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Dubai Fountain

Sunday 26 October 2014 (UAE)   
 
   
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Dubai Fountain at night - artists impression of aerial view
Dubai Fountain at night - artists impression of colored lights
Dubai Fountain artists impression daytime aerial view
Dubai Fountain sputtering under testing March 2009 with Burj Dubai behind

The Dubai Fountains

The Dubai Fountain or Dubai Fountains is an array of water jets gushing out of a puddle at the foot of the Burj Khalifa (a tall building in Dubai, previously or also called the Dubai Tower) next to the Dubai Mall. Emaar, the developer of the Burj Dubai and the Downtown Burj Dubai area, announced the fountain in June 2008, with the astonishing development cost of AED 800 million, about the same as what it costs to build a moderate sized apartment tower, the new Oasis Center, or half the Yas Island Circuit ... "The total development value of the Burj Dubai Lake, the fountain and its advanced filtrations systems is AED 800 million (US$218 million)" (Emaar press release 09 June 2008).

Dubai Fountain show timings
Dubai Fountain performance time schedule (September 2010)
Sun-Wed   1800, 1830, 1900, 1930, 2000, 2030, 2100, 2130, 2200  
Thu-Sat 1600, 1630, 1700, 1730 1800, 1830, 1900, 1930, 2000, 2030, 2100, 2130, 2200 2230,2300
    Dubai Fountain times (December 2009)  
Sun-Wed 1800-2200 (6pm-10pm) 1800, 1820, 1840, 1900, 1920, 1940, 2000, 2020, 2040, 2100, 2120, 2140, 2200  
Thu-Sat 1800-2300 (6pm-11pm) 1800, 1820, 1840, 1900, 1920, 1940, 2000, 2020, 2040, 2100, 2120, 2140, 2200 2200, 2220, 2240, 2300
    Dubai Fountain times (when first opened)  
Sun-Wed   1800, 1830, 1900, 1930, 2000, 2020, 2040, 2100, 2120, 2140, 2200  
Thu-Sat   1800, 1830, 1900, 1930, 2000, 2020, 2040, 2100, 2120, 2140, 2200 2220, 2240, 2300

If it's windy, call the Dubai Mall (tel +971-4-4373200 or 800-DUBAIMALL) to check on fountain timings, or if it is switched off.

  • Dubai Fountain shows start at 6pm, every 20 minutes until 10pm on weekdays and until 11pm on weekends. Each show lasts about 3-5 minutes.
  • Previously Dubai Fountain shows were every 30 minutes until 8pm and every 20 minutes after that (date of change unknown).
  • Additional shows at weekends (Thursday-Saturday).
  • Fire or flame fountain jets were part of the display for New Years Eve 2012. Along with laser lights, dancers, music, video. The 30 minute long show was repeated several times each night for a month.
Burj Dubai Fountain show tickets
  • Half price tickets are available exclusively from us, just send us lots of cash, a blank cheque, or your credit card details and we'll do the rest ...
  • ... but joking aside, don't listen to anyone offering to sell you tickets to the Dubai Fountain shows. They're free to watch and no booking is required, just walk outside The Dubai Mall or around the lake and pick a spot to watch them.
  • Going on a boat ride does require a ticket purchase however - abra rides on the Dubai Fountain lake started in March 2013, see below for more information.
Grammy Award for Baba Yetu song
  • The Baba Yetu song, played at one of the Dubai Fountain displays, was nominated for a Grammy Award (02 December 2010).
  • The Babu Yetu song received a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists (14 February 2011). It is the first time a song from a video game received the award.
  • Baba Yetu is the theme tune for the videogame Civilization IV, composed and arranged by Christopher Tin, performed by the Soweto Choir and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • The song is from the album Calling All Dawns, which won the Best Classical Crossover Album award at the Grammys.
Dubai Fountain facts and numbers
  • The Dubai Fountain length 275 meters (900 ft) - more than 2 football fields, and 25% larger than the Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas, visible from over 20 miles away up (in space) or horizontally if you have a clear line of sight.
  • Dubai Fountain height of 150 meters (500 ft) apparently. Emaar press releases in 2008 and 2009 were saying "Powerful water nozzles shoot water sprays to heights of over 500 ft". Which is the same as the height of a 50-storey building, or high enough to wash the windows a fifth of the way up the Burj Dubai. And in May 2009, that was stretched to "Height – 900 feet" according to the Khaleej Times "Fountain Facts". It looks more like 100-150 ft to us (30-50 meters).
  • Dubai Fountain height increased to 275 meters in a press release 02 January 2010 announcing the addition of a new song (Inshed An Aldar): "The Dubai Fountain can reach a height of 275 metres (900 ft) and is equipped with powerful nozzles capable of shooting water higher than a 50-storey building" which sounds like a very tall 50-storey building, and the water jets don't look anything like as high as 900 ft.
  • 22,000 gallons of water in the air at any given moment.
  • More than 6,600 lights with 1,000 different water combinations to drift into your dinner if you're on one of the Souk Al Bahar terrace restaurants when the wind is blowing your way. Music will be played to accompany your soggy steak.
  • 50 colour projectors according to original information, down to 25 according to the Dubai Mall website, but we've only ever seen white.
  • The Burj Dubai Lake fills the gap between the Dubai Mall, The Palace Hotel, Souk Al Bahar and The Address hotel. The Dubai Fountain plumbing doesn't run down as far as The Address though.
  • WET (established 1983) are the Californian based designers of The Dubai Fountain. WET also designed The Fountains of Bellagio and the Mirage Volcano in Las Vegas, and other fountains around the world. WET use their own proprietary VirtualWET program for the Dubai Fountain. Once it's all set up, the fountain program control is mostly done by computers wearing anoraks.

Or ... you could go to ACE Hardware and buy a few kilometers of garden hose, a couple of pumps, some of those pretty lights you hang in the garden and assemble a DIY Dubai Fountain. Allow AED 1 million and that leaves AED 799 million to go shopping with at The Dubai Mall.

Dubai Fountain music and performances

The Dubai Fountain does put on quite a spectacular show with several different music themes. Definitely worth a visit (and soon, before Emaar figure out a way to charge an entry fee), although the advertised 500+ foot high spurts of water are somewhat underwhelming - they look more like 100 ft high at best, but we didn't get our tape measure out. You'll know when a performance is about to start because the lights along the lake-edge go out seconds before the beginning. Each display lasts about 5 minutes, and bizarrely, some people clap at the end. Performances are every 20-30 mins during the evening, don't forget to check the wind direction first if you don't want to get wet.

Dubai Fountain list of songs
  • All Night Long - Lionel Ritchie
  • Baba Yetu1 - a Swahili song for the computer game "Civilization IV", composed by Christopher Tin
  • Bassbor Al Fargakom2 - Hussain Al Jassmi /Jasmi, Al Thokol Samz
  • Con te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye)1 - an Andrea Bocelli performance (he does not appear in person though).
  • Dhoom Thana - Shahrukh Khan1 - Arjun Rampal - a Hindi song from the film "Om Shanti Om"
  • Enta Omri (Inta Omri) - Hossam Ramzy (Abdulhalim Hafez?)
  • I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
  • Inshed An Aldar (Ask About Home) - an Emirati song written especially for the inauguration of the Burj Khalifa on 04 January 2010.
  • Ishtar Poetry - Furat Qaddouri
  • Lana Allah - Mohammed Abdu
  • Mon Amour - Concierto De Aranjuez?
  • O Mio Babbino Caro (Oh My Dear Papa) - Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
  • Sama Dubai1 - Mehad Hamed - an Emirati song, a tribute by Emaar Properties to Sheikh Mohammed's leadership
  • Shik Shak Shok1 - Hassan Abou El Seoud - an Arabic dance song
  • The Magnificent Seven theme tune
  • The Prayer - Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli (Robin Donald and Jodie-Joy?)
  • Thriller - by Michael Jackson
  • Waves (Amvaj)2 - Bijan Mortazavi, Sarah Brightman
  • UAE National Anthem
  1. Original playlist press release 28 May 2009 (said 6 songs but names of only 5 supplied).
  2. Not listed in original playlist press release 28 May 2009, but seen listed on Dubai Fountain sign June 2009.
Dubai Fountain viewing - best places
  • The bridge between Souk Al Bahar and the Dubai Mall is a good vantage spot, and has a handy rail to put your camera on at night so you don't get blurry photos.
  • There are several restaurants in Souk Al Bahar from which you can get a good view of the Dubai Fountain
  • The Kinokuniya bookshop on the top floor of the Dubai Mall has a cafe with an outdoor balcony from which you can see the fountain displays. Previously there were a few windows in the bookstore to look out of (might be curtained off though).
  • Cafe Madeline with a large outdoor area and good views of the fountains.
  • Joe's Cafe on Level 1 of the Dubai Mall has a balcony with a good view.
  • Cafe Havana on the Ground Floor (near the indoor waterfall) also has a balcony with a good view.
  • There are also cafes and restaurants along the Dubai Mall Waterfront Promenade, mostly out of range of the water sprays, and mostly busy.
  • The Burj Dubai itself of course, unless you bought a north-facing apartment.
  • The Address Hotel although it's a bit further away so you miss the bits around the corner of Souk Al Bahar.
Dubai Fountain testing

During March and April 2009, The Dubai Fountain was in testing phase, with wetsuited workmen in rubber zodiacs trying to dodge the jet sprays that some geek behind a computer pointed at them. At random times, you could see small dribbles of water, or more spectacular combinations of twirling streams of water, sometimes lit up, and looking more and more impressive as the launch date approached. Dubai Fountain formal opening date Friday 08 May 2009, along with the official opening ceremony of the Dubai Mall.

Dubai Fountain competition

On 01 July 2008 Emaar announced there would be a naming competition to decide what to call the new fountain in Lake Burj Dubai (Burj Dubai Lake), with a first prize of AED 100,000. Only residents of Dubai were eligible to enter. The competition ended 15 September 2008 with over 4,000 entries, 15 of whom suggested "Dubai Fountain", which a panel of senior Emaar management, architects and brand consultants decided was the winning name. Leaving the winners happy and almost everyone else bewildered, not with a case of "Why didn't I think of that" but ... "I thought of that but it seemed too obvious". Now you know why Brand Consultants are so important and deserve every penny, or fil, they earn.

Burj Dubai Lake

The Burj Dubai Lake is expected to have an abra service and an amphitheatre (on the edge, not in it).

  • Update 2013 - electric dhows or abras launched in 2013 to take passengers on scenic boat rides close to the fountains. You can also walk around to the other side of the lake from The Dubai Mall and get the same view (without the crowds in front of the Dubai Mall).
  • Update 2013 - no amphitheatre but there is the small Burj triangle park at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, on the other side of the lake from The Dubai Mall.
Dubai Fountain Lake Boat Ride
  • Visitors, tourists, residents can go on a scenic boat ride around the Dubai Fountain Lake (Burj Dubai Lake, Burj Khalifa Lake), announced 17 March 2013 (Emaar Properties press release).
  • Boats used are traditional style abras with modern style electric motors and cushions.
  • Boat ride timings are from 1745 to 2330. Not clear if daily or not - intial press release excluded Fridays (The Dubai Fountain Lake Ride will be held from Saturday to Thursday from 5:45pm to 11:15pm) but more recent information supplied just says timings are 1745 to 2330 without specifying any excluded days. We can't think of any obvious reason why Fridays would be excluded.
  • Cost is AED 65 per person in 2013, not clear if any discount for children. Tickets available at the Dubai Fountain Lake Ride kiosk on the Fountain Promenade (in front of the Dubai Mall), and the Burj Khalifa observation deck ticket counter.
  • The abra ride takes passengers for a close up view of the Dubai Fountain display but without getting them wet (or too wet).
  • Fishing and water-skiing are not permitted.
Last update Friday 06-Jun-2014
Related pages
  • Burj Dubai - the tallest tower in the world ... for the time being
  • The Dubai Mall - the largest shopping center in the world ... sort of
Related websites (new window)
  • www.wetdesign.com - website for WET, the designers of the Dubai Fountain.

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