The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is situated in the Southeast of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia. The United UAE is the constitutional federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah. It stretches over 1448 km from the west coast of Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, where water and land overlap, to the Arabian Peninsula.
On December 2, 1971, the UAE became a federation of six emirates – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah, while the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah joined the federation in 1972. The capital city is Abu Dhabi, largest and wealthiest of the seven emirates with Dubai being the largest city in the country.
The UAE is the Middle East’s second largest economy after Saudi Arabia and one of the wealthiest countries in the region on a per capita basis.
Rich with pearls which have been sustaining the UAE population for centuries, the coastline is studded with islands, coral reefs and ridges. Nearly 200 islands fall under the UAE territory on Persian Gulf, including Abu Dhabi Island, capital of United Arab Emirates, Das Island which is rich in Oil, Delma Island which is rich in pearls, Umm Al Nar Island, Saadyat Island, Hamra Island near Ras Al Khaimah, Abu Moosa Island, Greater Tunb Island, Lesser Tunb Island, and other islands which have left their mark on UAE.
The United Arab Emirates mainland varies from narrow plains surrounded with sand desert throughout the west and the south to highlands stretching in the Far East and southern east to the borders of Oman.
According to recent discoveries, human settlement in UAE dates back to several thousand years and probably, to the Stone Age (5500 B.C. or 7500 B.C.).
UAE has almost year-round sunshine with little rainfall and near perfect winter temperatures. A subtropical and arid climate with sunny blue skies. High temperatures can be expected most of the year. Rainfall is sporadic, falling mainly in winter (November to March) and averaging 12cms per year sometimes. Rain is more common in the ‘Oasis City’ of Al Ain, the emirate’s second-largest city, due to its proximity to the Hajar mountains.
Temperatures range from a low of around 13°C (50°F) on a winter’s night, to a high of around 42°C (118°F) on a summer’s day. The cooler months, November to April, are the most pleasant time to visit, when temperatures are around 24°C (75°F) during the day and 13°C (56°F) at night.
Abu Dhabi is the largest and most populated of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, with over 80% of its landmass. The emirate’s population, now over 1.6 million, is growing at an average annual rate of 4.7%. Across the UAE, Emirati citizens make up nearly 20% of the total population; the other 80% are expatriates from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe and North America. All Nationalities live in harmony in this haven called UAE.
Arabic is the official language, although English is widely spoken. Most road signs, shop signs and restaurant menus are in both languages. The further out of town you go, the more Arabic you will find, both written and spoken.
Islam is the official religion of the UAE, and is widely practiced. The Islamic holy day is Friday. The UAE Constitution provides for freedom of religion in accordance with established customs. UAE is tolerant of other religions with people being free to practice their religious beliefs, so long as they do not interfere with Islam and follow certain rules when it comes to their festivals keeping in mind the safety of everyone who lives in the UAE.