The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a constitutional federation made up of seven emirates: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Umm al-Qaiwain, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, and Ajman. The country itself covers the tip of the Arabian Peninsula and borders both Saudi Arabia and Oman. The peninsula of the UAE acts as a barrier between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
The land today known as the UAE has been inhabited since 5500BC and has been a stop on trading routes for thousands of years. During the 7th Century, Islam spread to the region. In the 19th Century, the seven sheikhs of the present-day emirates signed an agreement with the United Kingdom for protection against invasion by sea from other foreign powers. This was the first semblance of the seven emirates of the UAE and allowed for the development of sea industries, like pearl harvesting which was the most profitable of the UAE’s industries in the 19th and 20th Centuries. After several years of cooperation, these emirates entered into a formal agreement in 1971, creating the United Arab Emirates following the end of the protection treaty provided by the United Kingdom.
Today, the United Arab Emirates is one of the richest countries on earth in terms of natural resources. The country has the seventh-largest oil reserves and the seventeenth-largest natural gas reserves in the world. Each emirate is governed by a monarch, known as the Sheikh. These Sheikh’s have invested much of the country’s wealth into infrastructure and education, creating a modern and growing country. Today, the UAE forms an easily accessible Middle Eastern country for visitors. It is a wonderful introduction to the mysterious world of the Arabian Peninsula.
The United Arab Emirates have a little bit of something for everyone. The beaches are pristine with clear water that refreshes even on the hottest days. If it is really is too hot to be outside, consider a trip to one of the indoor winter wonderlands where you can ski, sled or snowboard to your heart’s content. Shopping is also a great option. Dubai is home to some of the best shopping malls in the world. For nature-lovers, a trip to the mountain town of Hatta rewards with magnificent views. And desert safaris create an unforgettable, adrenalin-filled evening. Finally, take some time to enjoy the opulent restaurants and magnificent architecture found around this Middle Eastern nation.
Both Dubai’s and Abu Dhabi’s international airports welcome flights from around the world. There is an additional international airport in Sharjah that hosts flight originating in the Middle East. It is also possible to reach the UAE by car from neighboring countries or by ship. It’s important to note that anyone with entry or exit stamps from Israel will be denied entrance to the UAE.
Once you have safely arrived in the United Arab Emirates, travel around the country is easily completed by metro, taxis, rental cars and buses.