Even though the economy is grim, big malls are opening around the world. We recently mentioned the opening of the Westfield Mall in London and now the Dubai Mall has officially opened boasting the largest number of retailers in the world.

As we mentioned earlier this year, the mall boasts a gold souk, a 10-million litre (2.2 million gallon) aquarium and an Olympic-size ice rink in addition to rows and rows of stores.

The mall is situated at the foot of Burj Dubai (Dubai Tower), already the tallest building on earth at around 700 meters (2,300 feet) and still under construction.
The mall is scheduled to house branches of some of the world’s best known retail chains, such as Marks and Spencer, Galeries Lafayette and even Bloomingdales, which has never before had stores outside the United States.

However, the inauguration has been repeatedly delayed. The centre was initially supposed to open by the end of 2006, but the date was postponed to August 2008, then to October 30 and finally to November 4.

Project owner Emaar Malls is optimistic about the viability of the shopping centre, which is part of a 20-billion-dollar project. But some economists have questioned whether the developers of Dubai Mall can meet their target of 30 million visitors in the first year amid the global economic gloom.

Check out the pictures below for some scenes from opening day including the amazing aquarium.

Pictures credit : Luxist