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Why would you ever want to build the World’s Tallest Gate?
Eva Fernandes wonders whether the UAE's Tallest Gate in the World will facilitate the passage of some very tall camels?
September 4, 2012 4:53 by Eva Fernandes
As I was reading the local press this morning I had to double-check whether I was on the website for The National or the Pan-Arabia Enquirer. Though it was the former, given the subject of the article I was reading, it isn’t difficult to see why I might have thought otherwise—and a lack of sleep has little to do with it.
The article I am referring to is titled: ‘World’s biggest gate to open in UAE for President.‘ You can probably see where I am going with this, but hear me out. Having lived in the UAE for as long as I have, I am rather well acquainted to the country’s penchant for grabbing titles for Guinness-Book records. With more than 50 titles from Guinness World Records, some of the more splendid achievements include the world’s largest chair (7.56 metres high and 3.2 metres wide) made in 1999, the largest trolley (10.5 meters high 4.46 metres wide) in 2004 and the biggest Abaya (8.37 metres long and 3.66 metres wide) sewn in 2006.
Considering all of this, I still couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I read of the latest record the UAE is attempting to nab. The World’s Biggest Gate. At 25 metres high, you may wonder what does this gate help connect? Answer: nothing. Or perhaps you’d ask what will this gate protect us from? Perhaps from a Trojan horse sent by the modern day equivalent of the Greeks? Nope. Or will this gate mark the entrance of a palace, temple or special place—so it has unity in its architectural aesthetics if not anything else. Nope, it is just a gate in the middle of nowhere. Well at the very least, this gate will facilitate the passage of some very tall people or camels? Considering the tallest person on earth 2.5 meters high, the gate will be more than 22 meters too high, even for even him—assuming he does decide to visit the Emirates.
The planned launch-date for this gate is the 41st National Day of the UAE: December 2 and it will be dedicated to President, Sheikh Khalifa. Hey, I appreciate the sentiment—that is all very well, I just can’t for the life of me fathom why anyone would ever need such a massive gate? Sure, you could argue most subjects in the Guinness World Book of Records aren’t in the book for practical reasons—still this gate ‘stands out’ as particularly ridiculous (see what I did there?).
According to Habib Al Sayegh, director general of the centre, the gate is supposed to highlight “UAE culture and national identity and showing appreciation to other world cultures”–of course that begs the question what type of culture is a gate of this nature highlighting?