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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) are a Federation consisting of the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Abu Dhabi operates as the capital of the Federation that, with the metropolis of Dubai, is one of the five biggest cities of the region. The city of Dubai is also one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the Middle East. It is famous both for its fascinating skyline and for its luxury hotels and resorts. Beaches and museums along with guided desert tours also attract many visitors. The metropolis of Dubai is also an important logistics location from a commercial perspective. Culturally it is a lively meeting point between tradition and modernity and between western and eastern civilizations.
As the biggest city in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai combines the superlatives of the modern world with traditional aspects that recall stories from the Arabian Nights. Most of the world’s highest skyscrapers are located in Dubai, as is the world’s third-largest airport, the ninth biggest container port and an infrastructure that some large European cities can only dream of. Dubai is the gateway to Asia and from here it is only a short hop to Abu Dhabi or Doha, Manama, Kuwait City or Muscat. As a tourist you can also get around easily within Dubai without a car – especially with the driverless metro which connects Dubai Airport directly to the city center. Tourists appreciate the country and the people as much as the numerous visitor attractions that Dubai has to offer and marvel at. Just abide by a few rules and you can be certain to enjoy the generous hospitality of the local people.
Nevertheless between 14 and 15 million people visit Dubai every year, and most of these are visitors from abroad. As a logistics location and global metropolis in the Middle East, Dubai also attracts many business people. Sophisticated entertainment can be found everywhere – not only at the annual International Film Festival, but also in theater performances in the Madinat Theater, opera and ballet performances and also on a visit to the Streetwise Theater in the Hotel Crowne Plaza. If you want to learn more about the history of the region you will find astonishing reproductions of Arabian settlements in the Heritage Village. The Dubai Museum housed in the Al Fahidi Fort that was formerly used as a fortress is very informative about the history of Dubai and in the Diving Village visitors can learn about the art of pearl diving. Excursions into the desert, a visit to the beach park, the Palm Island and the Miracle Garden with its 45 million or so flowers are all testament to the exciting and also mysterious aspects of Dubai.
However, there is more to the Dubai lifestyle than you can grasp as a tourist. The city and country form one unit, but are subdivided into different sectors. Anyone living temporarily in Dubai will live most of the time in a residential complex with a range of communal facilities such as a swimming pool. Education is important in Dubai. In addition to the excellent schools, including a German-speaking school, Zayed University was established in 1998 which in its first decade was only attended by female students. Many international universities and research institutes operate their own branches in Dubai. Making purchases or indulging in extended shopping can easily become a never ending story in Dubai, because you can never get enough of the markets and their abundance of regional and international products, regardless of whether your next stop is a spice market or a fish market. Elegant fashion from across the world as well as jewelry and everything your heart desires can be purchased in the famous shopping malls.
Gateway to Asia
Skyscrapers, artificial islands, luxury resorts and golf courses – viewed from the outside it seems that you can only enjoy yourself in Dubai with a lot of money. But both city and emirate have significantly more to offer than is presented in the glossy tourist brochures. First and foremost we should mention the overwhelming hospitality that is extended throughout the UAE to everyone who respects the national laws. This is closely followed of course by the numerous leisure activities, particularly appreciated by water sports enthusiasts and the traditional markets where the magic of the orient is unfurled in all its magnificence.