United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the few fast developing Muslim countries that have managed to remain moderate and at the same time, managed to keep the influence of fundamentalism largely out of its boundaries. The visitors will surely fall in love with the country with its magnificence. Be it the hustle-bustle of souk or unique desert life or the skyscrapers that literally touch the sky or the rugged mountains, there is something about UAE that is simply not there in any other country of the region.
People not familiar with desert views and lifestyle will surely love the place for its splendid sand-dunes, dusty villages, indigenous housing architecture, wind-towers, etc. that makes UAE an absolutely wonderful experience for the visitors. It’s not just the UAE deserts that are charming. In fact, the country has some exquisite white beaches to keep the water-sports’ lovers interested. Add to this, some eye-catching lush-green parks and chic shopping malls, and you have everything you can aspire for in a luxurious lifestyle.
Dubai is renowned for its shopping festivals, especially Gold jewellery. In fact, people from across the globe flock to UAE especially for its shopping festivals. UAE’s status as an open port makes it all the more lucrative for shopping with low retail prices and multitude of products available, like high-end designer products, state-of-the-art electronic items, gold/silver jewellery.
Another Emirate, Abu Dhabi, is rightly called ‘Manhattan of the Middle East’ for its modern outlook and forward-looking approach towards developing the Emirate into one of the best places in the region. Being the capital of UAE, Abu Dhabi gets special attention towards development.
This tiny island city is connected to the mainland by two bridges, and boasts of attractions, like Petroleum Exhibition, Heritage Village, Corniche Beach, the Breakwater Island, old souk, Al-Hisn Fort and the royal Sheikh Zayed’s Palace. However, the jewel in the crown is, undoubtedly, Batin, which is the oldest part of the town. It is famous for the small harbours that receive daily catch brought by the indigenous fishing dhows.
These small Sheikhdoms on the coast of Persian Gulf, comprising UAE, were the main hosts of the development of Islam and Islamic civilisation in the Middle East and ultimately, the rest of Asia, during the 7th Century. The turning point came when the pirates operating in the Gulf region attacked the British-owned ships and in a retaliatory action, these Sheikhdoms were brought under British Suzerainty in the 19th Century.
Up until 1950s, these Sheikhdoms (also known as the Trucial States) were largely ignored and after that, the British started ceding control over these States. They planned to form a single state out of these seven Sheikhdoms, which got a boost after the discovery of oil in the region in 1966. The economy got a real shot-in-the-arm when Dubai started exporting oil in 1969. Since then, the country progressed at a swift pace and modern developments followed soon with the inflow of petro-dollars in the country.
The modern UAE (formed in 1971) is an amalgam of seven States – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al Qaiwain. Despite many contradictions within the Emirates, the ruling families have managed to keep the Federation united.