Dubai will build an opera house and a modern art museum, the government said Wednesday, a first project of its kind since the Gulf emirate was hit by the global economic downturn in 2008.
The Dubai Modern Art Museum & Opera House District "aims to further strengthen UAE's emerging role as the cultural hub of the region," a statement said.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai declared: “The cultural accomplishments of a nation define its character and individuality. Having demonstrated our credentials in hosting world-class cultural events, UAE has established itself as a thriving destination for culture and the arts. We will continue to strengthen the infrastructure framework for promoting cultural initiatives, through projects such as the ‘Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District.’ This will not only encourage our talented local artists but also facilitate global cultural exchange.”
The project will be built near Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, added the statement, which said design and architectural elements are now being finalized, and work will soon begin.
Dubai-based real estate giant Emaar Properties will be completing this project. Emaar was behind major property developments in the city, including Burj Khalifa and neighboring Dubai Mall -- the world's most visited shopping and tourism destination marking record visitor numbers of 54 million people in 2011.
In 2008, Dubai announced plans to build a series of cultural projects, such as libraries, theatres and museums and an opera house, but the projects never saw the light.
Abu Dhabi,the capital of the UAE, meanwhile is building a huge cultural complex on Saadiyat Island, which will host branches of the Guggenheim, the Louvre and Zayed National Museum.
The Gulf region has been the site of a cultural boom over the past few years with the Arabian Peninsula's only opera house -- The Royal Opera House of Oman -- opening in October.
Qatar, which had already established the largest museum of Islamic art in the region, opened the doors of Mathaf, the world's first museum devoted to the modern Arab art in 2010.