Dubai is a growing city with an ancient history and a modern culture. The city is now an emirate and thus it is part of the much larger country of the United Arab Emirates. Once a small settlement and home to only a handful of people, this local powerhouse has become increasingly part an international community and is now part of an essential stop on any world tour. The region’s pleasant and warm desert climate, many recreational opportunities and international, cosmopolitan gloss have helped draw in visitors here from around the world. Today, people come to this little corner of the globe to attend conferences, explore the desert climate, swim in the deep waters of the Persian Gulf, attend modern film festivals, listen to ancient Bedouin music, shop to their heart’s content, admire the city’s amazing modern architecture or simply relax and do nothing at all in a hotel pool while eating fabulous meals.
Natural Local Attractions
Visitors can fully explore the natural wonders of Dubai and the surrounding region quite easily. The Al Hajar Mountains are only a short drive away from the center of the city. Here, visitors will find a tremendous variety of indigenous wildlife and rare fauna. Wild olive and fig trees are commonly seen as well as pomegranate and apricot trees, wild grasses and date palms. People will also find the Mountain Gazelle and Arabian Tahr and over three hundred species of rare, brightly colored birds. The cool, shady mountains are crisscrossed by eleven clearly marked trails designed for both the beginner and more advanced hikers.
The Shopping Capital of the Middle East
In recent years, local rulers of Dubai have turned the city into one of the world’s great shopping capitals of our tiem. Rivaling such cities as New York, Tokyo and Lond
on, Dubai is one of the world’s premier shopping destinations. The city is home to over seventy malls, selling any kind of item imaginable. The ancient souks that once provided a place for merchants to showcase goods from around the world have been largely replaced with the megamall. Visitors can buy everything from hand tooled, highly decorated, soft leather purses to diamond rings to the latest in Italian and Parisian fashion. Indoor malls cater to the discerning shopper with varied offerings that include one of a kind pieces and less expensive items for the dedicated bargain shopper. Those who love jewelry will find handmade bracelets, necklaces and other items with an emphasis on the traditional gold crafts of the region. Shoppers will also find items that showcase the area’s local Arabic culture including items like rugs and elegant mosaics. Mothers can bring their children to purchase all sorts of items for a child including clothing, educational materials and furniture designed to meet the needs of young children.
The Annual Shopping Festival
The Dubai Shopping Festival is an annual event dedicated to welcoming shoppers from all over the world. The event features hundreds of merchants who provide discounts on their everyday wares as well as specially marked down goods. Shoppers are invited to enjoy incredible discounts on everything from cooking items to fashion forward clothing to items for pets. Shoppers are further treated to a large fireworks display, daily car raffles and shows that specifically designed to entertain children. Millions of visitors come during the festival to take advantage of huge bargains and interact with people from other cultures and places.
The Queen Elizabeth II Liner
Dubai is the home port of the retired Cunard liner, the QEII. This famous ship now greets guests as they enter Dubai. The ship has been restored to her former glory. The ship is currently undergoing a further refurbishment designed to allow it to serve as a floating hotel capable of accommodating more than five hundred guests. Visitors can tour the liner to get a glimpse of high English naval style.
Burj Al Arab
The Burj Al Arab is one of the foremost landmarks of Dubai. This large building has been designed to look like sailing ship. The building is actually a hotel where hundreds of guests stay each day. The Burj is situated on an artificial island directly off the coast of Dubai. The entirely new island is connected to the main city by a bridge. Visitors can cross the private bridge to marvel at the hotel’s many fascinating features. The Burj’s primary feature is a massive hotel atrium, said to be the biggest hotel atrium in the world. The atrium is draped in light from a soft white, Teflon coated exoskeleton that helps block out glare and bathes the entire interior in warm light. The hotel is host to dozens of international events each year, bringing in visitors from around the region and the entire world.
The Miracle Garden
Dubai is home to a spectacular garden known as the Miracle Garden. The garden showcases hundreds of beautiful flowers, many not native to Dubai and difficult to grow anywhere, let alone in a desert climate. The flowers are watered by a clever drip irrigation system that uses a minimal amount of water yet produces flowers that are quite lush. This is said to be the world’s largest garden. The garden is open during the less hot months of the year and closed down the summer to allow for maintenance work.
Dubai is home to many exciting restaurants. Tourists will find hundreds of eateries serving every possible cuisine known. Popular choices include classic French restaurants, traditional Chinese dim sum houses, Indian food, Latin infused flavors, Italian pizzerias and American style barbeque. The area is also home to many other types of food including local area cuisine that draws on the region’s Arabic and Islamic heritage. Middle Eastern eateries bring visitors some of the very best in ancient and modern regional cuisine. Hot, new chefs have also opened up outlets in Dubai. Diners looking for the latest taste sensation will find it here along with many opportunities for gourmet dining and one of a kind meals.
Entertainment and Shows
Dubai has long been known as the home of traditional Bedouin music. Contemporary visitors will find many opportunities to enjoy classic Bedouin folk music. Concerts are commonly given in the city’s many theaters. Live music is an integral part of this region’s cultural heritage. The concerts typically include singing and dancing where guests are invited to join the musicians as they perform. Dubai is also host to a thriving film industry including an annual film festival that draws attendance from film stars from around the world. The area also brings in many international, highly renowned musicians, actors and other performers who are welcomed here to give concerts. Visitors can typically plan on attending all sorts of international shows including performances by popular pop stars. The city is also host to the Dubai Desert Rock Festival where acclaimed rock performers give concerts and interact with fans.
Dubai is not just a small city in the desert. The city of Dubai is a growing, vibrant international center of commerce, art, shopping and architectural delights. Visitors will find much to occupy their hearts and minds if they chose to make their way to this most ancient and modern of cities.