The sun always shines in the UAE [Archives:2006/1003/Last Page]

November 30 2006

As UAE prepares to celebrate its 35th anniversary of the National Day, it is only fair to give a small glance of this beautiful country. Its naturally desert climate and its convenient location in the Arabian Gulf has endowed it with warm seas and cozy beaches. Together with a booming economy, where trade and tourism are encouraged, it also makes for the ultimate shopping destination. Its state-of-the-art tourist infrastructure with numerous world-class hotels, sports events and shopping spectaculars held annually, ensures its position as the Middle East's number one tourist destination.

Every year, tourist attractions are constantly being upgraded and added – from one of the world's largest aqua parks to cultural and wildlife museums.

The United Arab Emirates – not just a desert land

Though 65 per cent of its 85,000 square kilometers area is desert, it is characterized by rich microclimates and micro-ecologies. You will find hills, valleys, different kind of dunes, plains, marshes and even mangrove forests. The desert extends from the westernmost tip of Abu Dhabi at the borders of Saudi Arabia, towards east to the land border with Oman and the Indian Ocean.

Six emirates have their coastline on the Arabian peninsula stretching between the Musandam peninsula and the Qatar peninsula. Fujairah is the only emirate that lies on the Gulf of Oman. The northern coastline runs along the Arabian Gulf all the way to Oman. 750 kilometers of coastline runs along the Arabian Gulf while 75 kilometers lie on the eastern side along the Arabian sea.

From wind towers to towering Skyscrapers, The UAE has a unique blend of traditional Arab, Islamic values and culture with the modernity of a cosmopolitan living environment. It celebrated its 25th year of formation in 1997. Its massive oil wealth is being wisely utilized to keep pace with technology and social changes the world is experiencing. As a result, tourists will find the UAE a modern country with thriving sky scraper filled cities no different from modern cities in Europe or Asia.

Due to its location the UAE has been able to act as a connecting link between Europe and the Indian subcontinent, the Far East and Africa since time immemorial. It is still playing the role of intermediary between these vastly different cultures, the only difference being that air travel has significantly increased the number of visitors who come to the UAE. Traditional Arab hospitality and a delightful winter climate complemented by a highly sophisticated infrastructure and crime-free environment, have also contributed in recent years to creating an ideal atmosphere for the development of tourism. The UAE is also endowed with an extensive coastline, sandy beaches and varied landscape, where a wide variety of activities can be indulged, ranging from powerboat races to sand-skiing. Manicured golf courses provide ready enjoyment and for the less active shopping opportunities abound. In addition, the country's deep-rooted cultural heritage, accessible in the many cultural centers and at traditional sports such as falconry, camel- racing and horse-racing, has been a powerful attraction for tourists. The UAE has also become a much sought after venue for conferences, regional and international exhibitions and major sports events such as the Dubai World Cup, the Dubai Desert Classic Golf Tournament, and polo and cricket competitions.

Being literally crime-free is not the only thing that makes the United Arab Emirates one of the most attractive places to live in. Its amazing amalgamation of the traditional values of the East and the modern technologies of the West, being a melting pot of various nationalities and cultures living together and working in harmony and a standard of living that is comparable to the world's most advanced nations makes it one of 20th century's success stories.

The camel

Uniquely adapted to the desert, the camel was the mainstay of the semi-nomadic lifestyle that was practiced by many of the UAE's inhabitants. The largest tribe in the UAE, the Bani Yas, roamed the vast sandy areas that cover almost all of the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Date palms

Over the centuries, bedu families that had spent the winter searching for grazing for their camels returned in the summer to the oasis gardens in the hollows of the dunes to harvest the date crop.


Although modern fishing methods are employed in the fishing industry of today, traditional techniques remain popular with artisanal fishermen. Extensive tidal shallows, which are characteristic of much of the Gulf coast, are ideal for fishing with traps or cast nets.

Boat building

Dhow construction remains very much a living tradition in the Emirates with at least as many traditional craft being built now as at the beginning of the last century. Dhows with inboard motors are still used for regional trade and fishing, but it is the hugely popular traditional sailing and rowing races that continue to foster the traditional craft.


Pearling has been an important economic activity in the region since ancient times, but the trade fluctuated throughout the centuries.


Falconry, once an important way of supplementing the diet of the UAE's desert inhabitants, is now enjoyed as a traditional pastime.


Ancestor of today's racing thoroughbreds, the Arabian horse has played a noble part in the history of Arabia.

Music, dance and poetry

Songs were composed to accompany different tasks, from hauling water at the well, to diving for pearl oysters out in the and shellfish gathering (including the harvesting of pearls) would have been the main pursuits, and moved to the interior in summer, where pastoralism and, eventually, horticulture, were practiced.

Tourist material and pictures source: UAE Interact