A century ago in these parts there were only sand dunes, ruined fortresses and villages of pearl divers. Then came the miracle: theblack gold. And a handful of poor, unattractive territories scattered across the southeastern tip of the Arabian peninsulahave become one of the richest countries in the world, an icon of modernity, an extravagant – but fascinating – mix of Islamic culture traditional and rampant consumerism. So much so that if one wanted to draft a guide of what there is to see in the United Arab Emirates should list dream hotel, skyscrapers, shopping havens and plenty of extravaganzas. Plus many records.
What to see in the Arab Emirates: the places of records
Yes, because, largely (but not exclusively) fueled by oil wealth, the United Arab Emirates today they seem to chase every possible dream: do you want aartificial island that looks like a palm tree from the sky? Here there is. Do you want to buy the most famous football teams in the world? Is it a regular sport for local billionaires? Or look for thetallest building on the planet? Needless to say: it’s here.
This union of seven sheikhsrulers of their small countries, was formed when the British withdrew from Gulf in 1971 and over time the town has gained its own unique characteristic certainly made up of luxury, beaches and shopping mall but also of innovation: unlike other Arab states in this part of the world Emiratis court and encourage tourists in any case, constantly updating the list of events and attractions to confirm its reputation commercial capital of the world.
The Seven Emirates: Queen Dubai
The Emirates are seven: but the most famous are certainly Dubai And Abu Dhabi which is also the capital. And the challenge between the two neighbors is played out with increasingly tall buildings. Dubai it was originally a small fishing settlement that slowly grew as port on the ancient trade route between Mesopotamia and India. But then it was in 1966 with the discovery of oil that the emirate developed into an international business center and a modern tourist destination.
Today Dubai it is the main one commercial center of the countrya city whose skyline is constantly updated upwards with shocking hotelsshopping centers and sports facilities. Dubai creek divides the city center into two parts: Deira on the northern side e Bur Dubai to the south. Visit them both: the list of things to see in the Emirates gets longer every month.
Things to see in the United Arab Emirates: the capital
Abu Dhabithe capital of the Emirates has always been more conservative than its neighbour Dubai but boasts some notable attractions, from Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at the theme park Ferrari World. And in both destinations, there’s the chance to delve into the UAE’s blend of Islamic culture and modernity, from spice souk garlic falcon hospitals.
To Abu Dhabi then lately there has also been a lot of focus on culture with the creation of beautiful museums. But don’t think of a humble place: here you run the richest grand prix in the world and indeed the city boasts a slew of glittering malls, hotels and night clubs that are the equal of anything to be found in Dubai.
Sharjah it is the third largest city in the country and many of the main attractions are located near the sumptuous seafront which is sure to be on the list of things to see in the UAE. Here visitors can also explore theAl Hisn Fort and the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilizationboth worthy of being visited to grasp at least one taste of tradition which is increasingly yielding under the blows of consumerist and modern culture. In other words: fewer and fewer Arabs and more and more globalised.
What to see in the UAE. In Sharjah you stroll along the seafront
The neighbor Khalid Lagoon it has a fountain that shoots water over a hundred meters high and for this reason it is the third largest fountain in the world. It is also worth visiting theSharjah Aquariumlocated at the mouth of the Al Khan Lagoon while the‘Eye of the Emirates on the edge of the city is a giant wheel that offers a spectacular view of the center and everything around it.
However the most interesting monument, and the most important museum dedicated to art (if we exclude the giants Louvre And Guggenheim from Abu Dhabi in the coming years), is the Sharjah Museum of Arts which houses an important and varied art collection. The cultural center is famous for the collection of works by Arab artists but curiously there are also important pieces by European artists who have chosen to explore Arab culture. The museum also organizes a rich program of temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
What to see in the United Arab Emirates: the Hajar mountains
We have said it several times: in first place among the places to see in the United Arab Emirates there are the modern aggravations of Dubai. Yet if you are looking for an escape from these excesses, it is easy to find it: just move to the emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah.
It is the territory that occupies the northernmost part of the countrylargely surrounded by the mighty Hajar Mountainswhich then descend abruptly towards the sea creating a particular territory that allows you to organize excursions in wild areas and not just deserts. Plus there is one rich archaeological tradition which is bringing to light very ancient artifacts: archaeologists reveal that this area has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC Il Ras Al Khaimah National Museum collects a good portion of the finds and objects that tell this long story.
Although much of the city is modern, pay a visit to the area of Jazirat al-Hamra which photographs how was the peaceful life of Emiratis and of the pearl divers who inhabited them before the oil boom of the mid-20th century.
What to see in the United Arab Emirates: Fujairah
Also Fujairah is a modern city and represents the main settlement on the east coast. The emirate is separated from the rest of the country by the jagged line of the Hajar Mountains and perhaps it is the area least visited by tourists. Excluding those who are looking for dive sites.
Although today the city is a predictable lattice of office skyscrapers and steel buildings the residents are very proud of their past and have done careful restoration work on the few historic attractions like the Al-Bidyah mosque and the Fort of Fujairah which are two must-see points during a tourist visit.
For many tourists and visitors, Fujairah it is a pleasant surprise that gives relief and relaxation after the hustle and bustle of Dubai. Even for Emiratis it is like this and it is a popular place for a weekend thanks to the good choice of pleasant beaches. There beautiful coast is ideal for scuba diving and for sunbathing, while the city is an ideal base for exploring the Hajar Mountains.
What to see in the Arab Emirates: and useful advice
The UAE attracts the sun lovers from all corners of the globe, thanks to the fact that the sun shines here all year round. And the rains are very rare. The best time to visit the country is between October and April, when temperatures hover between 25 and 28°C and the Gulf waters are perfect for a dip.
The hottest time of the year is during the sweltering summer months from June to Septemberwhen the humidity can seem unbearable and the temperatures can rise above 45° C. And in this period the people live indoors, protected by the ubiquitous air conditioning and at temperatures that were quite freezing for us. That’s why layering is always the best choice with a sweatshirt to save you from the air conditioning. Remember a hat and high protection cream: just one day in the sun is enough for sunburn.
Remember before leaving to find out what to see in the United Arab Emirates that it is a Islamic country. Women foreign girls can dress to their liking and on the beach you wear it the bikini just like us. However covering the shoulders and knees is a requirement in certain areas. But this also applies to men.
No problems with alcohol either: foreigners can drink in the countless bars and restaurants of the cities (except in Sharjah). Just a few more problems (but nothing serious) you may have during Ramadam. But perhaps you won’t even notice it: up until a few decades ago, pearls were fished here. Now the future is being built.