About Dubai

About Dubai overview

Dubai has become a global destination not only for tourists, but also for expatriates and business people from around the world. It is full of sunshine, luxurious hotels, malls for shopping and stunning beaches. Millions of visitors come to Dubai each year, with the amount growing with each year that passes.

Dubai is a melting pot of cultures from around the world. The local people from Dubai are called Emiratis. Only about 10-15% of Emiratis make up the population of Dubai, meaning the majority of the population in Dubai is composed of expatriates.

Arabic is the official language in Dubai, although English is widely spoken as well. In most places you will see both English and Arabic written.

The currency in Dubai is called the United Arab Emirates Dirham. There are many currency exchanges located throughout Dubai, as well as banks and ATMS, making it easy to take out money whenever needed.

Visitors should be aware that Dubai is an Islamic country and therefore all cultural and religious rules of the country should be respected. The dress code in places like mosques is strictly enforced. Visitors must cover their arms, legs and shoulders. Women must wear headscarves. Around Dubai itself the dress code is more relaxed, but should still be moderate and never too tight or revealing. Bathing suits are allowed but only in designated places like swimming pools and beaches.

Please be aware, that although you can drink alcohol in Dubai at certain bars and restaurants, you must be mindful of the laws of Dubai. Drinking on beaches or other public places is not allowed. Also, public drunkenness can lead to serious consequences. These rules are strictly enforced.

Where is Dubai?

Dubai is located in the Middle East on the Persian Gulf and is one of the seven emirates that makes up the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The six other emirates of the UAE are: Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, and Umm al-Qaiwain. The capital of the UAE is Abu Dhabi, which is 120 km south of Dubai.

Is Dubai a city?

Dubai is the name for both the emirate and the city.  Dubai is one of the seven emirates that composes the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

History of Dubai

Dubai has a very rich history dating back to the year 1095. Unfortunately, the records of the ancient Dubai were not accurately recorded so there is a high probability the history goes back even further. In the history museum in Dubai there are many different artifacts that gives clues to ancient civilizations all the way back to the 2nd and 3rd century BC.

According to the official government of Dubai website, the earliest known mention of Dubai dates back to 1095 in the “Book of Geography” by Abu Abdullah ah-Bakri—who was an Andalusian-Arab geographer.

So where did the name Dubai actually come from? There are three theories on this topic:

Theory one: Since Dubai was a wealthy trading center, some people believe the name `Dubai´ came about from a word meaning money.

Theory two: Some people believe the name Dubai was used to describe it souk, which people considered a smaller form of one named `Daba’.

Theory three: Others consider the word Dubai came from combining the Farsi words for two and brothers.

Dubai until the 1960s

In the year 1833 the Al Maktoum family settled in Dubai. During this time Dubai was a small trading and fishing village, but over time its popularity started to grow. Dubai then branched into three different areas which included Deira, Bur Dubai and Shindagha. Deira’s market was one of the largest markets in the region—so you can easily see why shopping in Dubai is still one of its main attractions.

Dubai was an important port city. Up until the 1930s Dubai was known for its export of pearls. Following the Great Depression, Dubai’s pearling industry was wiped out. However, even with the lack of pearling, Dubai still had revenue from other trading. In the 1940s and 1950s infrastructure was built up in Dubai. By 1959 Dubai had an airport and its very first hotel called the Airlines Hotel. In 1965 an asphalt runway was constructed at the airport which meant more incoming flights could fly into and out of Dubai.

Dubai after the 1960s

Oil was discovered in Dubai in 1966, which led to massive growth of the population in Dubai. The new sources of revenue allowed for Dubai to build up its infrastructure even more including bridges, ports, roads, schools and hospitals.

In 1971 Dubai joined five other Emirates— Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Qawain and Fujairah— to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In 1972, Ras Al Khaimah joined the UAE making it the seventh emirate.

In 1973 the United Arab Emirates starting using the same currency: the UAE dirham.

Dubai up until now

Since the 1970s Dubai’s population continued to grow as did its revenue from oil and trade. The aviation industry also continued to steadily grow. In the 1990s many foreign trading companies moved their business to Dubai. Since then Dubai has been rapidly growing and is now considered one of the global economic hubs in the world.

Although many people picture Dubai as a hub for oil, the country has moved away from solely relying on their oil export for their revenue. Other sources of revenue come from many sources: tourism, real estate, and events at the Dubai World Trade Center are just a few examples.

Dubai’s two international airports—Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum Airport—serve millions of people per year. More than 10 million tourists visit Dubai per year, with that number increasing year after year. Currently Dubai is gearing up to host the Expo 2020.

Dubai Rulers

Since the 1830s the Al Maktoum family has ruled over Dubai. Here is a list of the rulers of Dubai since then:

  • Sheikh Maktoum bin Buti Al Maktoum, 1833 - 1852
  • Sheikh Saeed bin Buti Al Maktoum,1852 - 1859
  • Sheikh Hasher bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, 1859 - 1886
  • Sheikh Rashid bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, 1886 - 1894
  • Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum, 1894 - 1906
  • Sheikh Buti bin Suhail Al Maktoum, 1906 - 1912
  • Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, 1912 – 1958
  • Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, 1958 – 1990
  • Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, 1990 - 2006
  • Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, current

Nature in Dubai

Beyond the glittering skyline, Dubai offers plenty of beautiful natural areas. Dubai has six natural preserves under its municipality.  One of them is the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, which is home to many different animals and trees, including palm trees, hedgehogs, antelopes and many other species.

The other five preserves are: Jabal Nazwa reserve, Al Marmoum desert reserve, Al Wuhush desert reserve, Al Ghaf reserve and Hatta mountain reserve. These preserves will help to promote eco-tourism in Dubai, and allow tourists to explore the bountiful nature Dubai has to offer.

Economy in Dubai

Dubai has developed and expanded rapidly over the past few decades—making it one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Trade, tourism, transport, industry and finance have all contributed to Dubai’s economy. In 2015 Dubai saw a growth of 4.5% in its economy. Dubai is currently ramping up its efforts to become a city of sustainable economic growth and being one of the world’s leading business centers.

Culture in Dubai

Dubai is a melting pot of many different cultures and nationalities. It is a popular tourist destination that is known for its futuristic architecture.  Dubai is an Islamic country, so visitors should be aware of the religious and cultural standards in Dubai before going there. The culture is largely influenced by its history, which can be seen in the architecture, music, food and attire. There are mosques in nearly every neighborhood of Dubai and the call to prayer can be heard several times throughout the day. Ramadan is a religious time in Dubai and lasts about one month. During this time Muslims fast during the day until sundown. Tourists must be mindful during this time and not eat, drink or smoke in public.

Although Western clothing is widely accepted in Dubai, there are certain standards and rules one should follow while in Dubai. In public, it is advised to not wear clothing that is too tight or revealing. Clothing should cover below the knee. Swim wear is allowed by the pool or at beaches. Also, in mosques modest clothing should be worn, including a headscarf for women.

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