TEMPO.CO, Dubai - A new park that uses gardens and landscaping to tell stories from Islam's sacred text has opened in Dubai, offering locals and tourists a day out with a religious twist.
Quranic Park attracted some 100,000 people in its first week, officials say, feeding demand for religious attractions in the United Arab Emirates where Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a top destination for visitors.
The educational park, which seeks to attract Muslims and non-Muslims alike, features 12 gardens, a "Cave of Miracles," and a split lake symbolizing Moses parting the Red Sea.
Trees bearing grapes, figs, pomegranates and olives dot the park's 64 hectares, highlighting the medical and scientific uses of plants mentioned in the Quran and sunnah, the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad.
"My children had learned about these plants, and they had some questions about the Quran and the miracles," said Emirati visitor Omar al-Kaabi.
"Praise God we got some answers," he said, standing inside the greenhouse that holds some of the plants.
Visitors to the cave can learn about the story of Jesus making a bird from clay and six other prophetic miracles mentioned in the Quran, using 3D map and hologram displays.
"It's a nice idea, right at the heart of our Islamic religion," said Anan al-Hourani, another visitor who brought his daughters to the park on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
"At the same time, it's recreational, with the lovely gardens, greenery and trees," he said.