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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, January 22, 2018

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The wonderful bizarreness of Dubai Miracle Garden

It attracts up to 30,000 visitors on weekends

Share on Facebook January 15, 2015, Reporter : BigNewsNet, Reader : 399

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I imagine that after Alice fell down the rabbit hole, her initial reaction was similar to mine as I step through the entrance gate at the Dubai Miracle Garden: a healthy dose of disbelief, with a side of intrigue. Disbelief that a 2,000-square-metre garden could exist in the middle of the desert. And intrigue that something like this could exist outside of a post-communist country. There’s a definite element of “Soviet chic” to it all, from the Disney-style fonts used on signs to cars emblazoned with the faces of slightly disconcerting cartoon characters. And yet, here I am. Standing at the entrance to a place that can only be labelled as wonderfully bizarre.

To be fair, the backstory is not so much bizarre as practical. Home to 150 million flowers and situated adjacent to Dubailand, Dubai Miracle Garden is the brainchild of the engineer Abdel Nasser ­Rahhal, and is meant to act as an outdoor attraction for residents and tourists alike. A haven, if you will, where people can come and enjoy nature, away from the pollution of the city and stale air conditioning of the malls. According to official figures, it attracts up to 30,000 visitors on weekends.

There’s no doubt that the striking colours, fresh air and floral smells make for a pleasant day out with family and friends. But what truly catches the eye are the quirky flower-covered structures that seem to have been placed at random around the garden. The giant peacocks, an oversized clock and an upside-down house are three of the more memorable, Wonderland-esque features. But it’s the brilliant, flower-covered hearts leading into the main area of the garden that really leave me expecting the Queen of Hearts to come bounding out from behind the bushes screaming “off with her head”.

The garden first opened in February 2013 and is currently in its first phase of development. Its various features include the Flower Falls, an area consisting of giant flowerpots and flowers, designed to give the impression that the flowers are pouring out of the pots; the Cars Zone, a mind-bending section that consists of colourfully decorated cars sticking up out of the ground, as though they’ve sprouted overnight; an 18-metre-high replica of the Burj Khalifa, covered in flowers; and a lake and fountain area featuring a giant tap (with running water) suspended in mid-air.

After being closed for the summer period, the garden recently reopened, bringing with it new floral designs and colour schemes. I’m informed that past visitors will be pleasantly surprised to find that this latest manifestation is very different from previous versions. At present, there are 45 species of flowers in the garden, including petunias, marigolds and calendulas, which are shipped in from all around the world, from Egypt to the United States

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