Dubai’s Quranic Park on mission to build cross-cultural bridges

Between the Cave of Miracles and the Glass House is a split lake symbolising Moses’s parting of the Red Sea.
Sunday 05/05/2019
Exterior view of the Cave of Miracles. (Dubai Municipality)
Exterior view of the Cave of Miracles. (Dubai Municipality)

DUBAI - Dubai Municipality recently opened Quranic Park, Al Khawaneej, known as Dubai’s agricultural heartland 18km from the Dubai Airport.

The attractive design of the park entrance, enclosed by an unobtrusive low wall, reveals the major features inside, bestowing a welcoming atmosphere.

Dubai Municipality Director-General Dawood al-Hajri said the park, opened during the United Arab Emirates’ Year of Tolerance, is aimed “to promote the Islamic cultural and civilisational roles. The park contains cultural elements that bring closer the interaction between different cultures.”

“The Quranic Park will be an important attraction for citizens, residents and tourists alike,” Hajri said. “In addition to its Islamic character and innovative concept, what makes it a unique project in the world is the park’s modern design to international specifications.”

Faeqa Akram, Dubai Municipality architectural engineer, said the park, set on 64 hectares, consists of 12 gardens containing 45 types of plants mentioned in the Quran.

“It is a destination with a difference. The Quranic Park aims to provide bridges of intellectual and cultural communication with different cultures, religions and peoples and to showcase the achievements of Islam in the field of plant ecology,” Akram said.

Walking around the imaginatively laid out gardens is a relaxing and educational experience. Across the main entrance is the Cave of Miracles, depicting seven miracles mentioned in the Quran, including the story of Prophet Isa making a bird out of clay.

The display uses 3D map and hologram displays and interactive techniques along with sound effects and commentary in Arabic and English. More languages are to soon be added.

Nasif Kayed, founder of the Arab Culturalist, which is meant to connect East and West through unique and engaging cultural consultancy programmes, said: “The Quranic Park is a mixed-use recreational site that’s more than just a place to enjoy a day outdoors in Dubai. It’s a unique blend of greenery with gardens and orchards and a large greenhouse but what makes it so special is its purposeful design.

“The orchards are full of plants and trees mentioned in the Quran — from ginger and black seed to olives, figs and Sidr. With its fountain and water feature that represents the parting of the sea by Moses, to the cave attraction that features stories from the Quran, it’s a great way to learn more about the stories from the holy book of 1.8 billion people,” Kayed said.

He added: “However, it’s not just for Muslims. The stories of Isa, Ibrahim and Suliman and their miracles are shown on the walls inside the cave and many other shared stories from the holy books of Christians and Jews. It’s a way to explore the importance of the Quran in the daily life of Muslims and a way to unite people through similar stories and important figures.”

“This attraction has opened during the UAE’s Year of Tolerance in the hopes that it will attract visitors to enjoy this recreational space while promoting tolerance, peace and understanding of Islam and Muslims worldwide,” Kayed said.

Between the Cave of Miracles and the Glass House is a split lake symbolising Moses’s parting of the Red Sea.

The Glass House, which functions as a greenhouse, is at the highest point of the park and features a distinctive architectural design allowing visitors to see trees and plants that grow in certain temperatures and environmental conditions. The display includes descriptions of each plant and its scientific name, uses in food and medicine and the Quran verses that mentioned them.

Entry to the park is free of charge with fees limited to the Cave of Miracles and the Glass House at 5 UAE dirhams ($1.36) each.

Visitors can download the smart guide application, available in eight languages, to learn about the park’s facilities and plants in detail.

Dubai Municipality said Quranic Park attracted 10,000 visitors in the first week after it opened March 30, showing that it has added to Dubai’s reputation as a family-friendly destination.

The cost of the Quranic Park project has been estimated at around $45 million.

Dubai Municipality announced several investment opportunities in the emirate’s public parks and the allocation of different areas for restaurants and small shops in each park.

Inside the Cave of Miracles.    (Dubai Municipality)
Inside the Cave of Miracles. (Dubai Municipality)
A view of the Glass House.(Dubai Municipality)
A view of the Glass House.(Dubai Municipality)