Mystery in Dubai as mega-wheel stops turning

Two years ago, Dubai’s skyscraper-studded skyline welcomed a Ferris wheel touted as the world’s largest, but it mysteriously stopped turning just months after opening.

The much-touted Ain Dubai (Dubai Eye) was designed as a tourist-luring landmark in the United Arab Emirates’ glam-hub, which is home to the world’s tallest building.

But now it stands idle for undisclosed reasons, its extravagant light fixtures the only parts seemingly still working.

“Ain Dubai remains closed until further notice,” says an official website for the attraction.

“We continue to rigorously work on completing the enhancement works that have been taking place over the past months.”

The wheel was supposed to close for just a month but its reopening has since been postponed indefinitely.

Those behind the project inaugurated in 2021 have failed to reply to enquiries.

At restaurants, shops and cafes built around the attraction, employees remain sceptical that the structure, which took around six years to build, will ever turn again.

“Last year they promised us that in winter it will be open, even now, they are saying that in (the coming) winter it will be open again,” said one employee at a nearby shop.

“But we’re not sure… it will,” said the man who asked to remain anonymous due to fear of reprisal.

‘Too slow’

The Dubai Eye, built by a consortium of international companies, is located in Bluewaters — a man-made island designed as a retail, residential and entertainment hub.

For more than a year, the main entrance to the attraction has remained closed and ticket booths abandoned. Only a slow trickle of tourists visit the site, snapping pictures of LED lights mounted on its exterior.

“I asked a security guard here about it and he told me that it doesn’t work,” said Marwan Mohammad, an Egyptian tourist.

“I asked him for the reason but he did not give me an answer,” said the 33-year-old business consultant.

In a city filled with record-breaking landmarks, the Dubai Eye stands at a height of 250 metres (825 feet), each of its legs the length of 15 London buses, according to Dubai’s tourism department.

Nearly twice as tall as the London Eye, it is the largest of its kind in the world.

Its 48 passenger cabins, all of them air-conditioned, can carry around 1,750 passengers on a single ride.

Ticket prices range between 100 dirhams (about $27) and 4,700 dirhams (about $1,280), with luxury passes and private cabins on offer.

“The view was very beautiful from above,” said Mohammad who experienced the 38-minute ride before it closed, adding however, that it moved “too slowly”.

‘Heavier than island’

With no official explanation, rumours are rife on the Ferris wheel’s apparent technical issues, especially among employees at Bluewaters.

They all spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing repercussions from authorities or their employers.

“This is a man-made island. I heard that (the wheel) is heavier than the island itself, that’s why it is very dangerous,” said a waiter at a nearby restaurant, adding that it had been noisy during its few months of operation.

“Now… it’s only for show, just for the lighting and that’s it”.

The giant wheel, made of more steel than the Eiffel Tower, features prominently on the list of Dubai’s top tourist attractions.

They include the Dubai Frame monument and Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

Patrick Clawson, research director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said official silence on the Ferris wheel suggested a complicated problem.

UAE authorities are generally “quick to provide information if they” have a solution, he said.

But with the Dubai Eye, “whatever the problem, the authorities are not confident they have a solution,” he told AFP.

Do you love solving puzzles?

Join our community and solve the Puzzling fun with our range of crosswords

image of various puzzles image of background wavy graphic

AM Live

AM Live is NTV's morning current affairs show that sets the agenda for the day with insightful panels every weekday.

Business Redefined

Business Redefined is Kenya’s premier thought leadership platform for unpacking matters regarding economic and finance policy as well demystifying complex developments in the region’s capital markets.

Daily Politics

This is Daily Politics. Here we look into the ins and outs of everything Kenyan politics. We pull no punches and have no reason to sugarcoat anything that matters to Kenyans.


A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula

Full Episodes

A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula

Gumzo La Sato

Gumzo La Sato is a live social issues show that aims to create awareness about issues affecting the larger society. The discussions range from Parenting, Marital bliss and struggles, Oppression, violence, and all matters of the Heart.

Health Diary

Health Diary is a weekly show that highlights different types of diseases/conditions and seeks ways to prevent, treat/manage them. The show debunks this through real life stories and also feature specialists in different fields, to offer medical advice on the same.

Letter To My Younger Self

Letter To My Younger Self is a podcast where guests get to write a letter to their younger self, from which Maxine formulates questions to ask them during the hour-long show.

Mazao Talks

Mazao looks at agriculture and agribusiness

Nation Reports

Nation Reports is a weekly podcast offers an opportunity for listeners to interact with various reporters and journey with them as they unravel the biggest most emotive stories.

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost peeks through the story of Louis Otieno, the times, and everything in between.



Speaking of GEN Z

Speaking of Gen Z brings you entertaining but meaningful conversations about a generation that is trying to navigate through adulthood. Join hosts Michelle, Jackie and Esther as they unravel all things Gen Z.


Sport-On is a 30-minute sports magazine show on NTV and 3 hours on NATION FM. The show seeks to give the sports “fanatics” and “funatics” comprehensive and in-depth coverage of sports both locally and internationally.


Thamani is a business show which is dedicated to emerging issues regarding micro, small and medium size businesses.

The Trend

A two-hour-long live show that airs on Fridays. The show focuses on what is current in the entertainment industry, controversial and popular across all media platforms targeting those aged between 25 and 35 years.

The trend podcast

The trend podcast highlights and captures the best of banter from #TTTT segment that airs every Friday on NTV. It's the TTTT EXTRA

The Wicked Edition

The Wicked Edition with Dr. King’ori seeks to address serious issues through humour and relatable wit. It is a two-part half hour show filmed in front of a live audience


A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula


Twende is a travel show that highlights beautiful, unique, diverse locations, people, and cultures. The show offers fresh perspectives on familiar locations and memorable experiences in new ones.


This Saturday evening lifestyle show lets viewers share their stories and life experiences as openly & honestly for the purpose of shifting the culture of silence.

VIP Access

VIP ACCESS is Anyiko Owoko’s YouTube and podcast show on Music and Culture dedicated to promoting Africa’s most promising talent and creatives. This podcast grants you VIP access into timeless interviews while providing a platform for rising as well as established artists across the continent. Since launching in 2018, Anyiko has interviewed over 70 African music stars.


This weekly news show aims to have all sides of debate but not be constrained by it, listen to main voices in the contest but not allow them to hold the viewers hostage, entertain debate but allow push back with all due respect.

When death do us part

In this podcast, three widowers openly speak about the process of grief, how they found themselves exposed to the emotional turmoil of losing their wives, and how society still does not know how to deal with them.

Your World

Your World is a health, wellness and variety show. It provides a platform for audiences and experts to share their experiences on how to improve or manage health issues, across Kenya and the Africa region.