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Undoubtedly, the most mind-boggling, strange, and other-worldly architecture on the planet can be seen in one place Dubai. When you arrive in the City of Gold, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped in to a futuristic world on a distant planet of hyper-intelligent beings. That, or someone was really bored with the same-old style, and decided to tip the scales of sanity completely off the grid. Want to see what we mean? Take a look at the coolest and most unusual buildings in Dubai.

Burj Al Arab Hotel

The Burj Al Arab Hotel was the tallest hotel in the world until the Rose Tower, also in Dubai, took the crown. The Burj Al Arab is designed to look like a billowing sail from a boat yet from some angles looks more like a ship’s hull protruding upward as though sinking into an unseen ocean. It has a sleek, subtle beauty as it stands as a solitary structure on a man-made island, some 900 feet from the Jumeirah beach. The sail-shaped hotel has become an iconic symbol of Dubai, and is definitely one of the Emirate’s most unusual buildings.

The Dubai Mall

You’re probably thinking that this place doesn’t do anything on a small scale, and Dubai Mall is no exception. It’s the largest shopping and entertainment complex in the world with 1,200 shops, two department stores, and more than 160 food establishments. The mall includes its own lake, a huge aquarium with sharks, a 150-game amusement park, and an indoor ski resort (obviously). The complex, inside and out, is visually stunning. Don your walking shoes because navigating this mall requires sensible footwear.

The Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, and not by a little. The Sears Tower in Chicago looks like a toddler next to this skyscraper. The Burj Khalifa reaches an astounding 2,716.5 feet and has more than 160 storeys. It also holds the record for the highest observation deck, and the elevator has the longest travel distance in the world. One of Dubai’s most unusual buildings, it’s so tall that – if you visit the observation deck on a cloudy day – you’ll be above the clouds, and you’ll spot the tops of other buildings poking through. Finally, Jack won’t need that beanstalk after all.

The Dubai Towers

Though it hasn’t been built yet, it’s worth mentioning the Dubai Towers. If you check out the concept images of it online, you’ll see it’s like four monstrous glistening tentacles reaching upwards toward the blue sky. The towers are meant to represent the movement of candlelight, but hey, tentacles are like candlelight, right? The towers will range from 57 stories to 94, but their actual height is not known. It is estimated the tallest one will be 1,310 feet tall. Calamari, anyone?

You can bet future buildings will be stranger and more mind-blowing than the ones already built. It seems the architects are continually trying to outdo each other with seemingly impossible designs. There’s even a space station in the works. It’ll fit right in.

Want to see these unusual buildings in real life? Find cheap flights to Dubai.

While you’re here, check out these 5 incredible hotels in Dubai.