Dubai’s Surreal Global Village


With replicas of iconic structures from around the world, the Global Village in Dubailand is a family destination with entertainment for adults and kids, cultural attractions and unique souvenirs, writes Demola Ojo

The pictures alone are worth the visit. It looks too good to be true, because it’s too good to be true. Global Village Dubailand does not exist; for half the year. Every year, it is constructed from scratch around November and dismantled the following April.

As an outdoor venue, the weather is unbearable in the intervening months. Summers in Dubai are extremely hot and humid, with an average high around 41 °C.

For the period when the Global Village materializes annually though, it is surreal, dreamlike, unbelievable.Especially at night, when it’s illuminated.It is a global village in size too, which is not a surprise considering it’s Dubai.

Big Ben and Eiffel Tower replicas at Global Village

Global Village is touted to be the world’s largest tourism, leisure and entertainment project. It is the region’s first cultural, entertainment, family and shopping destination with around six million visitors annually.

Just like Dubai, Global Village came from humble beginnings, starting out in the form of a number of kiosks in 1996 located on the Creek Side opposite to Dubai Municipality. It moved to another location before finally settling at its present location in Dubailand.

Now it’s a world famous family entertainment and cultural attraction that offers a variety of dining options from different cuisines, along with thrill rides and children rides.

A great place to visit with the family on a visit to Dubai, there are iconic images from around the world:replicas of the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, BurjKhalifa and other famousstructures. They do well as landmarksfor individuals of a group to congregate after splitting up. Global Village is so massive, it is easy to get lost. But meeting up at a landmark like the Taj Mahal for example – which is visible from a distance -helps a great deal.

Again because it is outdoors, Global Villlageopens at four in the evenings till midnight, or 1am on designated days.During this time, the activities include stunts (Jetskis and all), street performances, fireworks shows and cultural shows from around the world. A total of over 12,000 shows would have taken place by the time this season ends in April.

A lot of shopping also takes place, with some countries having up to 30 pavilions each. For the first time, there’s a Far East pavilion representing the countries of Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Also being represented for the first time is the Algeria pavilion, and the Eastern Europe pavilion representing Romania, Serbia, and the Ukraine.

Other participating pavilions include: UAE, Turkey, Jordan, Russia, The Americas, Pakistan, Italy, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Morocco, Thailand, Kuwait, Yemen, China, Spain, Afghanistan, Qatar, Bahrain, Germany, France, UK, Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt and Syria.

There’s an African stand with representation from different countries. Kenya is well-represented. Egypt is also prominent. No Nigerian stand though.

There are many amazing products available at Global Village. African black soap,shea butter and argan oil are just a few to consider. In addition, there are many authentic oriental home decoration products you can get from Tunisia Pavilion and the Egyptian Pavilion. There are also amazing honey varieties in the Yemen pavilion.
Other culturally rooted products include handicrafts and authentic products from different home countries. It’s a great place to buy souvenirs.

There are a few more attractions. The Haunted House is one of the most exciting features at Global Village. Basically you have to walk through a scary maze, covered with all sorts of gruesome objects that are meant to scare you.
There is also a Heritage Village with representations of what Bedouin life was like back in the day. You can see accurate details of how they camped, ate and lived, while also being able to see some of the different animals they kept.

Apart from 19 restaurants that represent international cuisines providing guests with unique culinary experiences, there are also 120 themed food kiosks offering street food experience covering a large variety of cuisines, and providing guests with authentic flavours and the ultimate street food experience.

In addition, there isan amusement park known as Fantasy Land with a variety of different rides for kids, families and adults. No wonder Global Village attracts an average of a million visitors every month.