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Dubai

The city of the future lies in front of us! 15 years were more than adequate to transform this small city of the Arab desert into a miracle… One of the seven United Arab Emirates. Towering skyscrachers, among the tallest in the world, futuristic buildings in the most peculiar shapes, glass and iron, a huge palm tree and artificial islands inside the sea. The best of luxury may be found here. Prestige hotels where golden staircase banisters coexist with fake plastic palm trees. The most expensive cars may be found exactly next to camels and flocks of sheep next to the world famous Arabian horses. Its big market brings Dubai in the first line for hours of shopping, since the visitors here may find everything they are looking for and in really good prices. Electronics, haute couture clothes, electric appliances, gold, silver, precious and semi-precious stones and anything one could think of, so don’t forget to bring your credit card with you! And of course you should not miss a safari in the desert on 4x4 vehicles followed by a relaxing dinner in a Bedouin tent.

City Characteristics

Shopping

The paradise of duty-free
Gold, silver and jewels
Electronics
Watches
Carpets
Designer Clothes
Bronze objects

What to see

The city itself with its huge skyscrapers and futuristic style
Its picturesque bay
The old wooden boats
The old bazaars
The ancient tombs in Abu Dhabi
The villages of the Bedouins

Dining

Humus (mash chickpeas with sesame)
Tabouleh (groats with parsley, tomato and onion)
Ouzi (roast lamb with rice and pine nuts)
Warak enab (vine leaves stuffed with meat)
Kousa mashi (stuffed zucchini)
Ayran (fluid yoghurt)

Country Characteristics

Area

83.600 sq.km.

Population

6.890.000 ppl. (2010).

Capital City

Abu Dhabi (900.000 ppl).

Official Language

Arab, English and Hindu.

Religion

Mohammedanism

Currency

1 Dirham (AED)

Social Habits

Smoking is generally prohibited in closed spaces. Alcohol is prohibited in open spaces. Clothing in the city must comply with rules of etiquette. Taking pictures of people, particularly women, without their permission is considered an assault. When visiting a mosque, visitors should enter barefoot and women should cover their head and hands. A few words in Arabic could bring you closer with the locals. Handshaking is the usual way of greeting. The right hand should be used both for handshaking and when offering something to someone.

Climate

The climate is very hot and dry. The temperature in January reaches 18 degrees while in the summer it can reach 50 degrees Celsius. Rainfalls are scarce. The best time to visit the UAE is in the Fall and Spring.

Clothing

Light tropical clothing all year round. Warmer clothing is recommended for the winter evenings and the nights in the desert. Smart dressing is appropriate for formal events and ceremonies. Women should dress in a conservative way.

Landmarks

In Dubai the port with the old wooden ships and fishing boats, which operate as water taxis, the traditional bazaars of gold and spices, and the old city centre, with its beautiful buildings.
In Sharjah the old closed Souk, built in Persian style.
In nearby Abu Dhabi the fortress of Al Husn (17th century) and the ancient village on the island of Umm Al Nar, with the ancient tombs and ceramics. You should not miss visiting an oasis and a Bedouin village.

Shopping

The United Arab Emirates are renowned for the largest duty free shops in the world where you can find whatever you want. The largest Malls may be found in Dubai. Clothing, jewellery, electrical appliances and electronics, watches, carpets at very reasonable prices, leather and bronze objects may also be found in the souks.

Dining

Humus (mash chickpeas with sesame)
Tabouleh (groats with parsley, tomato and onion)
Ouzi (roast lamb with rice and pine nuts)
Warak Enab (vine leaves stuffed with meat)
Kousa mashi (stuffed zucchini)
You will also find many international cuisines (Persian, French, Lebanese, Italian, Indian, Pakistani, Japanese and Thai).
Drink airan (fluid yoghurt) or strong Arabic coffee and juices.