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Dubai’s 300 eerie manmade islands built for the super rich remain mostly empty
Featured Image Credit: MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP via Getty Images

Dubai’s 300 eerie manmade islands built for the super rich remain mostly empty

The initial project hit a road block and now the islands are empty

Just off the coast of Dubai sits 300 manmade islands - and they're all completely empty.

The artificial development, known as the World Islands project, was created back in 2003, with each island ranging from 250,000 to 900,000 sq ft.

The World Islands project was started in 2003.
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While it's pretty mind-boggling to think that islands could be created by humans, they were made using massive amounts of sand from the Persian Gulf as well as several million tons of rock to keep it all in place.

The idea was to create miniature versions of the seven world continents, with the islands representing each country.

It would be a luxurious experience (for those who could afford it) allowing people to essentially travel the world while remaining in Dubai.

The likes of Richard Branson, the late Karl Lagerfeld and Michael Schumacher all had trips to a selection of the islands.

Although a good idea in theory, the project hit a roadblock in 2008, when the world economy took a nose dive.

An estimated $300 billion worth of planning was either put on hold or canceled altogether.

Fast forward 16 years and there are just two islands that the public can now visit - Lebanon Island, which was completed years ago, and Anantara World Islands Resort on the South American section, which opened in 2021.

The remaining islands - around 300 - are totally empty and open to development.

Of course, Dubai's tourism is still absolutely booming, and with the islands sitting empty, many developers have been thinking about future projects.

Most of the islands are empty.
Boarding1Now/Getty Images

Next on the agenda could be The Heart of Europe project.

The idea would be for guests to tour the different European islands, with 'cities' such as Monaco, Nice, Sweden and Germany already complete with restaurants and hotels.

In fact, the whole thing could be complete in the next couple of years.

"The Heart of Europe celebrates the very best of European lifestyle and luxury design. Located just off the coast of Dubai, The Heart of Europe is a complex of six fully developed islands offering unrivalled resort and leisure experiences," the website explains.

“We combine the best of European culture, architecture, and hospitality with the luxury and innovation of the Emirates and the white, sandy beaches of tropical islands.

“The Heart of Europe offers novel experiences, from underwater living to the climate controlled Raining Street.”

Currently, the completion date is set for 2026 at a cost of $5 billion.

Topics: World News