Derelict Dubai: 7 Sandy Abandoned Wonders of the UAE

Jazirat al-Hamra Ghost Town, UAE

Abandoned Dubai Jazirat

The last historic, traditional town still standing in the United Arab Emirates, Jazirat Al Hamra dates back to the 16th century and was abandoned about 40 years ago before the discovery of oil and gas in the region brought on wave after wave of modernization. Many of the buildings, including residences, a fortress and several mosques, have crumbled into piles of debris under the desert sun. Today, it’s considered an important archaeological site, and draws in visitors curious about Dubai’s past as well as local legends about it being haunted.

Queen Elizabeth 2 Cruise Ship

Abandoned Dubai Cruise Ship

The luxury transatlantic liner that served as a cruise ship from 1969 until its retirement in 2008 made its last voyage from New York to Dubai in 2009. Purchased by Istithmar, the private equity arm of Dubai World, it was docked at Port Rashid with the intention of converting it into a 500-room floating hotel at the Palm Jumeirah offshore resort. But of course, the financial crisis hit this project, too, so it’s still just sitting there, five years later. Rumor has it that a Chinese company bought it for scrap, but nothing has been confirmed, and the ship hasn’t moved.

Dubai as an Apocalyptic Wasteland

Abandoned Dubai Apocalyptic

Abandoned Dubai Apocalyptic 2

Considering Dubai’s state of constant construction, nothing looks amiss at first glance in these photos – they could simply be snapshots of sites still in progress, or abandoned in a half-finished state. But look closer and you’ll see that, aside from the lack of people and cars, there’s something decidedly strange going on here: zebras, kangaroos, antelope and other animals are perched among the ruins. The images were created by British photographer Richard Allenby-Pratt as a vision of post-apocalyptic Dubai being swallowed up by the sand and taken over by wildlife. And if you’re thinking that most of these animals are definitely not native to the area, you’re absolutely correct – but given that many wealthy people in Dubai have exotic creatures as pets, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that they would escape and reproduce if humans weren’t around to keep them caged.