Learn more about this great destination and what it has to offer. Choose a section below for information on the area, including history and transportation details.
Set between Europe and Asia, on the southern shores of the Arabian Gulf, Dubai is the jewel in the crown of the United Arab Emirates. The second largest of the seven Emirates, (the others are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujaira, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Qaiwain), Dubai is an oasis in the sweeping deserts. A city of alluring contrasts, Dubai is a cosmopolitan society with a global lifestyle and a culture rooted in, and secured by, age-old Islamic traditions.
It is this unique personality of the city that draws in visitors, whether for business or for pleasure, from the four corners of the earth by land, sea and air. In fact, the Dubai International Airport, a vital link for business, commerce and tourism, is considered the busiest airport in the Middle East. Its state-of-the-art facilities sees daily departures and arrivals from all over the world.
Tourists and business travelers will find something to provoke their imagination in this busy and cosmopolitan city. The central city itself is designed with ultra-modern offices, hotels and shopping malls all set alongside the Creek. This natural sea-water inlet cuts through the middle of the city. But just around the corner, you might come upon an ancient house or other testament to the rich heritage of this city. Don't think the inhabitants of Dubai are living too lavishly with their dwindling oil supply though. They were smart enough to plan ahead economically to soften the blow, and tourism is one of their main plans for continued revenue for the city. Dubai is able to boast an Arabian experience in a protected, open-minded city. Even the desert itself holds tourist appeal.
Dubai's central business district is divided into two parts: Diera on the north side of the Creek and Bur Dubai to the south. They are connected by a tunnel and two bridges. But no matter which side you find yourself on, a stroll along its banks will remind you of the city's centuries-old trading traditions. And each side has everything you might want, from great hotels and stores to mosques and souks (bustling markets).
Diera is a district filled with banks and office buildings, showcasing Dubai's strong business sense. It can be found northeast of the Creek, and is filled with many merchants selling local goods, such as artwork, jewelry, fruits and vegetables, spices and traditional clothing. There are also fortune tellers, snake oil salesmen and street performers on every corner. You could spend all day wandering through the Diera, so don't be afraid to bargain. You never know what you'll end up going home with.
Southwest of the Creek you'll find the other half of Dubai's business district, Dur Dubai. In Dubai's early years, this district was a large fishing village that generated revenue to feed the entire town. Here you will find many important monuments that testify to Dubai's rich history. The former palace of sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, built in 1896, is a must-see. It has been completely restored, allowing guests to examine the stunning Arab architecture first-hand. The
The history of Dubai is somewhat mysterious. Before Islam became the religion of the region, when the Byzantine and Sassanian empires ruled, the people of Dubai worshipped a god called Bajir. Dubai shows up briefly in western history books around 1580, when Gaspero Balbi, a renowned pearl merchant, mentioned Dubai for its wealth of pearls.
Dubai came into existence in records as a town around 1799. It was originally a fishing settlement. Inhabitants lived by fishing, pearling, herding sheep and goats, but by the turn of the century, Dubai was an important trading port. Trade expanded even as the city was under the British protectorate, which was established in 1892, and Dubai began to grow in merchant appeal. Since Dubai is so close to India, it became a pivotal hub for trade, with many choosing to relocate there.
By the early 1900s, almost a quarter of the population was foreign. The population in the 1930s was 20,000, with 2000 Persians, 1000 Baluchis, many Indians and substantial communities from Bahrain, Kuwait and the Hasa province in eastern Saudi Arabia. In 1954, Great British established a political agency there as well.
Dubai's rich pearl industry was significantly damaged by World War I and the economic turmoil caused by the Great Depression. As a result, many chose to migrate to other parts of the Arab world. The discovery of oil, however, pulled thousands of newcomers into the city.
Oil was discovered in 1966 and by 1969 Dubai exported its first shipment of oil. In 1971, the British withdrew and Dubai joined with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Aiman, Umm Al Quwain, Fajairah and later Ras Al Khaimah to create the federation of the United Arab Emirates. The success of the oil venture fueled the rapid development of the area, and through the insight of the late ruler, provided for the general welfare of the inhabitants. The price of oil skyrocketed after the Persian Gulf War, making Dubai's government rich from the profits. Dubai worked to build up its infrastructure of transportation facilities, schools, hospitals, tourist services and other amenities of an advanced society. Dubai continues to expand and develop today.
Dubai International Airport (DXB)
+971 4 216 2525
Dubai International Airport is only four kilometers (a little over a mile) from the city center. Some of the major airlines that fly here include:
Aero Asia (http://www.aeroasia.com)
American Airlines (+1 800 433 7300 / http://www.aa.com)
Air Canada (+1 888 247 2262 / http://www.aircanada.ca)
Air France (+1 800 237 2747 / http://www.airfrance.com)
Air India (http://www.airindia.com)
Delta Airlines (+1 800 221 1212 / http://www.delta.com)
Gulf Air (+1 800 433 7300 / http://www.gulfairco.com)
Korean Air (+1 800 438 5000 / http://www.koreanair.com)
SwissAir (+1 877 359 7947 / http://www.swiss.com)
Qatar Airways (+1 877 777 2827 / http://www.qatarairways.com)
From the Airport
Taxis are a good way to get around Dubai. You can catch one 24 hours a day from the Arrivals Terminal.
Airport buses departing from the terminals serve the most popular corridors of the city and are used by both residents and tourists.
Public bus system (http://www.rta.ae).
The Abra water taxi (http://www.rta.ae)
Taxis, Shuttles & Limousines
The Dubai Transport Company (http://www.dubaitransport.gov.ae/)
Delta Taxi +971 4 559 8598
Internite Taxi +971 4 272 8299
Golden Taxi +971 4 336 5444
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