WELCOME TO THE DESERT'S MOST EXCITING CITY.
There are records of the town of Dubai from 1799. Earlier in the 18th century the Al Abu Falasa lineage of Bani Yas clan established itself in Dubai which was a dependent of the settlement of Abu Dhabi until 1833.
On 8 January 1820, the then sheikh of Dubai was a signatory to the British sponsored "General Treaty of Peace" (the General Maritime Treaty).
In 1833, the Al Maktoum dynasty of the Bani Yas tribe left the settlement of Abu Dhabi and took over the town of Dubai, "without resistance". From that point on, Dubai, a newly independent emirate, was constantly at odds with the emirate of Abu Dhabi. An attempt by the Qawasim pirates to take over Dubai was thwarted. In 1835, Dubai and the rest of the Trucial States signed a maritime truce with Britain and a "Perpetual Maritime Truce" about two decades later.
Dubai came under the protection of the United Kingdom (keeping out the Ottoman Turks) by the Exclusive Agreement of 1892. Like four of its neighbours, Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Qaiwain, its position on the route to India made it an important location.
In March 1892, the Trucial States (or Trucial Oman) were created.
The rulers of Dubai fostered trade and commerce, unlike the town's neighbors. The town of Dubai was an important port of call for foreign tradesmen (chiefly Indians), who settled in the town. Until the 1930s, the town was known for its pearl exports.
After the devaluation of the Gulf Rupee in 1966, Dubai joined the newly independent state of Qatar to set up a new monetary unit, the Qatar/Dubai riyal. Oil was discovered 120 kilometres off the coast of Dubai, after which the town granted oil concessions.
On 2 December 1971 Dubai, together with Abu Dhabi and five other emirates, formed the United Arab Emirates after former protector Britain left the Persian Gulf in 1971. In 1973, Dubai joined the other emirates to adopt a single, uniform currency: the UAE dirham.
Culture in Dubai is rooted in Islamic traditions that form UAE National's lifestyles. However, the UAE is tolerant and welcoming to foreigners who do not practice the religion of Islam. Expatriates are free to practice their own religion, alcohol is served in hotels and the dress code is liberal. Women don't face discrimination. Courtesy and hospitality are one of the many virtues of Dubai. Rulers are keen to maintain their culture and do so through a number of practices. One is promoting sporting events that are representative of their past. Falconry, camel racing and dhow sailing are still popular in Dubai.
The official language of the country is Arabic, however most people in and out of the workplace communicate in English. There are so many different nationalities in Dubai, English finds common ground with most people. The majority of road and shop signs, restaurant menus etc. are in both English and Arabic.
Dubai is a cosmopolitan city and visitors can dress however they like. Still, a good amount of respect for local customs is appreciated. In deference to local customs and norms it is a good idea for visitors not to wear very short, tight clothing, at least until such time as they are comfortable with the city. UAE nationals usually wear their traditional dress. For men this is the dishdasha or khandura, a white full-length shirt-dress. It is worn with a white or red checked headdress known as a gutra. In public women wear the black abaya, a long black robe that covers their normal clothes. They also wear a headscarf.
Normally tourist photography is acceptable and expected with all the beautiful things to photograph in Dubai. In general, photographs of government buildings, military installations, ports and airports should not be taken. Like anywhere, it is polite to ask permission before photographing people. It is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women.
Arabic cuisine comprises many types of cooking from countries like Morocco, Egypt, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Tunisia, and more. Throughout the city, vendors sell shawarma, a hot sandwich with lamb or chicken, carved from a rotating spit and served in pita bread with vegetables. A variety of juices from pineapple, banana, mango, or a mixed cocktail can be ordered from fresh juice vendors.
Alcohol is served in licensed premises like restaurants and bars. It is also served in a few recreational clubs. Shisha pipes are smoked at most establishments. They are traditional water pipes that use flavored tobaccos like strawberry or apple. Shisha is usually enjoyed while sitting at a café or restaurant.
Language and religion
The official language is Arabic, but English and Urdu are also widely spoken, along with Hindi, Persian, Punjabi, Malayalam, and Tagalog. Islam is the official religion of all of the emirates. A vast majority of the locals are Sunnis. There are foreign minority Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians as well. Dubai is the only emirate that has Hindu temples and a Sikh gurudwara.
The Meena Bazaar area of the city has both a Shiva and Krishna temple. Both are believed to be sanctioned by the late ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. There is an electric crematorium run by a group of Indian expatriates. Non-Muslims in the country are free to practice their religion but may not proselytise publicly or distribute religious literature. The government follows a policy of tolerance towards non-Muslims and Polytheist; in practice, interferes very little in the religious activities of non-Muslims.
In early 2001, ground was broken for the construction of several additional churches on a parcel of land in Jebel Ali donated by the government of Dubai for four Protestant congregations and a Catholic congregation. Construction on the first Greek Orthodox Church in Dubai (to be called St. Mary's) would begin at the end of 2005, members of the Eastern Orthodox Christian community in the UAE have had to use churches of other denominations for services, until General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Defence Minister, donated a plot of land in Jebel Ali.
Apart from donated land for the construction of churches and other religious facilities, including cemeteries, non-Muslim groups are not supported financially or subsidised by the government. However, they are permitted to raise money from among their congregants and to receive financial support from abroad. Christian churches are permitted to openly advertise certain church functions, such as memorial services, in the press.
The population of the UAE as of 2001 was estimated to be 3,290,000. The population of Dubai was estimated to be 971,000. The UAE is a highly cosmopolitan environment and a large part of the population are non-UAE nationals, primarily a mix of other Arab nationals, Asians and Europeans. 80% of Dubai's population is comprised of expatriates with Europeans and Asians accounting for approximately 70% of households. Approximately 71% of the population is male and 29% is female. The UAE population is expected to grow by 3.3% per annum to reach 4.15 million by 2010. Dubai is expected to have a population of 1.4 million by 2010.
Dubai has a sub-tropical, arid climate, with perfect weather for at least six months out of the year. Rainfall is infrequent and happens mainly in winter. Usually it amounts to about 13 centimeters, spread over five days per year. Temperatures range from a low of about 10 degrees Celsius on winter nights, to a high of 48 degrees Celsius in the midday summer heat.
Sheraton Deira Hotel Dubai - The Sheraton hotel and Deira Towers in Dubai is a modern hotel situated in the city centre, within two kilometers of the Gold Souk and shopping.
Arabian Hotel Courtyard & Spa - The Arabian Courtyard Bur Dubai is a modern ten-storey hotel situated in the city centre opposite the historic Dubai Museum and 300 meters from Dubai Creek.
Four Points by Sheraton Bur Dubai - The Four Points Sheraton hotel is situated in the business and shopping district of Deira centre and lies within 500 meters of Dubai Creek Walk.
Sheraton Dubai Creek - The Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel is a futuristic tower with honed limestone façade and landscaped front entrance overlooking Dubai Creek. It is three kilometers from the Gold and Spice Souks.
Habtoor Grand Resort & Spa - The Habtoor Grand Resort & Spa is positioned on Jumeirah Beach along the Arabian Gulf in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Traders Hotel Dubai - The Traders Hotel Dubai, with sleek, modern, global style behind an Arabic-influenced exterior, is a low-rise property in the long-established Deira commercial area, six kilometers from the airport.
Radisson Sas Dubai Media City - Set 35 kilometers from the center of Dubai, the Radisson SAS Media City ( United Arab Emirates) offers a convenient location three kilometers from the Emirates Golf Course.
Villa Rotana Suites - The Villa Rotana Suites is a grand, four-floor residence, centrally situated two kilometers from the Dubai World Trade Centre and 600 meters from Jumeira Beach.
Hilton Dubai Creek - The Hilton Dubai Creek is a boutique-style hotel with steel and glass façade situated on the banks of the Dubai Creek, one kilometer from the Souks and Dubai Golf and Yacht Club.
Sofitel Dubai City Centre - The Sofitel City Centre Hotel and Residence Dubai is an imposing concrete and glass building with Arabic-style detailing and a rooftop pool, set in the centre of Dubai and adjacent to Deira City.
Towers Rotana Hotel - The Towers Rotana Hotel is a modern, 30-storey property situated on the prestigious Sheikh Zayed road, opposite Dubai's World Trade Centre and Exhibition Halls.
The Fairmont Dubai - An exotic blend of contemporary design and urban chic, The Fairmont Dubai is a lodging icon located amid Dubai's business district.
Grand Hyatt Dubai - Dubai's luxury city conference hotel, the Grand Hyatt Dubai, towers majestically by the edge of Dubai's historic creek.
Hilton Dubai Jumeirah - The modern Hilton Dubai Jumeira hotel is set on the golden Jumeirah Beach in Dubai, 3 kilometers from the Emirates Golf Course and 35 kilometers from the city centre.
Novotel World Trade Centre - Opened in 2003, the Novotel World Trade Centre is a contemporary, 13-storey tower-block hotel located in the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention complex, five kilometers from the Dubai Museum.