Made up of seven emirates : Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwai, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah.
Of the seven emirates making up the U.A.E. Abu Dhabi is which the largest, constituting 80% of the nations land area includes about 200 islands. Abu Dhabi city is located on one of these islands and holds all the charm and excitement of a capital city. Although a lush, green paradise with wide tree lined boulevards beautiful parks and scenic vistas.
Outside of Abu Dhabi city most of the emirates is desert with the exception of the oases of Al Ain and Liwa. Liwa is about a five hour drive from the capital city and passes through some of the largest sand dunes in the world. The oasis itself is one of the largest in the Arabian peninsula and is the gateway to Rub Al Khali.
Al Ain is an oasis city and the second largest in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Having a history dating back to the 4 millenium BC, Al Ain has grown into the modern city it is today only since unification. Planned as a garden city, the visitor is mesmerized the multitude of roundabouts, each offering an unique display of water, landscaping and sculpture. Boulevards are tree lined and there are no high rise buildings. Al Ain is the home of UAE University, the nations largest museum, a huge zoo and many parks, gardens and guest houses. It is also one of the nation's leading agricultural centres and is now serviced by a new international airport.
Back in the city of Abu Dhabi there is no lack of things to do. For those wanting a taste of traditional Arab hospitality, a visit to the National Heritage Village offers that and more in traditional huts and tents, one can view the old, harshway of life of the genuine pearl divers. After seeing the ways of the past you may want to see how Abu Dhabi got to be what it is today. For this a trip to the Petroleum industry from composition and formation to transporting and refining.
Abu Dhabi also has its share of parks and gardens, world class shopping centers, beaches (including one exclusively for ladies), ice-skating, scuba diving. Camel racing, antique ships and old forts. The visitor faces the delightful dilemma of deciding on what to be done first.
Dubai is the second largest emirate and includes the desert hill town of Hatta. While most of the emirate is uninhabited desert, the city of Dubai is a busting metropolis mix of Arab, western and south Asian cultures. Spoken nearly everywhere. Hindi, Farci and Urdu are also quite prevalent.
Dubai prides itself on being the trade capital of the UAE; and has been progressing to that grandeur over since Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, them ruler of Dubai, decided to open it to trade and commerce in order to establish in a secondary economic base which would supercede the oil industry. Every avenue is sought to make Dubai an attractive place to do business.
In 1996, Dubai began hosting a now annual, month long shopping Festival is held from March to April and encompasses the entire city. Items of every type are discounted, especially cars, jewelry and electronics. Special events are scheduled every day, including fireworks, laser shows and carnivals. One part of the Festival is the Carpet Oasis Expo, where you can buy world-class carpets at substantial discounts.
The Dubai Trade Center, the tallest building in the Gulf houses many business organizations and trade commissions from around the works. supported by the recently expanded exhibition halls, the Trade Center is a perennial venue of Expos, including Gitex, held every fall, which is the largest computer show in the region.
Despite its desert location, Dubai is a spectular green city with beautiful land-scaped roadways and roundabouts. a drive through some of the busy interchanges is like a drive through a park. Yet its expansive parks from a major tourist attraction. Several large parks offer beautiful land-scaped areas for strolls, picnics and playing. Whether you are interested in splashing at the beach, riding a camel, taking the children on amusement rides or viewing an old desert village, Dubai offers it all. There are several smaller parks with playground and shaded seating areas. A few parks are for ladies and children only and all the major parks have some days exclusively for ladies and children.
Dubai is also home to the Dubai Zoo and the Dubai Museum which incorporates Al Fahidi Fort with a modern under ground cultural museum, which preserve, the old Arabic way of life. Also noteworthy are the Sheikh Saeed Al Makotoum House, the Heritage and Diving Village, the Old Spice Souk, the Gold and Fabric Souks and Majlis Al Ghoraifa
For a trek across the desert, there is the Dubai enclave of Hatta near the Oman border. Nestled into the Hajar Mountains, Hatta offers the resort complex of Hatta Fort Hotel where the visitor can enjoy crazy golf, swimming, archery, clay pigeon shooting and tennis. There is also the new heritage park that has a falaj system, or series of wells opening into the underground water supply, a restored mosque and a village.
THE STRATEGIC HEART OF THE EMIRATES
Sharjah is the UAEs third largest emirate and over 2,600 sq. kms.
Overlooking the Arabian Gulf from the West and the Gulf of Oman from the East - its unique position makes it one of the most geographically diverse of the Emirates. Part of the Emirates is bordered by Dubai and Ajman on either side, while the other part extends east of the Gulf of Oman and is doted by three scenic cities - Khor Fakkan, al Dhaid, Dibba and Kalba. Although spread out, Sharjah borders all other emirates in the UAE and has some of the most diverse scenery as well as superb waterfront areas-including islands like Abu Moosa, Seer Bunaire, Sharjah has fertile farmlands and many off beat beautiful oases, mainly at Al Dhaid, which is now a full-fledged city just half an hour away from metropolis Sharjah City Center.
A TOURIST DESTINATION - SINCE 1932
Sharjah's special strategic location at the center of the Emirates has made Sharjah a leader in serving international traffic for the last 65 years. Sprawling across the beaches of the Gulf of Oman, extending over a vast area of valleys and mountains - international flights were operating out of Sharjah's historic airport (soon to be made a museum) long before oil was discovered in the UAE. Sharjah city is surrounded with a number of waterfront hotels, lakefront properties and apartment buildings, restaurants and out-standing parks - all of which makes Sharjah a tourist attraction for people from all over the world.
TRADITIONAL HOSPITALITY AND MEMORABLE SHOPPING
Sharjah is a blend of the old and new, where East and West meet with a magical confluence which is at once sophisticated and exotic. Modern hotels jostle for space with quaint mosques and department stores vie with traditional souks to form together, the modern city of Sharjah. Famous for its hospitality and blend of past with present, the Blue Souq is a destination that no tourist in the Northern Emirates fails to enjoy for a unique shopping experience. Nearly every tourist takes home a piece of memorabilia, a fine carpet, finely worked brass and copper utensils or exquisitely finished brass inlaid wooden furniture and items from Sharjah's famous souqs - a trip that has to be made!
SHARJAH - DEDICATED TO HERITAGE CULTURE AND EDUCATION
Rising majestically, the cultural and educational landmarks that cover the emirate give a clear picture of modern city that has kept traditional values alive.
Sharjah is widely considered to be the cultural capital of the UAE and the Gulf region, and has consistently dedicated its resources to establishing an enviable life style for its citizens with solid values at the very core of all future planning.
Sharjah hosts (9) world class museums including the outstanding new Art Museum, home of a significant Orientalist art collection with unique pieces of art with historical significance on the UAE. The Science Museum and Children's Learning Center are a must for families as is the Natural History Museum and petting zoo. The Archeology museum houses ancient artifacts in an outstanding setting, as does the Islamic Museum. Fine cultural centers offering film festivals, public lecture series. public and private schools are all part of the living landscape in Sharjah.
The new Higher College of Technology, the full curricula American University of Sharjah, training centers, schools and outlets for the handicapped, sports fields and dedicated clubs for women all make Sharjah a haven of culture backed by a dynamic, modern infrastructure.
SHARJAH - A LOT OF GOOD REASONS TO SMILE
The famous roundabout landmark "SMILE YOU ARE IN SHARJAH" has been a visible reminder of a saying that started a long time ago. Whether for tourism or choosing a great place of live - Sharjah is a beautiful modern city - friendly, safe and secure with an offshore tax base, great facilities, schools, shopping, green parks and clean streets.
Come over to Sharjah - relax, smile have a coffee and enjoy yourself in a modern oasis of peaceful fun.
Of all the Emirates, Fujairah is the only one located on the Gulf of Oman rather than the Arabian Gulf. Whereas the other emirates are comprised of coastline, plains and desert, Fujairah ahs only a narrow coastal strip at the edge of its mountainous terrain.
Prior to the formation of the UAE and the subsequent development of infrastructure, Fujairah was very isolated from the rest of the country, With the construction of the first all weather road through the mountains twenty years ago, it has been opened to the rest of the country and has some of the most scenic highways in the country. Fujairah has invested in its unique geography to develop tourism as an industry. You can enjoy unspoiled beaches and some of the best deep sea fishing, with game species like marlin and shark awaiting the angler just offshore.
Fujairah Port, completed in 1882, is a regular port of call for container ships. It is a main holding station for sheep and cattle for the Arabian peninsula at the port. An international airport also services the emirate.
With assistance from the central government and foreign investors, a number of small industries have been established including a marble tile factory, a shoe factory and a cement factory.
Fujairah is home to a many old Portuguese forts and watchtowers including Fujairah Fort, built in 1670. There is also a new museum and Ain Al Madab Garden equipped with natural spring and sulfuric bath.
The smallest of the seven emirates is Ajman with an area of just 260 square kilometers. Most of this is located on the Arabian Gulf coast immediately north of Sharjah. However, it also includes two tiny enclaves inland in the Hajar Mountains " Masfut and Manama.
Archeological excavations show that Ajman was once an important Bronze Age settlement is now…..more of fishing villages recent centuries. With unification as the United Arab Emirates, Ajman has benefited from the development in Sharjah and Dubai, which has pushed towards this tiny emirate. Many people working in the cities have found Ajman to be a quieter and less expensive place to live.
Ajman has not yet been successful in the search for oil and natural gas resources. This has limited its ability to develop on a graniose scale but it has been working towards development of light industry and houses an important dockyard.
But the charm of Ajman is its slow, quiet pace. It is home to the Ajman Museum, a local history and heritage museum, housed in a 200 residence of the ruler. It is best known for being the largest ocean-going dhow construction centre. Here dhows are still built using time-honoured techniques along the shore, providing an insight for the visitors into a bygone era.
RAS AL KHAIMAH
Occupying the northern-most portion of the U.A.E. and lying at the foot of the Hajar Mountains, close to the Strait of Hormuz, Ras Al Khaimah is an important port, fishing and agricultural centre.
Once, this Emirate was dependent upon traditional forms of employment such as fishing and agriculture but since unification, a great deal of effort has been put into modernizing these. At Digdagga Lhaimah, is a modern agricultural farm, also equipped to meet the dairy and poultry needs. The industrial sector has not been ignored and though small, it is now well established.
Exports include raw materials such as building stone quarried from the mountains, explosives and pharmaceuticals.
Ras Al Khaimah has also discovered a limited but important oil field, the Saleh off-shore oil field. Its production of 10,000 barrels per day has enabled Ras Al Khaimah to enhance its growth and development.
Ras Al Khaimah has a museum covering archaeology, ethnology and history. There is also the archaeological site at Shimal khatt.
Located off the main coastal highway, Umm Al Quwain is a small peninsular emirate and city. Isolated and poor in the years preceding discovery of oil and national unification, it has come a long way in developing its infrastructure and business opportunities since the past 26 years.
Port Ahmed bin Rashid offers an international standard port with four quays ranging from 115 meters to 400 meters. It is also the location of the Free Zone, which was established in 1987. Here foreign companies are offered great incentives. The aim is to set up 34 light industrial units with accommodation for personnel and catering facilities all the expense of the Umm Al Quwain government.
Umm Al Quawain has an excellent transport and telecommunications system, a modern hospital and a local radio station. It is also developing its historic towers and forts and tradition of horse and camel racing into tourist attractions.
A huge entertainment complex has recently been completed that covers an area of over 250,000 sq. meters along the coast into a garden and water park called Dreamland Aqua Park. It is one of the largest water parks in the world and provides water games. Rides, and picnic areas. In addition, the park has a souk containing many sh9ops, restaurants and fast food outlets. Dreamland offers a quality family destination for the entire area.
Other interesting sites to explore are the mangrove swamps, the gorgeous national park, the famous archaeological site at Ad Door, the horse riding club and the scuba diving facility.