Dubai's Deira Clock Tower set for major upgrade: Little-known facts, rare photos of landmark that will wow you

The clock tower, which was built in 1963 and has been telling time for over six decades, has an amazing backstory


Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Published: Tue 16 May 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 16 May 2023, 10:03 PM

In just a little over three months, one of the oldest structures in Dubai will get a modern makeover. The iconic Deira Clock Tower roundabout will become greener, and feature multi-coloured lighting along with a swankier water fountain.

The Dubai Municipality has vowed to ensure that the new design will preserve the old structure “without affecting its historical or architectural significance”.

The clock tower, which was built in 1963 and has been telling time for over six decades, has an amazing backstory. Here is what you need to know.

A timeless gift

The clock at the centre of the concrete structure is said to have been gifted to the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, then Dubai Ruler, by the Ruler of Qatar.

The clock, imported from Manchester, United Kingdom, became an integral part of the tower.

Designing a masterpiece

According to local media reports, the tower was designed by Emirati engineer Zaki Al Hamsi, who played a vital role in shaping Dubai's early architectural landscape.

Al Hamsi's design concept revolved around openness, ensuring that the clock tower would not block the line of sight for motorists approaching from all directions.

The tower was initially constructed in 1963 and completed in two phases over 10 months.

Dated techniques were used to build the structure, with concrete being mixed in a large container as mixers were not available then. Around 30 workers stood in two rows and passed cement to the location where it was being poured.

First land passage

It was the first land passage between Deira and Bur Dubai, located at the intersection of Umm Hurair and Al Maktoum streets — one of the most important crossroads in Dubai. Before the construction of the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Road, it served as a meeting point for the main highways leading to Dubai.

The roundabout was then a vital link connecting the bustling metropolis to the major thoroughfares that led travellers and traders to their destinations. Back in the 60s and 70s, when there were no skyscrapers dotting the Dubai skyline, the clock tower was among the first things they would see.

Powered by the latest tech

The Deira Clock Tower is a beautiful mix of tradition with modern technology. Despite standing tall for 60 years, the timeless landmark boasts a sophisticated dial powered by state-of-the-art technology.

The internal machinery of the Deira Clock Tower boasts an impressive array of GPS sensors, ensuring unrivaled accuracy in timekeeping. Gone are the days of manual adjustments, as the sensors seamlessly synchronize the clock with the global positioning system, guaranteeing precision down to the very second.


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