Christina/ October 6, 2010/ Culture

The caravan moves on, the topics remain the same. Whereas Dubai is still economizing its big brother Abu Dhabi is firing on all cylinders. Last year it was the Formular-One-Circuit on Yas Island, now it’s the completion of the new Sheikh-Zayed-Mosque which is called a “magnificient building of a majestic size and oriental beauty”, newspapers like “Neuen Züricher Zeitung” (NZZ) featured an article on October 1st, 2010.

The comparision to it’s neighbour Dubai is drawn right away: An equivalent to Dubai’s “The Palm” shall be put on stage. That includes next to the construction of “Masdar City” the “Saadiyat” island offshore Abu Dhabi. Besides the construction of 38 000 appartements, 8000 luxury villas and 29 Five-Star-Hotels within the coming years a branch of the Paris’ Louvre and the New York Guggenheim-Museum shall be build.

Fantastic art treasures shall be the figurehead of the neighbouring emirate “Sharjah”. Top-class mueums, wide beaches and a relaxing even though “dry” atmosphere (alcohol is not being sold in Sharjah) shall attract tourists all over the world. Thereby a concept, according to the NZZ-article of October 1st, 2010, is being followed where travellers shall visit Sharjah to leave the bustle and gigantism of Dubai behind and refueling their batteries in the third biggest emirate. Mind you energy not alcohol. After all Sharjah has already been the “cultural capital of the Arabic World” in 1998. In 2014 it will be the “cultural capital of the Islamic World” for a year.

As a third of the trio which newly courting tourits comes the sultanate Oman. Again the NZZ features an article (is that PR or Journalism?) on “Oman Air as a pioneer: offering mobile internet access on board as the first air carrier in the world”, “Luxury under the date palms” or a tour through the “Rub al-Khali”, one of the biggest sand desserts in the world that covers parts of Saudi-Arabia, the UAE, Yemen and the sultanate of Oman.

Again luxury hotels, impressive buildings and futuristic projects are on the agenda and in the news. Unfortunately nothing is said about the people behind the plans. Are they consistent with the gigantic projects and goals of the rulers or is it just a display of power to the outside that is endured by the people even if it is not really wanted that way? Why not reporting on the “story behind” for a change? Maybe this could be a small food for thought for some journalists or bloggers ..?

Further readings (in German):

  • Im “Leeren Viertel”: Eine Tour durch die Weite der Rub-al-Khali-Wüste in Oman ist eine Lektion in Demut. In: Neue Züricher Zeitung vom 01.10.2010, Nr. 228, Seite 59 (Reisen und Freizeit).
  • Luxus unter Dattelpalmen. In: Neue Züricher Zeitung vom 01.10.2010, Nr. 228, Seite 59 (Reisen und Freizeit).
  • Ein Märchen in Weiss: Die neue Sheikh-Zayed-Moschee in Abu Dhabi ist ein Prunkbau von majestätischer Größe und orientalischer Schönheit. In: Neue Züricher Zeitung vom 01.10.2010, Nr. 228, Seite 61 (Reisen und Freizeit).
  • Dubais ehrgeizige Nachbarn: Das Emirat Sharjah profititiert von seiner Nähe zur Megacity und setzt stark auf seine kulturellen Schätze. In: Neue Züricher Zeitung vom 01.10.2010, Nr. 228, Seite 62 (Reisen und Freizeit).
  • Abu Dhabi – Arabische Schönheit. In: artundreise. Kunst, Kultur, Lifestyle- und Reisemagazin. September 2010, S. 67-73.
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