Dubai: A scintillating array of fireworks set ablaze the skyline of Dubai, ringing in 2017 and sending millions of gathered onlookers in a tizzy of celebrations in and around Downtown Dubai.

Fireworks shot off from 160 locations across Dubai, including 23 places in and around Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa. Atlantis, and the Beach, Global Village and Festival City, mesmerising the crowd for eight minutes. Massive crowds also watched superb fireworks display at Sharjah Buhairah Corniche Waterfront and Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.

The onlookers joined the countdown in a synchronised voice sounding like a massive chorus, ushering in the spectacular display of fire, light and water.

Crowds of revellers began to turn up at Dubai Mall as early as 12 noon, with a steady flow of people continuing to make a beeline to Downtown throughout the afternoon and evening.

Trains and buses full of people continued to arrive at the Burj Khalifa Metro station all through the evening, while more than 160 buses were pressed into service to transport people back from Downtown.

Meanwhile, more than 4,000 security and police personnel manned different posts along the clearly marked routes around the festive location as well as on the footbridge leading to Dubai Mall.

Wide spaces between pedestrian movement from both directions ensured there were no stampedes or congestion.

Huge crowds of people could be seen walking all over Downtown Dubai, with just one destination in their sight — The Dubai Mall.

Thousands, including families with toddlers, gathered around Burj Park and Downtown Arena, armed with bags of food and drinks, to be part of one of the world’s biggest New Year parties.

Roads were closed gradually, beginning with Al Asayel Road that was closed at 4pm, while Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard was closed from all directions at 6pm.

“All the arrangements around Downtown went smoothly and the crowd was managed really well. We employed various measures to ensure smooth flow of people,” said Adel Al Marzouqi, a spokesperson for the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

Elsewhere in the city, thousands gathered at various locations to watch the spectacle from a distance.

Hundreds camped on the pavements along Shaikh Zayed Road, with their outdoor chairs and tables, enjoying the cool breeze and lively atmosphere.

Along the Dubai Canal, the site of a long, snaking line of fireworks that lit up the sky from midnight, onlookers had gathered well before sundown.

Dubai’s emergency services seemed to be taking few risks. A first-response ambulance was parked near the water’s edge, while a police boat could be seen patrolling the canal.

Jumeirah’s Public Beach was packed with revellers. Cars were squeezed into every space along the shoreline and around the villas nearby.