One of the world's largest shopping malls is due to open toward the end of the year in the booming Gulf retail paradise of Dubai, developers announced on Tuesday.
Dubai Mall -- covering an area of 12 million square feet (1.1 million square meters) -- will feature 1,200 stores, an indoor aquarium and an Olympic-sized ice rink, the emirate's real estate developer Emaar said in a statement.
The development will dwarf the Mall of the Emirates, currently Dubai's largest retail centre that itself boasts an indoor ski slope and a luxury hotel.
Dubai Mall will become "the region's premier shopping and entertainment destination for residents and a major attraction for Dubai's tourists", predicted Jim Badour, head of Emaar's shopping malls division.
The mall will be part of a wider multi-billion-dollar development that includes the world's tallest tower.
Burj Dubai is still under construction, but it overtook Taiwan's Taipei 101 tower as the world's tallest building when it reached 512 meters (1,533 feet) in June 2007. Its eventual height remains a closely-guarded secret.
Dubai, a member of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates federation, holds a hugely popular annual shopping festival. The city state attracts millions of visitors each year, positioning itself as a global leisure and financial hub.