Dubai or Dubayy (in Arabic: دبيّ) refers to either
The ruler of Dubai is H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the Prime Minister of the federation of the United Arab Emirates. The crown prince is H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, one of the emir's younger brothers.
Dubai is the second largest emirate in the federation after Abu Dhabi. The emirate is located on the Persian Gulf, southwest of Sharjah and northeast of Abu Dhabi, and reaches into the interior. The town of Hatta is a segregated portion of the emirate of Dubai and borders Wajajah, Oman .
Dubai is distinct from other members of the UAE -- it has been called the "Singapore" or "Hong Kong" of the Middle East -- mostly because of economics. In the 1990s, 30% of Dubai's GDP came from oil; however, the emir has demonstrated an understanding that oil-generated wealth is only temporary, and has implemented a series of initiatives to generate wealth through other means. This is indicated by the six-fold decrease in the proportion of the GDP that oil comprises, to 5%.
History of Dubai
There was a pearl-diving and fishing community at the mouth of Dubai Creek for many centuries, but modern Dubai dates its existence to the 1830s when the Baniyas tribe under the Al-Maktoum family settled there and renounced allegiance to Abu Dhabi. Successive sheikhs encouraged contacts with outsiders, especially the British, who made Dubai a regular port of call.
Dubai became one of the Trucial States in 1853. It joined the UAE on December 2, 1971. It has since become a large and modern city, with an estimated population of close to one million in 2004.
Dubai has since become an important tourist destination, helped by its rapidly-expanding airline Emirates, which is headed by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum , an uncle of the emir. Dubai is also diversifying as a hub for service based industries such as IT and finance, with the new Dubai International Financial Centre or DIFC . The government has set up enclaves and freezones for industry specific corporations. Dubai Internet City, now combined with Dubai Media City as part of TECOM (Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media Free Zone Authority) is one such enclave and houses IT companies such as EMC Corporation, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM, and media organisations such as MBC, CNN, Reuters and AP.
One of the most imporant personality figures in Dubai is Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoom. He ruled Dubai for over 30 years within which he created major large projects like the Jebel Ali free zone, world trade center and the airport.
The annual Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) draws shoppers from the Indian subcontinent and around the region. Other, smaller shopping festivals such as Dubai Summer Surprises are held throughout the year.
The city has many malls such as City Centre , Lamcy Plaza , Al Ghurair Centre and Wafi Centre that house international stores, theaters, gaming arcades and foodcourts.
Dubai also has a water park, Wild Wadi Water Park.
The horse race known as the Dubai World Cup is held annually, and is the world's richest horse race with over US$15,000,000 worth of prize money.
Dubailand, a proposed entertainment complex, is to include the Mall of Arabia, the largest shopping mall in the world. Dubailand is slated to open in 2006.
Real Estate and Property
The government's vision to diversify from a trade based, but oil reliant economy to one that is service and tourism oriented, has been conducive to the growth of real estate corporations such as Emaar Properties, and Nakheel . Corporate office enclaves on Sheikh Zayed road were developed to shift Dubai's traditional business area from the creek to the western parts of the city.
Dubai's land-reclamation projects, the Palm Islands The Palm, Jumeira , The Palm, Jebel Ali , The Palm, Deira , and The World will be the world's largest artificial island complexes, developed with villas, golf courses and holiday resorts.
The first villa freehold properties that were occupied by non-UAE nationals were The Meadows, The Springs and The Lakes, all masterplanned communities designed by Emaar, resulting in luxurious upperclass neighbourhoods collectively known as Emirates Hills. Over the 2005-2006 time frame, most of the freehold skycrapers and other villa projects will be ready for occupation, sparking a new phase in Dubai's history as a city.
The city is also dotted with modern skyscrapers such as Emirates Towers which are the 12th and 23rd tallest buildings in the world. , and Burj Al Arab, a five-star deluxe hotel. Located on the Persian Gulf, Burj Al Arab is the second tallest hotel in the world.
Emaar properties is on course to construct the world's tallest building, Burj Dubai. The corporation claims: "Burj Dubai's height is a closely guarded secret but it will beat all records and on a scale that will be a dramatic testament to Dubai's faith in the future."
In February 2005 Dubai Waterfront was announced, it will be 2½ times size of Washington D.C. or the size of the island of Manhattan. Dubai Waterfront will be a mix of canals and islands full of hotels and residential areas that will add 500 miles of man-made waterfront. Dubai has also launched Dubiotech. This is a new park to be targeted at Biotech companies working in pharma, medical fields, genetic research and even biodefense. The aim of this park is to foster the growth of this sector in Dubai and to utilize the region's talent in addressing such a vital and rapidly growing sector.
The International Media Production Zone is a project targeted at creating a hub for printers, publishers, media production companies, and related industry segments. This project was launched in 2003 and is estimated to be completed by 2006.
Stamps and postal history of Dubai
A post office of British India was opened August 19, 1909. It used the stamps of India on mail, with postmark "Dubai Persian Gulf", until India's independence in 1947, then stamps of Pakistan until March 31, 1948. Pakistan also becoming independent, the British government set up a postal administration for Eastern Arabia and used overprinted British stamps until January 7, 1961, when Dubai issued its own stamps inscribed "Trucial States". (Despite the name, these were only on sale in Dubai's post office.)
The Dubai Post Department took over the postal service June 14, 1963 and the following day issued a series of stamps depicting sea life, views of Dubai, and Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This was the opening salvo of a barrage of issue over the next few years; the emirate discovered that stamp collectors were willing to give it money for colored labels with "Dubai" printed on them, and by the time the postal system was merged with that of other emirates, in mid-1972, it had issued over 400 stamps, few of which ever saw usage on mail.
People living in Dubai
Dubai is fairly unique in that its population consists mainly of expatriates
, with UAE Nationals (Emiratis) constituting the minority. The vast majority of these expatriates come from the Indian subcontinent
and the Philippines
. The UAE government does not allow any form of naturalization or permanent residence to expatriates. Even children born in the country are not granted citizenship, unless a parent is a UAE national. Discrimination against Asian expatriates is common. Salaries for lesser qualified citizens are usually several times that of a much higher qualified expatriate. Reports of Emirati employers defaulting on several months salaries are quite common. Expatriates from Western countries however, do not face such discrimination.
Nearly all the commercial establishments are run by expatriates with a silent local partner who merely "rents" the business license for a negotiated annual fee without taking part in any capital investment. The numerous free trade zones allow for full expatriate ownership, but are only suitable for large businesses.
There are an increasing number of "freehold" villas and flats which come with a guaranteed residence visa renewable every three years for a around US$1350 per person. The Jumeira Palm, an artificial island in the shape of a palm tree, is one of these. It is illegal to seek employment on this visa though, and a separate job visa must be obtained from an employer. It is common practice among Dubai employers to hold on to employees' passports for the duration of the employment contract. This is done to prevent expatriate employees from moving to higher paying jobs. On termination of an employment contract, expatriates and their families are usually banned from the country for six months.
Language & Religion
The official language is Arabic, but English and Hindi are widely spoken.
Islam is the official religion of all the emirates. A vast majority of the people are Sunnis. There are foreign minority Hindus and Christians as well. Dubai is the only Emirate to house a Hindu temple.
Non-Muslims in the country are free to practice their religion but may not proselytize publicly or distribute religious literature. The Government follows a policy of tolerance towards non-Muslim religions and, in practice, interferes very little in the religious activities of non-Muslims.
In early 2001, ground was broken for the construction of several churches on a parcel of land in Jebel Ali donated by the Government of Dubai for four Protestant congregations and a Catholic congregation. In May 2001, the Crown Prince of Dubai authorised the construction of a Greek Orthodox church on donated land.
Apart from donated land for the construction of churches and other religious facilities, including cemeteries, non-Muslim groups are not supported financially or subsidized by the Government. However, they are permitted to raise money from among their congregants and to receive financial support from abroad. Christian churches are permitted to openly advertise certain church functions, such as memorial services, in the press.
Dubai International Airport is a fortress hub for Emirates airlines and has a vast Duty Free shopping centre. It is also considered to be among the world's best and finest airports. Dubai airport has won many awards for its excellence in design and services.
A third terminal is curerntly under construction due to open in 2006. The new terminal will be dedicated to Emirates and will fully support the Airbus A380. When completed this will double the capacity of the airport.
Dubai has several universities, including:
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46