Dubai is known for its excess. Everything is shiny and new; an oasis of lavishness planted in the shifting sands of an endless desert. But years ago, they did something so lavish it made everything else–all the gold-plated Lamborghinis, the Burg Khalifa, and the glittering fountains–pale in comparison. Called The World, it’s a massive man-made archipelago in the shape of the countries of earth, so large it can be seen from space. Now, though, it’s reportedly sinking.
Developers of The World had grand ambitions. When they were first constructed, they were to be full of hotels and luxury homes, sold exclusively to the super rich. Accessible only by boat (read: mega-yacht), the islands of The World were sold off to the highest bidders. Owners could then claim they owned Ireland, or Britain, or whatever chunk of The World they purchased.