Dubai is the biggest and most populated city in the country known as The United Arab Emirates. It is located on the South-Eastern coast of the Persian Gulf, a portion of the globe that has a definite rich history. Dubai is one of the seven cities that make up the Emirates and is probably one of the most beautiful. It is at the absolute epicenter of all that is “big money” and “big business” in the Middle East, and it is easy to see why. Their economy is primarily based on tourism, financial trading, aviation, real estate and other sources of income, but tourism is definitely the main source of income for its incredible wealth. Many flock to the city so they too can set foot in the richest place on Earth.
But it wasn’t always so, as they, like any other country, suffered many lows and their cultured history as a whole shows how far they, as a people, have come to establish themselves as one of the biggest and richest places in the world.
In this article, we’ll take you back and fill you in on some interesting facts you should know about the city from when they weren’t the biggest tourist attraction in the world, and we’ll also tell you about a few things you may not have known about the city nowadays. And trust us, if you’re planning to go you’ll want to read every word of this article, so you too can be “in the know.”
25 A CITY FULL OF SKYSCRAPERS
The city has definitely evolved since the nineties and you'll read exactly how and why in this article.
Back in the early nineties, the city had only a single skyscraper atop its vast territory. Not exactly the ideal skyline for a budding city!
However, today, the city is considered to have one of the most beautiful skylines in the world, filled with a whopping four hundred skyscrapers threatening to scratch at the very ceiling of our globe. Many records were broken in building that skyline and the buildings are definitely an incredible sight to behold.
24 HOME TO THE WORLD'S TALLEST BUILDING
And thus, the city lies claim to the absolute tallest building in the world. Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest building, coming in at approximately 830 meters from ground to tip! That's definitely a long way up. Talk about a tall skyscraper!
Nestled within this beautiful feat of architecture there lies a mosque, a restaurant, a nightclub and also an observation deck.
Think of it as Dubai's Empire State Building, only taller.
Imagine dining at such a height. Those of you afraid of heights might want to avoid any glances towards the windows as you enjoy the great food.
23 THE FAST BREAK FOR RAMADAN IS LONGER THERE
According to the sacred beliefs of Islam, Ramadan is the period of fasting that is respected all over the world by those who practice it, and it is done to celebrate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. It lasts for about 29 or 30 days, depending on the sightings of the crescent moon. It is sacred and very difficult, yet Muslims have been practicing this for centuries. The fast begins at dawn and finished at sunset, every day.
Interestingly enough, in Dubai, fast times are longer, because the buildings are higher up in the sky, thus, citizens or anyone visiting can see the sun for longer periods of time during the daylight, and so, there is a longer wait to break the fast.
22 RULES TO FOLLOW: LOUD MUSIC IS A NO-NO during ramadan
Dubai is known for its culture and music. In fact, they have quite a number of rather famous nightclubs where the music can sometimes be quite loud.
But not during Ramadan!
During Ramadan, if you so happen to decide to play your music at say, maximum volume or close to it, you may be faced with a rather hefty fine.
The city is accommodating, but when Ramadan is underway, it is expected that any and all visiting must respect the ways of the city as well. But hey, you can always listen to that new Metallica album at low.
21 CONTAINS THE WORLD'S MOST LUXURIOUS HOTEL
This building is definitely an incredible sight. The architecture is definitely superior to many hotels and beyond that, it is strategically placed atop the beautiful water that surrounds the city. Shots of the hotel are definitely breathtaking and many travelers have come to Dubai in hopes of spending at least one night in the magnificent tower.
Burj Al Arab is the most expensive and luxurious hotel in the world and the only such place to have an astounding 7 -star rating score.
In addition to the incredible jaw-dropping architecture, the interior is adorned and decorated with actual and authentic gold-leaf, valued at 24 carats.
20 THE LARGEST SHOPPING MALL IN THE WORLD
And yet still, it isn't only the hotels and skyscrapers in Dubai that have rattled the rest of the world. In fact, the city is also home to the world's largest shopping mall. Imagine shopping for clothes, designer shoes and whatever your heart desires in the largest shopping mall in the world? Maybe some would choose never to return to their homes.
The mall, simply called The Dubai Mall, is home to an incredible 1 200 stores!
And each location is official and they are all the world's top designers and brand names. Looks like they don't carry any generic brands at all.
19 RULES TO FOLLOW: DON'T EAT IN PUBLIC DURING RAMADAN
Seeing that most of the city is respecting Ramadan, it's more than understandable that it is frowned upon to be eating in public when traveling the streets of Dubai. It's actually kind of rude. Imagine eating a tasty piece of cheesecake in front of someone who just started a diet. Kind of along those lines, but quite a bit more serious.
Travelers of different cultures are required to eat in the privacy of their hotel rooms, but all kitchens will be closed during Ramadan, so the proper precautions must be taken. Like it would be a good idea to buy as much food as possible at sundown for the following day.
And smoking is also forbidden during such times.
18 THE WONDER THAT IS PALM ISLAND
Photographs of the incredible Palm Island have been mesmerizing people for a while now. In fact these photographs have caused more and more travelers to flock to the city than any other travel photograph. Just look at the inviting landscape--or should we say seascape--that is promised at the location.
What's definitely interesting about Palm Island, is that it was actually Man-made.
That's right, each grain of sand was placed there by capable human hands and the island is actually visible from space!
17 RULES TO FOLLOW: DON'T USE YOUR LEFT HAND & OTHER HAND GESTURES TO AVOID
In Muslim cultures, the left hand is considered the hand used for body hygiene. So greeting anyone with the left hand is pretty much frowned upon. Also, try not eating with your left hand or handing anybody food with your left hand.
Interestingly enough, it is okay to drink a beverage with your left hand. Many left handed individuals who have visited the city have actually practiced to use their right hand at all times in order to avoid any uncomfortable and offending situations.
16 HAS THE TALLEST RESIDENTIAL TOWER IN THE WORLD
It is no wonder now, that Dubai is one of the most quickly developing cities in the world. And thus, their residential tenements would no doubt have to keep up with all of their business buildings.
In fact, the city is also home to the tallest residential building.
The tower is known as Princess Tower--a very fitting name--and it houses many citizens of Dubai. Talk about luxurious. Can you imagine the team of maintenance workers that are involved with the upkeep of that building. It's probably more like a fleet!
15 WAS ONE OF THE LOCATIONS OF FILMING FOR THE ICONIC FAST AND FURIOUS 7
The Fast and The Furious is a multi-million dollar cinematic franchise that is known globally. That is why when it was time for Vin Diesel and the gang to shoot scenes for the seventh instalment of the film, they headed for Dubai and used some of their tallest buildings.
There is a very memorable scene, where Diesel and co-star, the late Paul Walker, are stealing an exotic car and the only way down is to drive the car from building to building--three in total!
The scene was absolutely unrealistic, but hey, it made for some definite excitement, and plus, there were great shots of the beautiful city.
14 THE POLICE FORCE DRIVES LUXURY CARS
And is it any wonder that the police force drive luxury cars? Hardly. North America thought it was awesome when police forces all over the continent started using Dodge Chargers as cruisers and yes, that is amazing. But Dubai takes it further and they take the cake when it comes to most incredible cars used for catching the criminal element.
Believe it or not, cops drive a Bugatti Veyron, one of the most expensive and luxurious cars on the planet.
And in case you were wondering, the price tag on one of those puppies is set at about 1.5 million dollars! Hardly your granddaddy's luxury car now is it?
13 THE CITY HAS THE LONGEST AUTOMATED METRO
The city is also home to the world's longest automated metro. It has no drivers and is completely remote. It measures out at an astounding 47 miles.
It is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Operation started in 2009 and it has two lines: the green line and the red line, with plans for another line in the works. The metro line runs the gamut of the city, and travels both below ground and on the surface. It has a total of 49 stations situated all over the city, making travel quite easy and fast.
12 NO TAXES
Can you imagine living where there are no taxes?!
Residents living in the beautiful city don't have to pay personal income taxes. They get to keep their money, as their government makes their own capital.
That's right, 100% free of income taxation.
I wonder how many people around the world applied for citizenship, and is it all that easy to become a citizen of Dubai? Alas, that's a question for another time, it seems. But here is more proof that the city is definitely living in the green, so to speak, as the governing body does not rely on its citizens to pay up every year.
11 RULES TO FOLLOW: NO PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
This is something that bothers just about everybody nowadays, as it can get pretty disturbing to watch a couple that's madly in love carrying on inappropriately at the next table when dining out on a terrace on a beautiful evening. In North America and other parts of the world, it is acceptable, despite it being a tad rude.
But, in Dubai, public displays of affection are frowned upon big time.
It is regarded as rude and disrespectful and can lead to some reprimand, depending on where a particular couple finds themselves.
10 LARGEST FLOWER GARDEN IN THE WORLD
There are many beautiful flower gardens all over the world, renowned for their beauty, their color and the multitude of flower and plant species they feature. Japan is known for its gorgeous gardens, and there are many beautiful gardens all over, but Dubai lays claim to having the largest and arguably, the most beautiful flower garden on the planet.
It's known as Dubai Miracle Garden--an apt name indeed--and it is 72 000 square meters large. That's huge! It has more than 45 million flowers and countless species. The garden is actually considered one of the city's main tourist attractions, and we can understand why.
9 ATM MACHINES THAT DISPENSE GOLD BARS
It sounds like something out of a magical Disney film depicting some miraculous place where fairies douse you with pixie dust and magic carpets fly the sky, but no, it isn't something that was scripted at the Disney studios and offices, Dubai actually has ATM machines that dispense actual gold. They can be found at many locations, as the city's shops and some other locations accept gold as currency.
It's true, and carrying around gold like that will make you feel like a character in Treasure Island, or Treasure Planet, depending on your age, of course.
8 THE MOST AMOUNT OF GOLD TRADED ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD
The city is the location where the most amount of gold is traded, beating any major financial district in the world. And that includes Manhattan and the ever famous Wall Street. That's right, the financial traders in Dubai are now the new Masters of the Universe, and gold is one of their biggest financial commodities.
Not to mention, the massive amount of jewelry shops that can be found in the city. If you want to buy that special someone a great gift, why not purchase a gold necklace in Dubai on your next business trip there, just be willing to leave the deed to your house as a deposit. Let's hope she likes the necklace!
7 NO POTHOLES ON THeir STREETS
A metropolis with such an economy should be expected to be perfect and in every way. So many cities in North America charge an incredible amount in taxes, and yet their streets are so defiled with potholes, cars are showing up in droves at local service stations with flat tires, regardless of how much money the cities make.
But not in Dubai. In Dubai, the citizens enjoy the luxuries they pay for--despite the fact that they don't even pay taxes. In Dubai, everything is kept in perfect working order and the streets are pothole free.
6 RULES TO FOLLOW: DON'T SNAP TOO MANY PICTURES
Another rule to follow before packing up and heading for the most beautiful and expensive city in the world: bring along the phone, but try not to be too camera-happy while there. Try to be respectful of where you're pointing that thing and try to avoid aiming it at people that don't want their pictures taken.
Specifically, try not to snap any pictures of women, children or families that don't want their pictures taken without permission.
If you do, you are likely to be reprimanded, or much worse.
5 AIR CONDITIONED BUS STOPS
Just imagine, you're waiting for the bus, the day is hot, the sun presses down upon you with an unforgiving force. The humidity is causing you to drip with sweat and there's nowhere to cool off. You can't even find a corner store where you can buy a bottle of a cool bottle of soda. This may be the case in many cities around the world or even in your own home town, but it isn't the case in Dubai.
It's true. In Dubai, now get ready for this one, the bus shacks are air-conditioned. You can wait for the bus inside the cool and comfortable space provided by the city. And if you enjoy the cool air while waiting for the bus a little too much, and the bus shows up, why not wait for the next one to show up and soak up as much of that cool air as you can?
4 HISTORICALLY, it was once THE PEARL-TRAPPING CAPITAL
As we said before, Dubai wasn't always the city it is today. There were many years of pain in the country, and both in a political sense and a financial one. But the city and its remarkable people always found a way to survive.
As it were, there was a time when it was considered the pearl trading epicenter of the Emirates.
This was primarily because of the Al-Falasi clan that settled in the area in the 19th century and fished and dove for pearls, leading to the vast supply of pearls in the area and the prominence that would follow in future centuries. Today, there are many pearl museums that showcase the rich pearling history that the city has.
Hey, it's good to know a little history before visiting a place, isn't it?
3 OIL, OIL, OIL
And of course, there is the whole oil thing. We couldn't talk about a middle-eastern city without bringing up this very expensive and controversial natural resource, now could we?
The city wasn't going to get very far on gold and pearls alone, thus the discovery of oil in 1966 was a definitive game-changer. They would export oil for the first time in 1969, and it was then that the economy of the entire Emirates would begin to skyrocket, leading to what would come for Dubai and its bright financial future, and it would be from that exact time that the once humble city would undergo transformation after transformation.
2 THE PERSIAN GULF WAR: AN ALL-TIME LOW FOR DUBAI
There are many that have spoken about the Persian Gulf war and its impact on today's political scene. It was definitely a terrible time in the world's history, and the impact was thrice felt in Dubai and other cities within the Emirates.
The city suffered an all-time low, even the riches it had enjoyed at the prospect of oil and its history with pearls seemed very far away indeed, and the poverty and terrible times would ensue until the mid-nineties, when things started to turn around for the city.
1 THEY OVERCAME AND BECAME THE RICHEST CITY IN THE WORLD
But from that point on, the city, its leaders and its people haven't looked back since. They have grown spectacularly in the short amount of time and at break-neck speed. The advancements they've made in technology, infrastructure, policy and in the financial and hospitality fields are unparalleled, and many look to them for inspiration is such fields.
So, at the end of the day, a beautiful place to travel if you can afford it and if you can respect the rules, a wonderful place to spend a few weeks ... or months.
Sources: destinationtips.com ; ohfact.com ; blog.raynatours.com ; wikipedia.org