Back in 1960, the daughter of Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed, the ruler of Dubai, was married to Sheikh Ahmad Al Thani, the ruler of Qatar, according to The National News. Sheikh Ahmad gave her a present, a large clock, and it was supposedly manufactured in Manchester. To display the clock, it was decided to build a tower to place the timepiece on top of it.
The tower was designed and built by Zaki Al Homsi, who is a Syrian architect. They chose the Dubai Creek to place it, right between Deira and Shindagha. At that spot, the Clock Tower would be the first thing to be seen by visitors coming to Dubai by ship or airplane. Building the tower took less than a year, and the finalization was done by 1965.
As time went by, the tower had had many repairs and reconstructions, as it deteriorated. Being right in the middle of a busy street and growth of traffic, the tower got moved a couple of meters to make up room for a new underpass. However, in 2008, the original clock was replaced by a new model. To this day, the Clock Tower lives on as a memory of old Dubai, and as an Emirati architectural and cultural symbol.