Know Dubai

Dubai is a land of vibrant contrasts, alive with charming Arabian heritage and the exuberance of a cosmopolitan city. From golden dunes to unspoiled beaches, rugged mountains to spectacular skyscrapers, Dubai offers her visitors gracious Arabian hospitality and a sophisticated lifestyle.

History

Dubai was originally a small coastal village, which depended on fishing, pearling, herding and cultivating dates. Around 1830, it was taken over by a branch of the Bani Yas tribe from the Liwa Oasis. The tribe was led by the Al Maktoum family, who still rule the emirate today. The inhabitants built up a strong trading industry, and by the turn of the century Dubai were reputed to have the largest souks on the Gulf coast.

Dubai’s farsighted and liberal rulers attracted Indian and Persian traders who quickly settled in the growing town. However, even as trade developed, Dubai remained part of the British protectorate known as the Trucial States, which extended along the northern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

The discovery of oil in Dubai in 1966 transformed the emirate and its way of life. Dubai’s first oil exports in 1969 paved the way for a period of rapid development that laid the foundations for today’s modern society. The vision of HH Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum ensured that Dubai’s oil revenues were deployed wisely.

In 1971 the British withdrew from the region and Dubai joined Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah to create the federation of the United Arab Emirates.

Geography

Dubai is located on the southern shore of the Arabian Gulf, between latitude 25 degrees north and longitude 55 degrees east. Known as the City of Merchants, Dubai’s trading centre is situated on the banks of the Dubai Creek, a natural inlet from the Arabian Gulf that divides the city into two sides – Deira to the north and Bur Dubai to the south. The shoreline starts from al Mamzar passing through Jumeirah, the Marina and ending at Jebel Ali port and free zone. Beautiful community developments and spectacular offshore islands have been created across the city, including Business Bay, Dubai Marina and the Palm Jumeirah, and there are many other exciting projects under construction, such as Palm Deira, Palm Jebel Ali, The World Islands and Dubailand.

Weather

The sub-tropical, arid climate of the UAE delivers sunny blue skies and warm weather most of the year. Typically it’s warm and sunny in winter and hot and humid in the summer. Rainfall is infrequent and irregular, occurring mainly in winter. Temperatures range from a low of 10 degrees to a high of 50 degrees Celsius, with the mean daily maximum of 24 degrees in January, rising to 50 degrees in August.

January 10–24˚C
July 27–42˚C
February 15–25˚C
August 29–50˚C
March 17–28˚C
September 27–38˚C
April 20–32˚C
October 23–35˚C
May 24–37˚C
November 19–30˚C
June 26–40˚C
December 15–26˚C

Government

The highest federal authority is the Supreme Council of the UAE, composed of hereditary rulers from the seven emirates. The Head of State is elected from its members. The President of UAE is HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the ruler of Abu Dhabi. The Vice-President is HH Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai. The Supreme Council is responsible for policy matters involving communications, defense, education, foreign affairs and development, as well as ratifying federal laws.

The UAE takes a stance of non-alignment in its foreign affairs but is committed to the support of Arab unity. In 1971, it became a member of the United Nations and the Arab League. It is also a member of the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), World Trade Organization and other international and Arab organizations. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait are members of the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC).

Economy

The UAE has an open economy. Although it derives wealth from the hydrocarbon sector, Dubai only gets around 10% of its economic production from oil.

Dubai is the second richest emirate after Abu Dhabi and has long established itself as the main trading port in the region. Non-oil sectors such as trading, services, tourism, manufacturing and construction make up about 90% of Dubai’s total gross domestic product. The emirate is one of the Gulf’s main business centers, the home of a massive dry dock for ship repair, and has one of the busiest airports in the Middle East.