About UAE and Dubai
The United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to 'The Emirates,' consists of seven Emirates - Abu Dhabi (the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah,and Umm al-Quwain.
The UAE is located southeast of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.
The UAE's political system, based on its 1971 Constitution, is composed of several intricately connected governing bodies. Each Emirate is governed by a hereditary emir, (Prince) with a single national president. As a federation of seven monarchies, whose rulers retain absolute power within their emirates, but with a UAE president, it is neither a constitutional monarchy nor a republic.
From the very early days of fishing and pearl diving, the UAE has now emerged as an established global business hub and holiday destination. When oil was discovered in the early 1960's, the UAE economy was built on the oil industry and today, its' oil reserves are ranked as the world's sixth-largest. Much revenue now is taken from tourism, real estate and business finance.
Abu Dhabi is known as the cultural heart of the UAE. The emirates culture is strongly embedded within the Islamic traditions of Arabia, with many mosques scattered around the city amongst the modern architecture. Abu Dhabi consists of many nationalities and cultures, which are all welcomed as long as they do not jeopardise the Islamic religion. Although the city has changed dramatically in the last 40 years by foreign influences, the people of Abu Dhabi still uphold old traditions and continue to promote their cultures to those unaware of their prosperous heritage.
Central Location: Modern Dubai is the product of the past 20 years of intensive development. Its central location makes it a perfect place for companies to set up distributorships to establish the shortest routes to most of Asia and other continents. Additionally, its location on the Persian Gulf makes it an easy place for traders to converge at the numerous Dubai ports.
It is located on the shore of the Persian Gulf region of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It shares borders with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Oman. The first 2 are Emirates of the UAE while Oman is an independent country.
Dubai is just around sea level (16m / 52 ft. above) and covers an area of just over 4,000 square kilometers or one thousand five hundred square miles (second biggest in the UAE). Its specific grid coordinate location is 25.2697° N 55.3095° E and it falls in the Arabian Desert area.
Dubai enjoys, without a doubt, one of the best locations on the planet. Situated halfway between Europe and Asia, few destinations take more than 8 hours direct flying time to or from Dubai. Just overnight from London, four hours from Nairobi, three hours from Mumbai, 8 hours from Hong Kong and a direct flight from the United States or Australia, Dubai is definitely a destination of choice for vacationing, living and business.
Business or Pleasure, Dubai has it all:
Dubai is a unique destination that is both a dynamic business centre and a tourist paradise. From the timeless tranquility of the desert to the lively bustle of the souk, Dubai offers a kaleidoscope of attractions for visitors. The Emirate embraces a wide variety of scenery in a very small area. In a single day, the tourist can experience everything from rugged mountains and awe-inspiring sand dunes to sandy beaches and lush green parks, from dusty villages to luxurious residential districts and from ancient houses with wind towers to ultra-modern shopping malls. You can snow-skiing in the morning and go on a desert safari in the afternoon, a myriad of activities cater to the adventurer’s dream. The finest of the world’s hotels, gourmet cuisine and outstanding standards of service combined with traditional Arabian hospitality make Dubai a novel and satisfying experience for today’s demanding holidaymaker.
Dubai offers a range of hotels to suit every taste, whim and budget! From the glitzy, opulent, very affordable and of course the most expensive ‘only seven star hotel in the world’ – The Burj Al Arab. Then there are the resorts in the desert where tourists can experience unmatched peace and tranquility. Whatever the choice, it will definitely be an unforgettable stay as a tourist or business traveler.
Dubai is ranked the second world’s most popular destination for shopping after the United States and ahead of popular shopping destinations like Singapore, France, UK, and Hong Kong among others. With a long history as a trading hub, today Dubai is synonymous with shopping. From souk to shopping mall, Dubai has it all - duty free, gold, electronics, textiles, cars - and is a true shopper’s paradise. Perfect for the shop-o-holics and for retail therapy!
An Events Destination:
Dubai has established itself as a major destination for an eclectic array of local and international events and earned its reputation as the sporting capital of the Middle East. Throughout the year, Dubai hosts a range of popular annual sporting activities, dazzling entertainment attractions, as well as conferences and exhibitions.
Dubai continues to be the premier holiday destination of choice for countless travelers and travel operators throughout the world. Recognised as the leading centre for business across the region, the hub for international finance together with outstanding opportunities for investment in the real estate sector - nothing is overlooked. The continuing development is solidly supported by the service and business infrastructure demanded by a ‘Metropolis for the Millennium’.
Visitors will be delighted beyond their expectations. Dubai is a holiday paradise - white beaches on which to relax and enjoy the sun, the best hotels in the world and an absolute shopper’s delight offering a unique and richly exotic experience that is both modern and traditional. As one of the safest and most relaxed environments on earth - Dubai is truly distinctive.
Focused on the Pursuit of Excellence:
Inspired by it's Ruler, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Persuit of Excellence is an obsession with the residents of Dubai. As it thrives, Dubai continuously strives to set new standards of excellence. As the Emirate evolves and invites the most discerning of travelers to enjoy the very best holiday and travel destination in the world, it is determined that the unique Dubai experience can be enjoyed by each and everyone….and we promise you, it will not disappoint!
Dubai History: From Fishing Village to Modern Tourist Centre
Dubai was established in the late 18th century by the House of Al-Falasi of Bani Yas tribe, as a dependence of Abu Dhabi. In that period, Dubai was a rather small fishing village rather than a large and independent town. In 1833 under the Al Maktoum dynasty of the Bani Yas tribe, Dubai separated from Abu Dhabi’s authorities into an independent Emirate. In 1892, Dubai came under protection of the United Kingdom by signing the “Exclusive Agreement”.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Dubai’s main economic activity was in pearling, but Dubai’s closeness to India and other parts of Asia soon made this town an important seaport and trade centre. With trade came foreigners, and many of them permanently settled in Dubai. By the 1930s, ¼ of Dubai’s residents came from other countries, mainly from Persia, India and England.
Dubai discovered oil in the1960s and from that period to the 1990s Dubai’s main profits came from oil’s production and export. With new industry came new labor forces, first from Pakistan and India, then the refugees from Lebanon’s civil war.
In 1971, Great Britain ended its protectorate in Persian Gulf. Dubai, together with six other Emirates, formed the United Arab Emirates.
Oil industry stayed the main economic activity in the 1980s, but in this period, Dubai slightly changed its economical direction by establishing the Jebel Ali Free Zone in 1979.
The Persian Gulf War in 1990s and its consequences on Dubai’s economy and on the world oil prices encouraged Dubai to focus more on free trade by establishing new clusters of free zones and to develop other brunches such as tourism, construction and real estate.
The successful early development was due in large part to the foresight of Dubai’s rulers. During the 20th century the city has benefited from the stabilizing influence of two exceptionally long rules: that of H.H. Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum from 1912 to 1958, followed by that of his son, H.H. Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. For many years prior to his father’s death in 1958 Sheikh Rashid had played a leading role in directing the state.
The major part of the Dubai Emirate consists of rolling sand dunes lapping the foothills of the arid Hajar Mountains in the east. Until a decade or two ago, the dunes were inhabited by nomadic Bedouin roaming with their flocks and herds. Today the nomads have all settled, in villages in the few fertile oases or valleys, or else in the city.
RULER OF DUBAI
HIS HIGHNESS Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, (born 1949), is the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and the Ruler of Dubai..
SOME GENERAL FACTS AND FIGURES
WEATHER : The UAE has sunshine mostly all year round and what little rainfall they do have usually occurs between December and April. It never rains for the whole day, just sporadic bursts and these are very rare. It can be very hot and humid but you will find most buildings have air conditioning for your comfort.
Population of the UAE has grown exponentially from 5.6 million in 2007 to 8.26 million by mid-2010. This is an increase of 64.5% in just 3 years.
Arabic is the official language.
Islam is the official religion. The Arabic term 'Islam' literally means- submission to the will of Allah (God.) A person who follows Islam is called a Muslim.
The Holy Book of Islam is called The Holy Qur'an. It is used to guide people through their lives preparing themselves for 'Judgement Day.'
Muslims believe that Allah will send them to the Garden of Paradise (Jannat) or Hell (Jahanam) depending on how they have lived their lives.
The currency is the Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
The UAE has one of the world's highest standards of living and the average life expectancy is 75 years.
Culture and Living
Dubai has a lively nightlife. Hotel bars range from sophisticated cocktail lounges to typically informal British and Irish pubs and Western-style lounges. Most of them serve food and many feature pianists, guitarists, duos and bands nightly. After-dinner revellers can enjoy the latest sounds in a number of hotel nightclubs, each with its own ambience.
Heritage & Museums
Although the early history of Dubai is not very well documented, archaeological discoveries suggest that, as long as 4000 years ago small fishing communities lived along the coast of the Arabian Gulf on the site of modern Dubai. In recent years, archaeologists have unearthed hundreds of artefacts that point to civilised settlements dating back to the third millennium B.C. Dubai’s main archaeological sites are in Al Sufoh and Jumeirah. These historic findings have been carefully preserved and the artefacts are now permanently housed in the archaeological section of Dubai Museum. Dotted around Dubai are a number of historic buildings and sites that offer a glimpse of a bygone era such as the Al Fahidi Fort, Sheikh Saeed’s House, and the Bastakiya.
UAE National Dress - Female
Abaya The long flowing black gown worn by the UAE National Females is known as the Abaya. This is worn for their modesty, covering the whole body except for feet, face and hands. They cost between 100 to 3,000 Dirhams. Ladies will wear western dress, local dress or even indian type clothes, under their abayas.
Burqa The Burqa actually represents two items: one, the covering of the head except for a slit for the eyes; the other item is the metallic coloured object used to cover part of the face, and these days is only used by the older generation - this is specific to the UAE.
Gishwa The Gishwa is the thin black veil that covers the face of the female. It is just dark enough for you not to be able to make out who is underneath, and just light enough for the female to see through. This makes it easier for the woman to travel around in freedom.
UAE National Dress - Male
Kandura , or dishdash, as it is referred to by the expats, is the long white cloak that male UAE Nationals wear. The men may change their Kandura a number of times in the day to go to different events (work, prayers, dinner etc) and so the men's clothes remain looking spick and span. A UAE National might have 50 or so Kandura's in his closet, and have up to 20 of those with the dry cleaners at any one time.
Guthra The guthra is the headscarf sported by the males. The most popular colours are the plain white, or the red and white checks. These checks are traditional to the Beduin, since the material used was tougher than the other and useful for protection against the elements in the desert. Nowadays, colours come in all types to match with the latest fashion. Also, the way that guthra is worn can define who someone is.
Egal The Egal is the black rope that fixes the headscarf in place. In days gone by, these would be used by Bedouin to tie their camel's feet down during the night while they were travelling.
What not to wear!
Dress code is generally casual, however: