The United Arab Emirates is situated in Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia; it is in a strategic location along southern approaches to the Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil.
UAE At Glance
Capital : Abu Dhabi
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a country on the Arabian Peninsula located on the southeastern coast of the Persian Gulf and the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Oman. The UAE consists of seven emirates and was founded on 2 December 1971 as a federation. Six of the seven sheikhdoms (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah) combined on that date. The seventh, Ras Al Khaimah, joined the federation on 10 February 1972. The seven sheikhdoms were formerly known as the Trucial States, in reference to the treaty relations established with the British in the 19th Century.
Artifacts uncovered in the UAE show a long history of human habitation and regional trade including with Mesopotamia. The area was settled by a number of tribes along both the coast and interior and was Islamised in the seventh century.
A number of incursions and bloody battles took place along the coast when the Portuguese, under Albuquerque, invaded the area. Conflicts between the maritime communities of the Trucial Coast and the British led to the sacking of Ras Al Khaimah by British forces in 1809 and again in 1819, which resulted in the first of a number of British treaties with the Trucial Rulers in 1820. These treaties, including the Treaty of Perpetual Maritime Peace, signed in 1853, led to peace and prosperity along the coast which lasted until the 1930s, when the pearl trade collapsed, leading to significant hardship among the coastal communities.
A British decision, taken in early 1968, to withdraw from its involvement in the Trucial States, led to the decision to found a Federation. This was agreed between two of the most influential Trucial Rulers, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum of Dubai. The two invited other Trucial Rulers to join the Federation. At one stage it seemed likely Bahrain and Qatar would also join the Union, but both eventually decided on independence.
Today, the UAE is a modern, oil exporting country with a highly diversified economy, with Dubai in particular developing into a global hub for tourism, retail, and finance, home to the world’s tallest building, largest man-made seaport and busiest international airport.
Almost ( 2,200,000 )
Arabic is the national and official language of the United Arab Emirates. The Gulf dialect of Arabic is spoken natively by the Emirati people. English is used as a second language. Other major languages spoken in Dubai due to immigration are Hindi-Urdu (or Hindustani), Persian, Malayalam, Punjabi, Pashto, Bengali, Sindhi, Balochi, Tulu, Tamil, Kannada, Sinhala, Marathi, Telugu, Tagalog and Chinese, in addition to many other languages.
Article 7 of the UAE’s Provisional Constitution declares Islam the official state religion of the UAE. The government subsidises almost 95% of mosques and employs all Imams; approximately 5% of mosques are entirely private, and several large mosques have large private endowments. All mosques in Dubai are managed by the Government of Dubai and all Imams are also appointed by the Government. An Imam caught preaching racism or religious hatred or caught promoting Islamic extremism is usually jailed and deported.
Dubai also has large Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Bahá’í, Buddhist and other religious communities residing in the city.
Non-Muslim groups can own their own houses of worship, where they can practice their religion freely, by requesting a land grant and permission to build a compound. Groups that do not have their own buildings must use the facilities of other religious organisations or worship in private homes. Non-Muslim religious groups are permitted to advertise group functions openly and distribute various religious literature; however, outright proselytising is strictly prohibited under penalty of criminal prosecution, imprisonment and deportation for engaging in behaviour offensive to Islam. Strict prohibition extends to small groups such as the Ahmadiyya. Catholics have no proper jurisdiction in the UAE, but are served pastorally by the Kuwait-based Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia.
Dubai has a hot desert climate. Summers in Dubai are extremely hot, windy, and humid, with an average high around 41 °C (106 °F) and overnight lows around 30 °C (86 °F) in the hottest month, August. Most days are sunny throughout the year. Winters are warm with an average high of 24 °C (75 °F) and overnight lows of 14 °C (57 °F) in January, the coldest month. Precipitation, however, has been increasing in the last few decades, with accumulated rain reaching 94.3 mm (3.71 in) per year. Dubai summers are also known for the moderate to high humidity level, which can make it uncomfortable for many. The highest recorded temperature in Dubai is 49 °C (120 °F), reached in July 2002.
Jan – Dec : GMT + 4 Hours.
The following are general open hours for business; specific establishments may vary and work hours vary depending on the job in Dubai that is actually held. The government standardized the working week for government and businesses from Sunday to Thursday (for many businesses it remains Saturday to Wednesday). Most businesses in Dubai open from 7am to 1pm and 3pm to 6pm. Banks are open 8am to 3pm Saturday to Wednesday and 8am to noon on Thursday. Most banks and other outlets offer 24-hour access to automated teller machines (ATMs). Shops are open every day from 9 am to 10/11pm except for Friday (10 am or 2 pm to 12 am).
Religious and Public Holidays
Date – 2016 Occasion
01 Jan New Year’s Day
05 May Al Isra’a Wal Mi’raj – Ascension day
06 Jun Ramadan expected to begin
07 – 09 Jul Eid Al Fitr
10 Sep Arafat (Haj) Day
11 – 13 Sep Eid Al Adha
02 Oct Al Hijra – Islamic New Year
30 Nov Commemoration Day
02 – 03 Dec UAE National Day
12 Dec Milad Al Nabi – Birthday of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)
Voltage: 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts)
Primary Socket Types: Euro, British, Indian
Multi-voltage appliances (laptops, etc.): Plug adapter
Click socket type links to view adapter for that type
110-120V electronics: Plug adapter + step-down transformer
Hair dryers, curling irons, etc.: Plug adapter + voltage converter
Road: From Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Air: Dubai International airport, Abu Dhabi International airport and Sharjah International airport are receiving flights from all over the world.
Sea: Main ports in the United Arab Emirates are: Port Rashid, Port Jebel Ali, Dubai, Port Abu Dhabi. There are many other ports: Port Ajman, Port Umm Ql Quwain, Port Ras Al Khaimah, Port Khorfakkan, Port Fujairah, Port Sharjah.
The official currency of the united Arab emirates is called “The Dirham” .
The name Dirham derives from the Greek word Drachmae, literally meaning “handful”, through Latin. Due to centuries of old trade and usage of the currency, Dirham survived through the Ottoman regime.
The United Arab Emirates dirham was introduced 19 May 1973. It replaced the Qatar and Dubai riyal at par. The Qatar and Dubai riyal had circulated since 1966 in all of the emirates except Abu Dhabi, where the dirham replaced the Bahraini dinar at 1 dirham = 0.1 dinar. Before 1966, all the emirates that were to form the UAE used the Gulf rupee. As in Qatar, the emirates briefly adopted the Saudi riyal during the transition from the Gulf rupee to the Qatar and Dubai riyal.
Over the last 10 years, the local government has implemented several festivals and events across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to increase tourism. Sporting competitions, like the Dubai Desert Classic, have added to the visitor numbers and improved exposure on the global scale. Cultural events, like the Abu Dhabi International Jazz Festival, highlight the importance of music and art in the country.
In January, the Dubai Marathon takes center stage. There are 1.8 mile (three km), 6.2 mile (10 km), and 31 mile (50 km) races, with the winners receiving large sums of money. Thousands of participants come to the UAE to join, with an increasing number of runners every year.
Dubai Shopping Festival
Shopaholics need to remember to breathe because the Dubai Shopping Festival is a month-long event. Every mall in the city reduces its prices during January and February, attracting thousands from around the globe. There are concerts and entertainment as a backdrop.
Dubai Desert Classic
Every year, the best golfers from around the world make their way to Dubai, where the Desert Classic takes place. The prize money allures the best of the best and spectators if they can get a hold of the highly coveted tickets. The tournament is held at the Emirates Golf Club in March.
Emirates World Series Horse Race
The Emirates World Series of Horse Racing concludes in Dubai, where the world’s richest race takes place. Held in April, the Dubai World Cup Horse Race welcomes thousands of spectators, along with the best jockeys, trainers, and horses from the world over. The event is run from the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, which provides memorable entertainment and a social atmosphere in the UAE.
Abu Dhabi International Jazz Festival
Huge crowds flock to the most-populated city in the UAE for Abu Dhabi’s International Jazz Festival. This beloved May event lures thousands of music lovers, where amazing performances are given by some of the world’s leading jazz artists. The festival began as a two-day event, but now spans more than a week.
At the end of Ramadan, the cities of the UAE celebrate with parties and feasts. Both visitors and locals can share in the spoils as Dubai and Abu Dhabi throw social events for several days to mark the end of the Islamic fasting period in September.
International Film Festival Dubai
The Dubai film festival takes place in November and attracts not only thousands of cinema enthusiasts from across the Middle East and Europe, but famous producers and Hollywood stars for screenings all over the city.
National Day Festival
Commemorating the formation of the UAE and the independence of the region from Britain, National Day is celebrated across the country in December with performances and events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Accommodations are hard to come by at this time, so book well in advance.
Food and Drinks
Emirati cuisine is a blend of many Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines.
The modern diet of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is cosmopolitan, featuring dishes from around the world. A lot of people confuse Levantine food as being Emirati/Khaleej, but shawarma, hummous, tabbouleh, and mixed grill, whilst having similar characteristics, are fairly recent additions and do not do justice to the “soul food” that makes up the Emirati menu.
Due to harsh desert conditions, the traditional food of the United Arab Emirates uses a lot of meat, grain, and dairy. Vegetables are easy to grow in some areas, and are strongly featured in the diet. Traditional dishes include Ma’louba, Margooga, Harees, Machbous, Frsee’ah, Fireed, Jisheid, and Mishwy. Meats traditionally used were chicken or small fowl, such as Houbara bustards, and goats. As camels are highly prized for their milk and transporting ability, the eating of camel meat is normally reserved for special occasions.
The dishes are usually like stews, as everything is often cooked in a single pot. Saffron, cardamom, turmeric, and thyme are the core flavors used in Emirati cookery. The introduction of rice to the diet came when the traders moved to the region. Leaves from indigenous trees, such as the Ghaff, were also used to stuff small birds, releasing their flavor during the cooking process.
Breakfast in the UAE usually features breads like raqaq, khameer, and chebab, served with cheese, date syrup, or eggs. These were made over a curved hot plate, resembling a stone, which would have been used by the Bedouins. Balaleat is another dish, but its advent again with the traders, who introduced pasta.
Sweet options include luqeymat, a deep fried ball of pancake batter that is rolled in sesame seeds and then drizzled with date honey. Other desserts include khabeesa, which is flour bread crumbs blended with sugar, cardamom, and saffron or bethitha, a semolina blended with crushed dates, cardamom, and clarified butter.
At the close of the meal, it is usual to be served with a red tea infused with mint, which aids the digestion. Other traditions to the meal include a welcome with dates and gahwah (Arabic coffee), which are offered on arrival and are kept available through the guests visit.
Vaccinations and Health
For vaccinations, please check with health authorities in your home country before traveling. While travelers may experience mild stomach discomfort or diarrhea, no serious health threats exist in UAE. Anti-diarrhea medication may be helpful.
Shopping: it’s pretty much modern Dubai’s reason for being.
Fans of the city say you can buy whatever your heart desires there.
Almost literally: Dubai does, after all, have the world’s largest shopping center — the Dubai Mall — and it contains a lot of stuff.
The problem is knowing which stuff to haul back home as a keepsake or a gift for your nearest and dearest.
Or just for the people who bought you some stuff the last time they went away.
Top 8 things to buy from Dubai:
Gold from the souk
Dates from Bateel
A Persian carpet
A traditional dagger
Spices from the spice souk
Nawafir makes it easy to rent a car, jeep, or four-wheel-drive vehicle, with or without a driver. An international driver’s license is usually required, and in high season advance notice is almost always required as demand for cars exceeds their availability.
Useful Information for Travelers
Photography: As a general rule if you want to photograph people or places it is always better to ask first. Do not take pictures of any government installations, Embassies buildings, or anything else that might be considered off-limits to visitors.
Safety: United Arab Emirates is a safe and friendly place to travel. People are unfailingly helpful and it is generally safe to walk around at any time of the day or night. It is, of course, sensible to take obvious precautions: look after your belongings and keep valuables in the hotel safe. Lost property should be reported to the police without delay. If you lose your passport, you should contact your embassy.