Dubai, the superlative-hogging desert city seemingly dreamt up by the editors of Guinness World Records, has done it again. Joining the highest infinity pool, longest indoor zip line, largest shopping mall, most massive indoor theme park, both the tallest hotel and tallest man-made structure of any kind, et al., Dubai is now home to the world’s deepest swimming pool with a depth of 197 feet.
Swimming pool, however, is a bit of a misnomer as this particular pool, filled with 14 million liters of water or the equivalent of six Olympic-sized pools, wasn’t constructed for leisurely lap sessions or splashing around. Dubbed Deep Dive Dubai, it’s the world’s deepest pool for diving, a title previously held by the 148-foot-deep Deepspot located just outside of Warsaw. While divers at Deepspot can explore man-made caves and a simulated shipwreck, Deep Dive Dubai features the ruins of a “vast underwater city filled with adventure and wonder,” per the facility’s official website.
In addition to adventure and wonder, the sunken city is also filled with cameras—56 of them in total—that aren’t just there for the safety of divers but for landlubbing friends and family so that they can view dive excursions via large screens spread throughout the facility.
As further detailed by Time Out Dubai, the underwater ruins, which are brought alive with state-of-the-art sound and light systems, include an ersatz abandoned apartment building, waterlogged cars, a subaquatic library, and even an arcade with a working foosball table. According to Deep Dive Dubai, the graffiti-covered forsaken city is so massive that it can only be fully explored over the course of several dives. There are also a pair of air-filled “dry rooms” at roughly 20 and 69 feet that can be accessed during the descent. There is no living marine life.
Deep Dive Dubai’s above-the-surface features include a dive gear shop, gift shop, lower-level viewing areas, event and meeting spaces, and an advanced 12-person hyperbaric chamber. A restaurant will also open later this year at the pearl-evoking (an homage to the emirate’s ancient pearl-diving history) facility located in the Nad al Sheba district, which is best known for its titular racecourse.
“By design, Deep Dive Dubai offers something truly unique for everyone, and our team is committed to ensuring a memorable experience, with outstanding service, for everyone, every time,” said Deep Dive Dubai’s director, Jarrod Jablonski, in a statement. Born and based in Florida, Jablonski is a self-described “avid explorer, researcher, author, and instructor” and a figurehead in the diving community. He also holds several world records for underwater cave diving.
“For those seeking a unique experience, Deep Dive Dubai provides an exceptional, safe, and controlled environment to learn all about diving. For experienced members of the freedive and scuba dive communities, it’s a facility and experience like no other,” he added.
Deep Dive Dubai, which also doubles as the largest underwater film studio in the United Arab Emirates, is open to divers of all abilities including certified scuba divers and first-timers alike; a team of professional divers is on hand for scuba and freediving lessons and training.
As for the water itself, it’s circulated every six hours through a state-of-the-art purification system that involves siliceous volcanic rock, NASA-developed filter technology, and UV radiation. The pool’s temperature is kept at a comfortable 86° Fahrenheit.
The facility formally debuted last week in a ceremony attended by among others, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith. For now, Deep Dive Dubai is open by invitation only but the larger public can start booking dives later this month.