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UAE FactFile

National Flag
Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
National Flag

The UAE is a country made up of seven 'emirates' Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Ras Al-Khaimah, Fujairah. It was founded on December 2, 1971.

This is now celebrated as the annual National Day. This is when the major cities of the emirates are all brightly lit-up and decorated with lights.  


In 1968 six emirates joined hands to form the United Arab Emirates, with Ras Al Khaimah joining the alliance in 1972. Oil was discovered in the early ‘60s and the small settlement in the Bastakiya area alongside the Creek, began to grow and modernise.

The progress can be mostly credited to the late Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who had the foresight and vision to work on a modern Dubai that does not rely on its relatively modest oil reserves for growth and sustainability.

This vision is continued today by the current ruler, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.  


The United Arab Emirates is situated on a pensinsula in the Arabian Gulf. It is bordered by Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the west and south. Iran is the closest country to it from the north. The UAE is 83,600 (including 200 islands - approximately).

On the map, it is situated at: Latitudes: 22¼ - 26.5¼ North Longitudes: 51¼ - 56.5¼ East


The population of Dubai is approximately 1,478,000. There are reportedly about 180 nationalities living and working in Dubai, with the expatriate community far outnumbering the local population. 


The flag of the UAE comprises of three equal horizontal bands with green at the top,white in the middle and black at the bottom,whilst a horizontal band in red runs down the hoist side. The colours are meant to symbolise the ruling families of the Arab nations and their unity.  


Climate and Weather:
Dubai has a sub-tropical climate with temperatures as low as 10 degrees Celsius in winter rising to above 40 degrees Celsius during summer. Rainfall is mainly during December and January. 


The Supreme Council of the UAE, comprising the hereditary rulers of the seven emirates,is the highest federal authority. The President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, are voted in by the members of the Supreme Council. 


Dubai’s economy was built on the back of the oil industry, but by 2000 the oil sector accounted for just 10 per cent of the emirate’s GDP. The city now has manufacturing, finance, information technology industries with several free zones and a thriving tourism sector. Dubai is home to numerous multi-national companies, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world. 


The UAE is a muslim country and although Dubai is very accepting of other religions and cultures, there are certain restrictions that should be adhered to: public displays of affection are frowned upon, and it is polite to cover your shoulders and legs when not on the beach or by the pool.

During Ramadan muslims fast during daylight hours and it is expected that even non-Muslims refrain from eating, drinking,smoking and chewing gum in public.Restaurants that are not affiliated with hotels are closed during the day but remain open for longer at night. Establishments in most hotels remain dry until 7.30pm.There are also places of worship for the christian and hindu communities. 


The official language of the UAE is Arabic.Other languages spoken are English, Hindi,and Farsi. A large number of the expatriate population are from the sub-continent, the Philippines and Iran. So you will find people here speaking Urdu, Tagalog, Hindi, Malayalam, Russian, Spanish and a host of other languages. 


The monetary unit in Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates is the dirham (Dh),which is divided into 100 fils. Currency notes come in the denominations of Dh5, Dh10,Dh20, Dh50, Dh100, Dh200, Dh500 and Dh1,000. The dirham is pegged to the US$ at $1 = Dh3.6725.

Most shopping malls, tourist destinations and hotels have ATM machines and accept most credit cards. Most credit cards are accepted in shops, restaurants and hotels,although there may be some limitation on American Express cards. A service charge is included on most bills, but tipping is welcome: 10 per cent is the norm, with fares for taxis being rounded to the nearest Dh5.