14 of the UAE's most intriguing roundabouts, from sharks to eagles

© Chris Whiteoak A roundabout in Deira, Dubai. Photo: Chris Whiteoak / The National

Sharks in Fujairah, oysters in Ras Al Khaimah and a clock tower in Dubai — welcome to the weird and wonderful world of UAE roundabouts.

These photographs from The National’s Chris Whiteoak were shot while on assignment across the country over the past few years and show some of the many roundabouts that enrich our travels on the country’s roads.

Like all structures in the UAE, they have a story to tell. The sailfish that soars from an Umm Al Quwain roundabout is a nod to the emirate’s maritime tradition, a hurricane lamp in Dibba shows how the humble paraffin lamp gave light and solace in a time before electricity, while Dubai’s Clock Tower signalled the city’s ambitions when it was built in the 1960s.

We see them as an oasis on a sea of asphalt

Kevin Beresford

Modern roundabouts first appeared in the US and France, but they could be confusing. British traffic engineers, including Frank Blackmore, simplified them in the 1960s. Mandatory “give way” rules were introduced and the roundabout as we know it today was born.

They then spread across the world and in Dubai, roundabouts were part of the first town plan devised in 1960 by the British architect John Harris. “There were no designed road networks before 1960,” said Todd Reisz, author of Showpiece City: How Architecture Made Dubai. “That year brought its first asphalt road and the first formal roundabout was May, 1960.”

A few years later, Dubai was home to as many as eight roundabouts and they were incorporated into new roads created by Halcrow, the engineering company undertaking the development work that was transforming the emirate.

For years the roundabouts remain unadorned — circular empty sandy knolls without even grass on them — but Dubai Municipality had larger plans to green the city and create fountains as a way of signifying beauty, progress and advancement.

“The fish roundabout in Deira was the first to be landscaped,” said Mr Reisz. “That was there since the 1960s. It was located near Al Maktoum Hospital, which was a highlighted development and where the network of older roads was stitched together with the new roads of the 1960s plan. It was seen as a crucial roundabout.”

© Provided by The National A roundabout in Dibba with sharks on it. Chris Whiteoak / The National

When the sculptures were added is harder to quantify but, according to Mr Reisz, the fish sculpture in Deira was up no later than 1972.

As the country developed in the years after unification, new roads were built and with them came the distinctive roundabouts we know today. From the equine-inspired roundabouts of Al Ain to Ras Al Khaimah’s oysters which champion its pearl-diving heritage, the fame of the UAE’s roundabouts has spread far and wide.

Kevin Beresford, president of the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society, published a calendar, in 2003, about the quirky world of the UK’s roundabouts that went viral and sold tens of thousands of copies worldwide. He has since published another on international roundabouts and even car parks.

“It went like a firework,” said Mr Beresford, about the original calendar. “This got me interested in roundabouts as pieces of architecture. We have long been interested in the UAE as the roundabouts there quite spectacular. We found the UAE roundabouts such as the sharks [in Fujairah] one fascinating and really quirky.”

© Provided by The National The sailfish roundabout in Umm Al Quwain. Chris Whiteoak / The National

What makes a good roundabout? First, according to Mr Beresford, it has to work properly. But then the centre circles are a blank canvas to reflect a local industry, artists or a region’s heritage and culture.

“We see them as an oasis on a sea of asphalt,” said Mr Beresford, who is the self-styled “lord of the rings”.

“There are three Spitfires on a roundabout in Birmingham to reflect how they were built there. One can have trains, boats or planes — you name it.”

Some renowned UAE roundabouts have disappeared over the years: victims of development and the emergence of flyovers. The Falcon Roundabout, close to Mina Rashid in Dubai, has long departed, while the Ramada roundabout — which took its name from the hotel, demolished in 2017 — has also gone. But many others endure.

“We would like to see these old roundabouts preserved,” said Mr Beresford. “The older ones seem even better than the new ones and they capture the essence of the area. They should be preserved and definitely not replaced by lights.”

Mr Beresford’s organisation chooses a roundabout of the year. Last year one in the Australian capital, Canberra, took the honours. Could the UAE be a contender?

“We really want to pick one in the Middle East,” said Mr Beresford. “We have been discussing this for some years. The Middle East roundabouts captured the attention of our committee. They are beautiful with clever designs.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Options traders now betting on oil prices hitting US$200 — report

© Provided by The Edge KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 20): Some speculative traders are betting on the options market that oil could exceed US$100 (about RM415.20) a barrel by year end ... Read more »

The Galaxy A52s 5G And It's Flagship Killer Features [Impressions]

Subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest stories and updates. With flagship phones flaunting a phone maker’s best and latest features, it is tough to get excited about a mid-range phone ... Read more »

Gutsy Pep Guardiola transfer decision reaffirmed as Man City thrash Club Brugge

The debate continues to rage over whether Manchester City should have signed a striker after their dominant win over Club Brugge. City struck five as they got Champions League campaign ... Read more »

Vishva Hindu Parishad to hold nationwide protest against attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh

© Provided by Zee News New Delhi: The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) will hold a nationwide protest on Wednesday against growing attacks on Hindus and vandalisation of temples and Durga ... Read more »

How Afghanistan's neighbours plan to deal with it — India to figure out at Moscow talks today

© Provided by The Print New Delhi: India will join nine countries and the Taliban in Moscow Wednesday to figure out the way forward for Afghanistan, especially human rights and ... Read more »

How Rajasthan man ran ‘sextortion' racket, fleeced Rs 30 lakh from 300-plus victims

© Provided by The Print New Delhi: A 24-year-old man from Rajasthan ran a ‘sextortion’ racket for a period of over one and a half years, extorting over Rs 30 ... Read more »

DUET Answer Key 2021 released, raise objections till October 21

National Testing Agency, NTA has released DUET Answer Key 2021 on October 19, 2021 for postgraduate papers. The provisional answer key is available on the official site of NTA on ... Read more »

Oil drops on China intervention to ease coal crunch

By Sonali Paul © Reuters/Max Rossi FILE PHOTO: A petrol station attendant prepares to refuel a car in Rome MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Oil prices turned down after the Chinese government ... Read more »

Hawaii prepares to welcome tourists again as Covid-19 cases fall

Hawaii will soon welcome back tourists following a significant decline in Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions. Governor David Ige said holidayers and business travellers are welcome to return to the ... Read more »

Britischer Youtube-Star berichtet von aussergewöhnlichem Berner Schützenverein

Diashow ein Tom Scott berichtet auf seinem Youtube-Channel über einen Schweizer Schützenverein. Und zwar über die Schützengesellschaft Erlenbach-Wimmis. Das besondere an dessen Anlage: Man schiesst über eine Hauptstrasse. «Ich denke, ... Read more »

CoD: Mobile season 9 update: APK and OBB download links for Android

The content update for Call of Duty: Mobile’s Halloween-themed season nine, called Nightmare, has arrived. It has introduced a lot of new features to the game. © Provided by Dot ... Read more »

Best gin advent calendars for Christmas 2021

(Best gin advent calendars 2021) Christmas is the only time of year when mainstream society not only green lights drinking every day, but competes to see who does it better. ... Read more »

Newsom expands California drought emergency statewide

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued a proclamation on Tuesday evening expanding California’s drought emergency to include the entire state, following the second driest year ever recorded. © The Hill Newsom ... Read more »

Pixel 6 first look: Google's Tensor chip, $599 price, new cameras and more

The new Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro showcase one of the biggest year-to-year phone upgrades I’ve seen in a long time. In the lead-up to Google’s fall Pixel event ... Read more »

TiMi Studio says players might not be able to get all of the prizes during Pokémon UNITE's Halloween Festival

Pokémon UNITE is about to launch its first seasonal event with the Halloween Festival, which will run from Oct. 20 to Nov. 7. © Provided by Dot Esports This event ... Read more »

Romania's COVID-19 deaths hit record as intensive care beds run out

COVID-19 pandemic in Romania BUCHAREST (Reuters) -Romania reported record numbers of daily coronavirus deaths and infections on Tuesday, as a hospital system stretched to breaking point by the EU's second-lowest ... Read more »

Warrant issued for former BGSU student charged in hazing death

Oct. 19—BOWLING GREEN — An arrest warrant has been issued for one of the men charged in a Bowling Green State University student's hazing death that accuses him of violating ... Read more »

Woman accused of shooting Longmont postal carrier charged with first-degree murder

Oct. 19—The woman accused of shooting and killing a postal carrier in Longmont has been formally charged with first-degree murder. Devan Rebecca Schreiner, 26, was charged Tuesday in Boulder District ... Read more »

Poland comes under fire over challenge to primacy of EU law

1 / 5Poland comes under fire over challenge to primacy of EU lawPolish PM and EU chief executive in debate on Poland’s challenge to supremacy of EU laws, in Strasbourg ... Read more »

Reman anggota tentera bunuh lelaki disambung

© Provided by Sinar Harian TAIPING – Anggota tentera yang menjadi suspek utama kes bunuh seorang lelaki apabila mayatnya ditemui di kawasan semak di Bukit Sumpitan dekat Selama pada minggu ... Read more »

Bekalan air di Sepang, Kuala Langat pulih

© Provided by Sinar Harian SHAH ALAM – Bekalan air di 145 kawasan di wilayah Sepang dan 11 kawasan di wilayah Kuala Langat kembali pulih pada Rabu selepas insiden paip ... Read more »

Majoriti pemimpin Umno Melaka tolak langkah solo Zahid

© Provided by MalaysiaNow Presiden Umno Ahmad Zahid Hamidi berdepan kesukaran meyakinkan pemimpin parti itu di Melaka untuk bergerak bersendirian dalam pilihan raya negeri (PRN) yang akan diadakan bulan depan, ... Read more »

Kemba Walker knows what playing at Garden means: ‘dream come true'

So often, they feel compelled to say what they say, as if they understand that there’s a required reverence for walking through the doors at Madison Square Garden, a necessary ... Read more »

JUST IN: Filipino American Wesley So wins back-to-back US Chess Championship

© Provided by Good News Pilipinas Wesley So fights to keep his title in the final round of the US Chess Championship. Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart ... Read more »

DOT advises public to be responsible tourists amid easing of COVID-19 restrictions

© Danny Pata Visitors check out the man-made dolomite beach at the Baywalk of Manila Bay on Saturday, October 16, 2021 under the watchful eyes of police to ensure minimum ... Read more »

Deaths among the double vaccinated: what is behind the Australian statistics?

Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAP On Tuesday, there were 356 Covid-19 patients being treated in intensive care wards throughout Australia. Of those, 25 were fully vaccinated. While the data points to the ... Read more »

Poland will pay price for defying EU law: EU chief

Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled last week that parts of EU law are incompatible with the Polish constitution, undermining the legal pillar on which the union stands and raising fears that ... Read more »

Scott Disick's ex Amelia Hamlin shows appreciation for Kourtney & Travis' engagement with THIS gesture

© Provided by Pinkvilla Amelia Hamlin was all about love and appreciation when it came to Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker’s engagement. The model reportedly showed her support for Kourtney ... Read more »

I made Ina Garten's easy cinnamon-sugar doughnuts, and I didn't need a fryer or any special ingredients

© Paige Bennett; Noam Galai/WireImage I made Ina Garten’s easy cinnamon-sugar doughnuts, and I didn’t need a fryer or any special ingredients I made Ina Garten’s easy no-fry cinnamon doughnuts ... Read more »

Meet the king of Halloween, who spends six weeks creating his macabre displays

There’s a good reason Ammon Smith’s neighbors are shy about decorating their homes for Halloween: a sparse jack-o’-lantern is spotted here, a modest faux spiderweb dangling from a tree there. ... Read more »

Industry and experts call for mandated national approach to green buildings and homes

© Provided by ABC Business A national energy efficiency ratings scheme is being expanded to cover existing homes, but it will be voluntary. (Unsplash: ulleo: Public Domain) Jason York says ... Read more »

The seven steps Australia needs to take to boost its economy

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Australia can’t assume its 28 years of uninterrupted economic expansion will continue forever and must act now to security its, experts warn. Deloitte warns ... Read more »

Christian Aid Ministries faced close calls and threats before Haiti abduction

The danger was visible all around them, long before a group of Christian Aid Ministries missionaries and children were abducted from the road in Haiti. © CNN In one 2019 ... Read more »

Stars' Pavelski, Radulov edge Penguins 2-1 in shootout

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Dallas Stars are built to win tight games, and they’re certainly wasting little time getting comfortable with them. © Provided by The Canadian Press Joe Pavelski ... Read more »

Haiti kidnapping: '400 Mawozo' gang wants $17 million ransom for American and Canadian missionaries

The gang that kidnapped a group of 17 American and Canadian missionaries in Haiti has asked for $1 million each for their release, a top Haitian official told CNN Tuesday. ... Read more »

Man Alleges NYPD Officers Shoved Him Out of Subway After He Asked Them To Wear Masks

A New York City man alleges he was shoved off of a subway platform by a pair of New York Police Department (NYPD) officers Tuesday after he asked them to ... Read more »

Rudy Giuliani Accuses Terry McAuliffe of 'Pay For Play Scheme' in Abe Lincoln Filter Video

Ex-Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, in a video altered to make him appear as former President Abraham Lincoln, has accused Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe of orchestrating a “pay for ... Read more »

PH risiko rosakkan imej jika calon 4 bekas ADUN dalam PRN

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Tindakan itu tidak memberi sebarang manfaat kepada PH sebaliknya hanya memakan diri selepas ini, menurut penganalisis politik. (Gambar Bernama) PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan (PH) ... Read more »

Apple AirPods 3 mirip versi Pro tetapi masih tiada satu fungsi penting

Apple Airpods adalah fon telinga TWS paling banyak dijual di dunia. Apple kini telah melancarkan generasi ketiga AirPods, dengan rupa serba baharu yang lebih mirip dengan AirPods Pro, tanpa bud ... Read more »

Animal shelter hounded by woes and has nowhere to go

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today The road, which is the only access to the shelter, has been blocked by contractors laying sewer pipes. (Badirol Hisham pic) ALOR SETAR: There ... Read more »