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41 facts of unity in the UAE

With PDF download: 41 achievements that the fathers of the union could never have imagined all those years ago

  • Image Credit: Luis Vazquez/©Gulf News
  • Image Credit: Luis Vazquez/©Gulf News
  • Image Credit: Luis Vazquez/©Gulf News
  • Image Credit: Luis Vazquez/©Gulf News
  • Image Credit: Luis Vazquez/©Gulf News
  • Image Credit: Luis Vazquez/©Gulf News
  • Image Credit: Luis Vazquez/©Gulf News
  • Image Credit:
  • Image Credit: Luis Vazquez/©Gulf News
  • Image Credit: Luis Vazquez/©Gulf News
  • Image Credit: Luis Vazquez/©Gulf News
  • Image Credit: Luis Vazquez/©Gulf News

1. Pass the soap, please
Emirates airline operates the largest fleet of the world’s largest airplane, the Airbus A380. And it was the first airline in the world to provide an on-board shower for its passengers.

2. Can I see your boarding pass, please?
Dubai Duty Free is the busiest travel retailer in the world, with sales worth $1.46 billion (Dh5.36 billion) last year alone. Perfumes account for 15 per cent of their total sales. Travellers picked up 1,702 tonnes of chocolates and 421 tonnes of dates and 347 kilograms of caviar in the first 10 months of this year.

3. And as they race to the post...
Meydan Racecourse is home to the longest grandstand in the world. The course, which opened in March 2009, and is home to the Dubai World Cup, is overlooked by a building which is 1.6 kilometres long.

4. Bigger than Singapore
When the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi officially opened earlier this year, it created an area larger than the entire island of Singapore for trade. It will be the largest container port in the region and KIZAD will account for nearly 15 per cent of GDP when complete.

5. Look ma, no hands
The Dubai Metro system is the longest automated network in the world. The 75-kilometre network has 87 trains — and no drivers. The trains are maintained at a perfect 20 degrees Celsius for passengers and are carbon neutral in operation.

6. The leaning tower of Abu Dhabi
Capital Gate tower in Abu Dhabi is 160 metres high but is recognised as the building with the greatest lean. Its tilt is four times greater than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The 35-storey building forms the centrepiece for the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition.

7. Turning the page
This is Mohammad — is the title of the world’s biggest book and details the life of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). It weighs 1,500 kilograms and was produced by Mshahed Investment Group and was unveiled for the first time in Dubai in August.

8. Taking to the high seas
The world’s largest traditional dhow is currently under construction at Al Jaddaf in Dubai. The vessel will be capable of carrying more cargo further and in an environmentally-friendly manner than any other vessel of its type. That’s blending old sea skills with new ones.

9. That's a long way up
If you want to go dune-bashing with attitude, take on the Tel Moreeb dune near Liwa on the edge of Rubh Al Khali. It has a 50 degree incline and has a height of over 300 metres. And for the record, Tel Moreeb translates as "Scary Hill." It's also 1600 metres wide - if you get to the top.

10. Pass me a five iron
The DP World Tour Championship is the culmination of the golf season’s ups and downs where 60 of the best golfers on the planet compete head to head for the biggest prize money on the European Tour. It’s held annually at the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

11. The rate of progress
Last week, between the bid for Expo2020, the proposed development of Mohammad Bin Rashid City in Dubai and the development of theme parks and entertainment attractions in Jebel Ali, more than $50 billion in new projects were unveiled. Now that’s progress.

12. Bulls eye! Gold medal performance
Shaikh Ahmad Bin Hasher Al Maktoum remains the UAE’s greatest ever Olympian. He has proudly represented the nation at three Olympic Games, winning gold in the double trap event in Athens in 2004.

13. What’s that down there?
The Palm Jumeirah is the world’s largest artificial island and is visible from space. If you were to build its concrete as a wall five metres high and five metres thick, you could reach the Moon. It adds 520 kilometres of shoreline to the UAE. Oh,  and it has the region’s only monorail as well.

14. There’s something fishy here
The middle of the desert is the last place you’d expect to find fresh fish. But not so at the southern end of the Liwa oasis crescent, where a fish farm fed from aquifers produces several species of freshwater fish for Abu Dhabi-area supermarkets.

15. Where did I leave my car?
Dubai Mall has 3.9 million square feet of retail space, making it the biggest shopping mall in the world. It boasts the longest acrylic tunnel in the world under the mall’s aquarium. And the building used more steel than contained in the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

16. Three. Two. One. We have liftoff
On April 23, 2011, the UAE joined the space race. It’s first satellite was sent into orbit on a European Space Agency Arianne rocket launched from French Guiana. The satellite is orbiting 36,000 kilometres above Earth and provides enhanced telecommunications services.

17. The long way round...
In August, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, led the UAE Endurance Team to gold in the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships in Suffolk, England. The team covered 160 kilometres of terrain in 7 hours 45 minutes at an average speed of 22.82 km/h.

18. Ohh! That was a nice one
We love our fireworks. When the Palm Atlantic opened on September 24, 2008, the entire circumference of the Palm Jumeirah was lit up in a spectacular display of pyrotechnics. The $20 million show cost $3 million more than the fireworks used for the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, up to then, the most elaborate display ever.

19. Excuse me while I take this call
There may be 8 million living in the UAE, but at the end of March, there were 12.36 million cell phones — legal ones — in use here. That’s a penetration rate of 154 per cent. A majority of us may only have one number, but there are many with many numbers.

20. Funnel vision
When Cunard built the luxury liner Queen Elizabeth 2, she was the most elegant passenger vessel afloat. Since November, 2008, the QE2 is docked at Port Rashid and is earmarked as a luxury floating hotel and apartments with a permanent home soon on the Palm Jumeirah.

21. Flying high
The UAE doesn’t just buy planes, it also helps build them. Parts for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners are manufactured at Al Ain’s aerospace hub, with Strata supplying composite materials for the aircraft.

22. It’s a sea cow
Dugong remain an endangered species, but the UAE is leading the fight to save the sea cows. The nation has banned drift net fishing and has strict laws to protect the dugong. Sir Bani Yas island and environments is a protected area for the species.

23. Call 9.9.9.
When the Dubai Metro opened on the ninth day of the ninth month of the ninth year — at 9pm, it became the first train service to open in the region. It was opened by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

24. From the land to the sea
Since July, about 70 per cent of the UAE’s daily oil production can be shipped by pipeline to Fujairah, avoiding the potential bottleneck at the Strait of Hormuz. The pipeline can move 1.8 million barrels of oil per day to the storage facilities on the Gulf of Oman.

25. Come on City!
Abu Dhabi United Group purchased Manchester City Football Club in August 2008, paving the way for unprecedented success in the English Premier League. Under the group’s ownership, the club has been transformed into an elite organisation, capped by winning the 2011-2012 Premier title.

26. Dates, anyone?
According to the Guinness World Records, the UAE is home to the most date palm trees anywhere on the planet. When they were counted in 2009 there were 42 million date palm trees here.

27. Flying higher and bigger
Emirates and Etihad have placed firm orders for 100 superjumbo Airbus A380s. Together, the airlines’ orders will mean that the UAE is home to more of the double-decker planes than anywhere else in the world. That’s one reason why Dubai airport and Emirates will be opening a dedicated terminal — the first in the world — for its A380s.

28. Making a splash
The Fountain at the Burj Khalifa is capable of firing jets of water 130 metres high — as high as a 50-storey building, making it the most powerful and biggest automated fountain in the world. The lights shining from the fountain are visible from 35 kilometres above.

29. But is it art?
The Louvre Museum, when it opens in Abu Dhabi in 2015, will be the first universal museum in the Arab world — showing art and pieces spanning all time periods and all cultures. The 24,000 square metre complex will feature some 300 pieces of art and other exhibitions from the French museum.

30. A place of prayer
The Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is the largest in the country at 22,412 square metres and can accommodate nearly 41,000 worshippers. The mosque contains the world’s largest chandelier that is 15 metres high, 10 metres in diameter and weighs more then nine tonnes.

31. Your remaining balance is...
The Emirates Palace Hotel is home to the first bank machine in the UAE — and the world — that distributes gold bars. Since May, 2010, the machine has been spitting out the precious metal on average 150 times daily.

32. A great night for racing
The Dubai World Cup meeting is the richest night of horse racing anywhere on the planet. The world’s best come to race at Meydan. At the 2012 meeting, they challenged for $27.25 million in winner’s purses.

33. Going up, please
Dubai holds the record for having the tallest residential building in the world. The Princess Tower, which was completed earlier this year, rises to 414 metres, surpassing the neighbouring Torch building as the tallest.

34. We live to move it, move it
The UAE economy has proved to be robust and resilient. According to the latest data from UAE Ministry of Economy, Gross Domestic Product is worth Dh1 trillion, with the economy growing at 4 per cent in 2012.

35. What’s that red blur?
That red flash just passing you by is the world’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. And that’s the world’s largest indoor theme park as well. Fun without the sun!

36. I just need to get some cash
The UAE has one of the highest per capita rates of automated teller machines in urban areas in the world. There are almost 5,000 ATMs located throughout the UAE, up from 2,400 in 2008. The Marshall Islands in the Pacific is still waiting for its first.

37. Bowling a maiden over
The Guinness World Records acknowledges the special place in the UAE’s sporting history of the Sharjah Cricket Grounds. The venue holds the record for hosting the most ODI tests, a feat achieved during the Sri Lanka and Pakistan meeting on November 20, 2011.

38. Carat cake
The Golden Phoenix is the world’s most expensive cupcake, setting you back $1,000. It’s adorned with edible 23 carat gold sheets and chocolate. It comes on a 24 carat gold cake stand and is dusted with edible gold dust. Anyone for carrot cake?

39. Harnessing the Sun
When Masdar City is fully completed, it will be home to 60,000 people living and working in the greenest place on earth. More than 80 per cent of the water there will be recycled, with its power needs coming entirely from renewable sources.

40. On the world stage
The finest moment for UAE footballers came when the team reached the finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Sadly, the team lost its group games to Colombia, West Germany and Yugoslavia. In 1996, the team narrowly lost the final of the Asian Cup on penalties to Saudi Arabia.

41. The tallest in the world.
The UAE’s soaring success as a nation is exemplified by having the world’s tallest building. The Burj Khalifa soars 828 metres above Dubai and places the nation truly on the world map. The Adam Smith-designed building took six years to complete and was officially opened on January 4, 2010. And that’s why other all other nations look up to the UAE!

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A nation celebrates: 41 facts of unity