Dubai is located on the southern coast of the Persian Gulf and is one of the most populated states of the United Arab Emirates. Dubai’s location in relation to India makes it an advantageous location in regards to commerce and trade.
Little is known about the history of Dubai prior to the nineteenth century. In fact, documented accounts of Dubai exist only after 1800. In 1966, oil was discovered in Dubai, and as a result a large influx of foreign money from international oil companies, as well as a large surge in population from foreign workers cause the city to grow at an exponential rate. It is estimated that the area produces over a quarter of a million barrels of oil a day.
The region of Dubai covers an area of almost five hundred square miles and has a population of just over 1.4 million people. This gives it a population density of 408 people a square kilometer. This is over 8 times the population density of the entire country.
Dubai has a hot and dry climate. The median temperature in this region is between twenty four degrees Celsius in the winter to forty-one degrees Celsius during the summer. Annual precipitation is below four millimeters a year.
Dubai has a large collection of historical landmarks and cultural museums that attract a large number of visitors each year. One of the most prominent museums is the Dubai Museum, which is located in the Al Fahidi Fort. This building was originally erected in 1787 as a military installation but was renovated in 1971 to serve as a museum. Its beautiful dioramas document life in the area prior to the discovery of oil in the region. Visitors can see scenes of the date farms, desert life and pearl diving activities that were so prevalent in the region. Visitors can also see artifacts recovered from local archeological digs that date back to the third century BC.
The Sheikh Obaid Bin Thani House is another prominent museum made of mud and stone. It was built in 1870 and features traditional style facades, windows and doors.
Another important stop on any travelers docket should be Sheikh Saeed’s House. This was the official home of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum between the years of 1912-1958. It was built in 1896. This building houses an interesting collection of art, photographs, documents and coinage that offers visitors a peek into the fascinating history of Dubai.
A unique perspective of the history of the township can be ascertained by a visit to the Bastakiya. This is an ancient district of the city noted for its winding roads, towers and traditional courthouses.
For those interested in traditional Dubai architecture one only has to make a stop at the Hatta Heritage Village. This village is located in the Hajjar Mountains and has building that date back four hundred years. The main components of the village include a mosque, several watchtowers and a fort.The Burj Nahar is another interesting example of historic architecture. Its a formidable watchtower that was built in 1870 and admission to the complex is completely free.
For a compleat immersion into the cultural heritage of Dubai, visitors should make a stop at the Heritage And Diving Village. This village is located at the entrance of Dubai Creek and features traditional weavers and potters. Visitors can also check out the exhibits and displays chronicling the history and practice of pearl diving.
If shopping is your thing then you have a whole plethora of choices. You can choose traditional shops called Souks, where you can purchase exotic and traditional craft items or you can take a trip to the mega complex known as Dubai Mall.
Dubai Mall is a modern shopping center that features over a thousand retail stores, a multiplex movie theatre, ice rink, the world’s largest indoor aquarium and one of the largest gold stores in the world. At the top of the mall is the Sega Republic. This is an indoor theme park that offers a ton of activities for visitors. These include hundreds of games, bobsled and driving simulators, and a roller coaster.
The next stop on anyone’s agenda should be Dubai Children’s City. This is an educational center that contains exhibits related to science, space exploration, anatomy and culture. It designed for children between the ages of two and sixteen and is completely interactive. Other amenities include a planetarium and various educational workshops.
Dubai also offers locations that you wouldn’t think could be found in the middle of the desert. The most prominent of these is the Wild Wadi Water Park. This is an Arabian themed water park that covers over twelve acres and has over thirty different aquatic rides.
There is also Ski Dubai. This establishment was opened in 2005 and is considered to be one of the first and foremost ski resorts in the region. It has a freestyle snowboarding area and offers several different ski runs to visitors, each with a distinct level of difficulty. For ski novices there are also professional skiers available for instruction.
Dubai also has the distinction of having the tallest hotel in the world. Its called Burj Al Arab and stands almost a thousand feet tall. This hotel features over two hundred suites, each complete with large ceiling to floor window and complete with laptop computers and plasma screen televisions. This hotel also features internet access, hot tubs, a full spa, a gym and massage quarters. An interesting feature of the Burj Al Arab is its location. Its situated on an artificial island that is located over eight hundred feet from the shoreline and is connected to the mainland by a causeway. This hotel is luxury at its finest.
For those wishing to get a unique view of the city, there are numerous organizations which offer aerial views of Dubai which are nothing less then spectacular. They give bird eye views of such landmarks as the Palm Jumeirah and Downtown Burj Dubai.