Contemporary Dubai is comprised of three major districts, running along the Arabian Gulf waterfront: the Old City, built along Dubai Creek which flows into the Arabian Gulf at Port Rashid; the modern downtown Dubai with its skyscrapers and shopping malls; and the Marina area which includes the man-made Palm Island (in the shape of palm fronds with an outer circular rim) and a boulevard surrounded by skyscrapers.
The Old City is rapidly becoming gentrified with skyscraper after skyscraper rising along Dubai Creek. There are still reminders of Dubai’s past as a major trading city, including the Gold Souk, the Spice Souk and the Old Souk – all near each other along the mouth of Dubai Creek. Many of the new apartment buildings are of contemporary design.
The most famous of Dubai’s skyscrapers is the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building with over 160 floors, rising 2,716.5 feet. It has the highest occupied floor of any building in the world and the highest observation deck in the world. The building’s triple-lobed base design is typical of the patterning of Islamic architecture and is based on a flower native to Dubai.