Originally a small fishing settlement, Dubai was taken over in the 18th century by a branch of the Bani Yas tribe led by the Maktoum family who still rule the emirate today. At that time the usual modes of attaining sustenance were herding sheep and goats, cultivating dates, fishing and pearling. However, the liberal attitude of the rulers made the emirate attractive to traders from India and Iran. In 1971, joining together with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and (in 1972) Ras Al Khaimah formed the federation of the United Arab Emirates.Discovery of oil in the 1960's laid the foundation for today's modern society. Dubai has a sub-tropical arid climate with infrequent rainfall.
Temperature range between 10 degrees C and 48 degrees C. The official language is Arabic. In matters of commerce, English and Arabic are both used.The city is located on the banks of Creek, a natural seawater inlet cutting through the center of the city.
Central business is divided into two parts. Deira is on the northern side and Bur Dubai is in the south, connected by a tunnel and two bridges. Each has its share of business centers, shopping malls, hotels, residential and commercial complexes, hospitals and schools.
Some of the tourist spots worth mentioning are landscaped public gardens on the Bur side of Dubai; a bird sanctuary near a shallow lagoon at the inland end of the Creek which attracts migrating shore birds; the Wild Wadi water park featuring 23 water rides and a fake thunderstorm; Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort; desert safaris; Sundower dune dinner (dinner theatre); the Gold Souk, the famous shopping area; Sheikh Saeed house (former residence of the ruling family); and the museum located at Al Fahidi fort.
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By: Damian Sofsian