The UAE has been introducing new and more advanced reforms ever since it got its independence from the British in 1971. In a matter of a few years, the country changed from a desert to a bustling hotspot of tourism, so much so that there are people from around 200 different nationalities living in the UAE. Here are some fun facts about the UAE that reflect the interesting history, culture, and things in this rapidly developing nation.
Historical Facts About The UAE
The UAE is a relatively young country, but it has a lot of historical significance. The country is renowned for its innovations and towering skyscrapers, but it also embraces its heritage by preserving ancient traditions such as falconry and camel racing. Here are some historical facts about the UAE that will give you a glimpse into the history of this beautiful country.
Oil Wasn’t Always The Most Significant Resource In The Country
Oil is a key commodity the UAE is known for today, but it wasn’t always that way. Before oil was discovered in the UAE, the country had a thriving pearling and fishing industry. Many people’s livelihood was associated with the pearling sector. It did not bring in as much money as oil, but it definitely helped in growing the economy.
However, the country’s fate totally changed with the discovery of oil. The country now produces over 4 million barrels of oil a day, and counting.
The UAE Evolved Really Fast After Its Independence
In the 1990s, there was a boom in the development of infrastructure which changed the UAE into what it is today. Thanks to the wealth attained from oil, the UAE has developed a rather strong economy, which funds its rapid growth. It is believed that almost a quarter of all of the world’s cranes are in the UAE because of the several mega projects being carried out in the country on a regular basis.
Archeological Finds In UAE
One remarkable archeological find from the UAE is the Abu Dhabi Pearl, excavated on Marawah Island. This pearl is known to be the oldest natural pearl in the world, as it is said to be around 8000 years old. This discovery, along with the many rich archaeological sites, remains to be some of the fascinating facts about Abu Dhabi.
The UAE is also home to Islamic and Pre-Islamic era tombs and artifacts, providing glimpses into the cultural and religious practices of the time. Researchers have also found some very sophisticated weapons and tools that were used by people living in the region hundreds of years ago. Sharjah is one of the best sites for archeological discoveries in the UAE.
UAE Was A British Protectorate For Some Time
One fact about the UAE is that it officially gained its independence in 1971. Before that, it was a British Protectorate for around 75 years.
The emirates that now form the UAE were then known as the Trucial States. The British got into an agreement with the Trucial States to protect them from external aggression in return for safeguarding British trade interests in the region.
However, with time, many political, strategic, and economic issues arose that made it difficult for the British to maintain their status as the protector of the Trucial States. Thus, in 1968, it was announced that the British would withdraw from the region.
Cultural Facts About The UAE
The culture and society in the UAE are based on Islamic values. However, with over 80% of the population coming from other parts of the world, the cultural fabric has become quite diverse. Here are some interesting facts about the UAE and its prominent cultures.
The UAE Has One Of The Lowest Crime Rates In The World
It is a well-known fact about the UAE that the laws are very strict. Punishments for breaking the law include massive fines and lengthy jail time.
The UAE also has the death penalty, and people who are involved in crimes like rape, murder, espionage, and drug smuggling are executed by firing squad. Such a strong response to crimes is the reason that people are very careful and try their best to follow the laws in the UAE.
The UAE’s Desert Landscape Is Not Only Vast But Also Offers Plenty Of Exciting Activities
The desert of the UAE, predominantly the Arabian Desert, is characterized by plains, sand sheets, sand dunes, sabkhas, burqas, and mesas. This captivating terrain, once crossed by Bedouin nomads, showcases the unique beauty of the region.
One of the most popular ways to experience the desert is through a desert safari. You can embark on thrilling adventures like dune bashing, where skilled drivers navigate the sandy slopes in 4×4 vehicles, providing an adrenaline-pumping ride.
Additionally, you can try sandboarding, a thrilling sport that involves gliding down the dunes on a board, much like snowboarding.
For those seeking a taste of traditional Emirati culture, camel riding is a must. You can hop on a camel’s back and explore the desert at a leisurely pace, immersing yourself in the serenity of the surroundings. To make the experience even more memorable, many desert safaris offer the opportunity to witness mesmerizing sunsets over the golden sands.
The UAE Is A Gold Country
The UAE is known for many amazing things, but one of the most significant ones is the amount of gold that is traded in the country. The country’s gold trade accounts for 25% of the global gold trade.
The Gold Souk market in Dubai is one of the largest gold markets in the world. You can also find ATMs in the UAE that dispense gold bars instead of cash. These are some of the incredibly fascinating facts about Dubai that visitors come to check out firsthand.
Camel Milk Chocolates Are Loved In The Country
Camels are a big part of Arab culture. People regularly drink camel milk in the UAE, and it is used in other things like chocolates, biscuits, and other UAE food.
You can find many desserts made with camel milk, including some ice creams. Camel milk is considered to be more nutritious and healthier than cow milk. So desserts made with camel milk don’t just offer a unique and exquisite taste, but they are also good for your health.
Sunday Became Part Of The Weekend In 2022
Saturday and Sunday are considered the weekend in most parts of the world. However, in the UAE, the weekend initially constituted Thursday and Friday.
Friday is the most important day of the week, which is why many Muslim countries include Friday in their weekends and exclude Sundays. In 2022, the UAE officially changed its weekend to Saturday and Sunday. This change was made so that the business operations in the UAE would resonate with the global markets.
The UAE Flag Was Designed By A Citizen
The colors red, white, and green are considered Pan-Arab colors. This is why you find one or all of these colors in the flags of Arab countries. The flag of UAE has one vertical red stripe and green, white, and black horizontal stripes.
One fact about the UAE flag you might not know is that it was designed by a citizen of the country. A country-wide contest was held in 1971 for the design of the flag. The design by Abdulla Mohammed Al Ma’enah was chosen out of over 1000 entries.
Simple Facts About The UAE For Kids
UAE offers a lot of entertainment for kids, from unique and educational places like a suspended aquarium, Dubai Dino to amazing theme parks in the country. Here are some interesting facts about the UAE for kids.
The Largest Suspended Aquarium In The World
Located at the Dubai Mall, you will find one of the most beautiful aquariums in the world with over 33000 aquatic animals. You can see these aquatic animals swimming around the world just inches away from you. The aquarium has a capacity of 10 million liters which makes it the largest suspended aquarium in the world.
That’s partly why the ginormous mall is one of the key landmarks in Dubai frequented by both locals and travelers.
UAE’s Response To The Surge of Artificial Intelligence
Everyone knew that AI was going to be a force to reckon with in the future, but no one knew that the development of AI would be so rapid. However, the UAE seemed to be prepared for it. In 2017, the UAE decided to have a minister of state for artificial intelligence long before any other country thought about doing anything to utilize the potential of AI.
This was one year before the first model of ChatGPT was rolled out. The tech community in the UAE is extremely proactive. Even now, when the potential of AI is quite visible, no other country has appointed a separate minister for AI.
To learn more about the fascinating outlook of the UAE, the Museum of the Future in Dubai is an interesting attraction to visit.
Dubai Dino Is A Great Archeological Find
Dubai Dino is an exhibit in Dubai Mall that showcases the skeleton of a dinosaur called Diplodocus longus. This was a long-necked herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Jurassic period.
One of the best things about Dubai Dino is that it has almost all of its bones fossilized, so there isn’t much missing from its skeletal structure. However, some of the bones are broken, which may show that the dinosaur died after a fight with another dinosaur. The fossils were discovered in Wyoming, USA, and carefully transferred to the UAE.
Middle East’s First Indoor Ski Resort Is In The UAE
Ski Dubai has been the inspiration for many recent indoor ski resorts. It opened in 2005 at the Mall of the Emirates and has quickly become one of the most beloved things to do in Dubai.
An artificial mountain 85 meters tall was constructed for skiing. It has several ski runs so multiple ski enthusiasts can experience the fun at the same time. The resort also has the first indoor black diamond course on earth.
First Arab Nation To Reach Mars
The UAE has one of the most ambitious space programs in the Arab world. In 2021, it became the first Arab country to send a space probe to Mars. At the time, UAE was the fifth country to achieve this feat.
The Emirates Mars Mission is aimed at providing Emirati astronauts and engineers an opportunity to learn more about the Martian atmosphere.
The Middle East And North Africa (MENA) Region Has The Highest Numbers Of World Records
The UAE is part of MENA, which consists of around 21 countries from North Africa and the Middle East. It tops the list for having the greatest number of Guinness World Records amongst the MENA nations.
The country regularly breaks world records and currently holds over 400 Guinness World Records. Out of the seven emirates in the UAE, Dubai is renowned for having the highest number of records.
Useful UAE Facts For Travelers
If you are moving to the UAE for work or traveling for fun, these United Arab Emirates facts can be quite helpful.
Ferrari World Is One Of The Best Attractions For Automobile Enthusiasts
One of the most exciting UAE facts for car lovers or Ferrari fans is that the country has its very own Ferrari-themed park.
The park’s construction started in 2007, and it was inaugurated in 2010. The theme park is known to have the fastest roller coaster in the world, called the Formula Rossa.
Dubai Mall Is The Second Largest Mall In The World
For many years, Dubai Mall was the largest mall in the world based on the retail floor area. However, it was recently overtaken by Iran Mall.
It is one of the most popular places in the country. In 2011, the Dubai Mall was the most visited place on the planet. There are over 1200 stores and around 120 restaurants.
First 7-Star Hotels In The World
The Burj Al Arab is one of the tallest buildings in the world, but its height isn’t the most impressive thing about it. The Burj Al Arab has the distinction of being the world’s first 7-star hotel.
You can find a lot of luxurious amenities at the hotel but be prepared for the massive financial cost that comes with the Burj Al Arab experience. Real 24-karat gold was used to decorate the interior of the hotel.
More Than 80% Of The Population Consists Of Expats
The UAE became a hotspot for overseas jobs for people from countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and many other countries. Over 80% of the population consists of people from other countries, and these foreigners have played a huge role in the development of the country. With multinational companies from Europe and America opening their offices in the UAE, people from those parts of the world are also making their way there.
The Frame In Dubai
The skyscrapers in the UAE may provide a great backdrop to your photos, but quite extraordinarily, you can also find a large photo frame already built for you. The striking Dubai frame is one of the most visited structures in the UAE with an observatory.
Once you reach the top, you can get a view of the entire Dubai. You can even see both the older and modern areas of the city from the frame.
PDA Is Not Allowed In The UAE
One of the important facts about the UAE to take note of is that they follow strict Islamic laws, so you should avoid all types of PDA (Public Display of Affection) here. These can include anything from holding hands to kissing in public.
Holding hands is somewhat tolerable for married people, but it is considerate to respect local culture. Many tourists have landed in jail because of public displays of affection. You may also have to pay a hefty fine for such acts.
Common Facts About The UAE
There Are Seven Emirates In UAE
The UAE initially became a country with six emirates in December 1971. The seventh and last emirate was Ras-Al-Khaimah, which was included in the union in 1972. The initial six emirates that formed the UAE were:
- Abu Dhabi
- Umm Al Quwain
Burj Khalifa Is Located In The UAE
One of the most popular landmarks in the UAE is the Burj Khalifa. Many people visiting the UAE plan to see the Burj Khalifa at least once. It has been the world’s tallest building since 2009.
The total height of the building is 828 meters. It took over five years and $1.5 billion to construct. You can head up to the 124th and 125th floors for some fantastic views of Dubai.
For more premium access, you can even get a tour and go all the way to the 148th floor with exclusive observation decks during sunset hour.
Police Cars In The United Arab Emirates
No matter where you live in the world, the police cars in the UAE will always be cooler than the police cars in your country.
UAE police literally use luxury supercars. These cars not only symbolize the massive wealth of the country but also ensure that the police can easily chase down lawbreakers.
The Man-Made Islands In UAE
The United Arab Emirates is known to have some of the most unique artificial islands in the world. They are not the first country to make artificial islands, but they are perhaps the most innovative.
The World Islands are a small group of islands that are designed on the map of the world. If you want, you can buy property on these islands exactly in the location of your country. The Palm Jumeirah islands, on the other hand, are designed in the shape of a palm tree which is found in abundance in the Arab region.
Camel Races And Robot Jockeys
One of the interesting facts about the UAE is that it is known for its camel racing tradition. Camel racing is a popular sport in the country, and the UAE has invested in modernizing the sport by introducing robot jockeys.
Traditionally, young children were used as jockeys in camel races, which raised concerns about child exploitation and safety. In response, the UAE introduced robot jockeys in the early 2000s. These small robots are equipped with whips and can be remotely controlled by trainers riding alongside the track.
Leaning Tower Of The UAE
The Capital Gate building is known for its incredible architectural design and holds the distinction of being the world’s furthest-leaning man-made tower. Its unique design has attracted the name “Leaning Tower of the Middle East,” which is a nod to the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy. The capital gate building actually leans five times the angle of the leaning tower of Pisa.
Other Interesting Facts About The UAE
Here are some other facts on the UAE that might interest you.
There Are Several Royal Families In The UAE
There are a total of 6 royal families in the UAE. Each of the 7 emirates in the country is ruled by a different royal family, with the Al Qasimi family ruling over two emirates, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah.
Abu Dhabi is governed by the Nahyan family. The Maktoum family is the ruler of Dubai, while the Al Nuaimi family controls Ajman. Al Sharqi dynasty rules the emirate of Fujairah, and the Al Mualla family governs Umm Al Quwain.
Second Home To Many International Celebrities
Many high-profile celebrities have properties in the UAE. Some of them include David Beckham, Giorgio Armani, Lindsay Lohan, Roger Federer, and many others. The beautiful and luxurious real estate combined with a low crime rate is why many famous personalities choose to live in the UAE.
UAE Has The World’s Largest Hand Woven Carpet
Now this is an impressive fact about the UAE. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a sight to behold in itself, but it is also the home of the world’s largest hand-woven carpet.
The carpet measures 5630 square meters. It was made by the Iran Carpet Company, so it has that true Persian touch to it.
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Discovering More Fun Facts About UAE
The UAE is a treasure trove of fascinating and extraordinary wonders. From the towering skyscrapers that kiss the clouds to the swiftest of police cars, this place surpasses the ordinary. It’s a realm where tradition harmonizes with innovation, forging a captivating blend of past and present. As you explore this remarkable land, you are sure to encounter more mind-blowing facts about the UAE!