Dubai (دبي) is a cosmopolitan metropolis and global city on the Arabian Peninsula.
The city is one of the ten most popular tourist destinations in the world.
The city is also considered one of the most modern and progressive cities in the Middle East – certainly in the Arab world – and is also sometimes nicknamed as “City of Gold” due to historically being a hub for gold trade as well as the rapid transformation from a desert into a luxurious city.
Dubai is characterized by a vast landscape of desert which transforms into a futuristic style of skyscrapers along the coastline.
The city offers both insights into the old merchant and pearl diving history of the Arabs in Deira and Bur Dubai and the new modern skyscraper business and bustling life in Jumeirah and Jebel Ali.
Dubai is sometimes mistakenly thought of as a country, however, it is an Emirate and is part of the United Arab Emirates.
It is the financial center of the United Arab Emirates.
Dubai is also considered a commercial and cultural hub of the Middle East, it’s a global transport hub, and has attracted world attention through many large innovative construction projects and sports events.
The city is symbolized by its skyscrapers, including the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, in addition to ambitious development projects including man-made islands, world-class luxury hotels, and some of the largest and extraordinarily modern shopping malls in the world.
Districts of Dubai
The old financial center, today a bustling commercial-residential district with old souks, including one specializing in spices.
• Bur Dubai
A historical district on the south side of Dubai Creek, with attractions from abras to souks to floating restaurants to the famous Creek.
A diverse mix of residential and tourist destinations. It’s influenced by European architecture and designs.
Jumeirah is favored by westerns due to easy access to the beach. Jumeirah Beach, Dubai Marina, and Jumeirah road are the top attractions.
Marina is a mega-development full of skyscrapers. The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa lies in Downtown Dubai, which is between Jumeriah and the rest of Dubai’s suburbs.
• Jebel Ali
Mega man-made port, location of the new airport, Dubai World Central, the venue for Expo 2020, and the entry point to the Palm Jebel Ali.
• Suburbs & Hatta
Suburban Dubai is inland from the coast and Hatta, the exclave at the border to Oman.
History of Dubai
Dubai was initially a small fishing village on the coast of the eastern Arabian Peninsula.
In the beginning, the town made its income as a small pearl diving town.
However, as expanding trade boomed across the gulf, it became a trading hub between Iran and India and gained a lot of notoriety for its imported goods from the east.
The currency of Dubai used to be the Indian rupee historically.
It was also used as a smuggling town to smuggle gold from Africa and elsewhere and import it to India, this made Dubai a well-known point on the map for various traders.
When oil companies looked for oil around the Trucial States, Dubai was shown to not have any significant oil reserves compared to Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum, then the leader and Sheikh of Dubai, continued on the booming expansion of trade in Dubai instead of relying on any oil income.
He welcomed Indian traders, Iranian traders, and even western officials and travelers in his hometown.
The open policy of commerce and tolerance of foreigners made Dubai a willing destination for any non-Arab or non-Muslim, in stark contrast to other cities in the Arabian peninsula that viewed non-Muslims with suspicion.
Sheikh Rashid’s son, Sheikh Mohammed, had a vision of establishing Dubai as the middle eastern tourist destination.
In his memoir, when he met with other GCC heads of states after the British withdrawal from the gulf and proposed on making Dubai a tourist destination, the rest of the Sheikhs laughed at him.
They told him nobody would like to come and visit a barren desert.
Nevertheless, Sheikh Mohammed made the effort of hiring tourism experts and changed the entire infrastructure of the city to welcome tourists, established free zones with no taxes, invested in major tourism projects, and opened the city for everyone regardless of race or religion.
Multiple western companies and institutions, wanting to expand their influence in the middle east, welcomed Dubai’s tax-free open arms invitation.
Dubai was seen as the only city in the Arabian peninsula that would allow non-Muslims to live, drink, and enjoy their lives by their laws and western or non-Islamic standards.
Destination of Dubai
Just a five-hour flight from Europe and three hours from most parts of the Middle East, the Near East, and the Indian subcontinent, Dubai makes a great short break for shopping, partying, sunbathing, fine dining, sporting events, and even a few sinful pleasures.
Its situated right in the middle of the Middle East and was considered a great spot to stop for someone traveling from east to west or west to east.
This brought the city under the influence of the rest of the world.
Western and eastern traders all established outposts and communities in the city.
Even though Arabic is the official language, because foreigners outnumber Emiratis by almost 4 to 1 in Dubai, English serves as the lingua franca.
All signs are bilingual in Arabic and English and speaking Urdu, Hindi, or Tagalog will help you further than Arabic considering most of the population are expatriates from Pakistan, India, and the Philippines.
The weekly day off is Friday as it is considered the end of the week and a blessed day in Islam.
Since September 2006, a harmonized weekend of Friday and Saturday has been adopted for the public sector and schools.
Government departments, multinational companies, and most schools and universities take Friday and Saturday off.
Climate of Dubai
The city of Dubai is situated on a coastal strip bordered by desert and gets very hot in the summer.
It is dry on the hottest days and humid during the cooler days in the summer.
Cooler, more pleasant weather lasts from the end of September to the beginning of May (although pleasant is relative, with daily temperatures from October to January and March to May still being 20–25 °C (68–77 °F), be prepared for cold night temperatures.
In winter the temperature at night is usually from 10 to 16 °C (50 to 61 °F).
From May to September, the sun is intense and in August temperatures can touch 54 °C (129 °F) in the city and even higher in the desert.
The heat, coupled with a humidity of 60%–70% near the coast, effectively precludes most activity outdoors for the daylight hours during summer.
Summer and winter are effectively the only two noticeable seasons the city experiences.
December to April generally produces the highest precipitation, though little of it, at 100 mm (3.9 in) total per year.
Some years yield no more than a few minutes of shower.
Rain is celebrated in the UAE and most people take days off and some schools give rain days off to enjoy the little amount of precipitation the city experiences.