Taj Mahal replica to be built in Dubai

The original Taj Mahal in the Indian city of Agra The iconic Taj Mahal is a Unesco World Heritage site and was built in the 17th Century

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A $1bn (£621m) project to build a replica of the Taj Mahal has been unveiled in the Gulf emirate of Dubai.

The Taj Arabia complex would be much bigger than the original monument to love and include a 300-room hotel, shops and commercial buildings, developer Arun Mehra said.

It would be ready by 2014 and be known as the "New City of Love", he said.

The complex will also house other structures such as the Eiffel Tower, Pyramids and the Great Wall of China.

The Taj Mahal, which is situated in the northern Indian town of Agra, is a Unesco World Heritage site.

It was completed more than 350 years ago by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a shrine for his wife Mumtaz and took more than 20 years to build.

The white marble mausoleum, situated on the banks of the river Yamuna, is sometimes known as a teardrop on the cheek of time.

The Taj Arabia complex will be built around the Taj Mahal which is a "symbol of love and will include various facilities to encapsulate the beauty of life, love and romance mixed with the long established Mughal architecture", Mr Mehra, who is the chairman of Link Global Group, told the Press Trust of India.

The developers say they hope that the Taj Arabia will become a new wedding destination and attract couples to it.

An earlier plan to build the complex was shelved when the company was hit by the global economic downturn.

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