February 20, 2013

0515 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (Dubai) - Souk Al Bahar & Burj Khalifa

As it is written on the front of the postcard, it depicts Souk Al Bahar and Burj Khalifa in Dubai. A souk (also spelled souq, soq, souk, esouk, suk, sooq, souq, or suq) is an open-air marketplace or commercial quarter in an Arab or Berber city, by extension in any Muslim city. Historically, they were held outside of cities in the location where a caravan loaded with goods would stop, at that time, souqs being more than just a market, but also a place where they were held major festivals and many cultural and social activities. Later, due to the growth of cities, the souqs shifted to urban centers, the main souq becoming one of the central structures of a large city.

In Dubai, and not only, the traditional souks are named after the types of products on sale, but the modern ones don't follow anymore this rule. Souk Al Bahar (Market of the Sailor) is a shopping, entertainment and dining destination located in the heart of the city, easily accessible through a stunning walkway from modern Dubai Mall. Its over 100 shops include 22 restaurants, cafés and lounges, mostly located along the souk’s extensive waterfront promenade overlooking the majestic Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa. Its alleyways are lined with various shops, an eclectic mix of authentic handicrafts, jewelry, fashion wear, perfumes, carpets, furnishings, sports items or book.

Burj Khalifa (Khalifa tower), so far the tallest man-made structure in the world (829.8m), is part of the new Downtown Dubai, being located near city's main business district. Built between 2004 and 2009, after a project made by Adrian Smith at SOM (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill), is centerpiece of a large-scale, mixed-use development that includes 30,000 homes, 9 hotels, 3 hectares of parkland, at least 19 residential towers, the Dubai Mall, and the 12-hectare man-made Burj Khalifa Lake. It's expected to hold up to 35,000 people at any one time.

In terms of conception, Burj Khalifa uses the bundled tube design, invented by Fazlur Rahman Khan. According to the structural engineer, Bill Baker of SOM, the building's design incorporates cultural and historical elements particular to the region. Its exterior cladding consists of 142,000 m2 of reflective glazing, aluminium and textured stainless steel spandrel panels, with vertical tubular fins.

About the stamps
The stamps are part of a definitive series, about which I wrote here.

Burj Khalifa - Wikipedia
Souk Al Bahar - Official website

Sender: Bärbel Plinke (direct swap)
Sent from Dubai (Dubai / United Arab Emirates), on 12.01.2013
Photo: Nicole Lüttecke

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