United Arab Emirates:Incredible Modern Metropolis in the Arabian Desert

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United Arab Emirates:Incredible Modern Metropolis in the Arabian Desert:table of contents

The UAE is a country on the Arabian Peninsula, located on the coast of the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Oman. Formed of seven emirates, the country is one of the youngest countries in the world, established in 1971. Each of its emirates have a rich culture with a long and fascinating history. The United Arab Emirates is best known for its two biggest cities, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, full of modern skyscrapers and luxurious buildings. However, the United Arab Emirates also boasts stunning nature: beautiful beaches, magnificent mountains and golden deserts.

1. Sheikh Zayed Mosque (Abu Dhabi)

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One of the largest mosques in the world, this beautiful, stark-white mosque is built of white marble and decorated with precious stones, gold and crystals. The sight of the structure is simply breathtaking and an incredible experience even for those who aren't religious.

2. Burj Khalifa (Dubai)

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As the tallest building in the world, a visit to Dubai isn't complete without heading to the top of the Burj Khalifa. Towering over the futuristic skyscraper city, the structure is a whopping 828 meters tall. From the top you can see the unique developments of the city such as the incredible man made palm islands and world islands.

3. Jebel Hafeet (Tawam)

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The second tallest mountain in the UAE, Jebel Hafeet offers beautiful views over the surrounding arid scenery and the city of Al Ain. Visitors can drive all the way to the top or choose to hike up themselves, however it can get blisteringly hot during the summer. The area is also particularly famous for the hundreds of ancient tombs used to house the dead of the inhabitants around 5,000 years ago.

4. Dubai Mall and Fountains (Dubai)

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Dubai Mall is one of the biggest malls in the world. It houses over 1200 shops, an aquarium and a zoo, as well as hotels and restaurants. Along with the huge mall the fountain is a popular gathering spot for both local residents and tourists. Just outside of the mall its known as the world’s biggest choreographed fountain, illuminated by lights in the evening along with music to create an incredible performance. The streams of water go up as high as 150 meters. There are two shows during daylight and numerous evening shows each day put on for visitors.

5. Dubai Museum (Dubai)

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Dubai Museum is located in the Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest building in Dubai, which was constructed in 1787. The fort was originally built to protect Dubai from Pirates and now houses an impressive collection of Arabic artifacts The Museum tells of the old history of Dubai, from its earliest days to just before the oil-boom that significantly changed the city into the futuristic metropolis it is today.

6. Singing Sand Dunes of Liwa (Mezairaa)

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The desert in the United Arab Emirates is vast and incredible, stretching across much of the Arab nation. While there are many impressive dunes here, perhaps the most unique are the Singing Sand Dunes of Liwa. The sand grains at Liwa vibrate as they move and hit one another in the wind, creating an incredible, deep roaring sound which inspired its name. The experience of walking around the dunes is really out of this world and unforgettable.

7. Camel Racing at Al Watahba Camel Racetrack (Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi)

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A sport rarely found elsewhere in the world camel racing is a popular traditional sport given a modern twist in the United Arab Emirates. Between 15 and 70 camels usually take part in each race with each camel equipped with a robot jockey, prompting it to run as fast as it can. The race tracks are usually between 4 and 10 kilometres long. The main camel racing season is between October and April so plan your trip for around then if you want to see this fascinating sport. Al Watahba Camel Racetrack in Abu Dhabi is one of the more known racetracks, but camel races also take place in 14 other locations across the United Arab Emirates too.

8. Dubai's Souks (Dubai)

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Souks are the traditional Arabian markets that are dotted around cities in the UAE. Dubai’s many traditional souks offer a completely different shopping experience to the towering modern malls next door. Each souk usually has a theme of products sold there such as the Gold Souk specializing in all kinds of jewellery and gold. Other popular markets include Souk Madinat which sells souvenirs, sculptures and various art pieces along with the Spice Souk, Perfume Souk and Textiles Souk.

9. Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (Abu Dhabi)

Photo by Maarten Danial

Another excellent place to visit in the United Arab Emirates is the Falcon Hospital in Abu Dhabi. The Falcon is the United Arab Emirate’s national bird. In 1999 the hospital was established and has since then it became one of the leading institutions of its kind. It is possible to hold one of the majestic birds here along with learning about the birds and the history of falconry.

10. Burj Al Arab (Dubai)

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Burj Al Arab is a beautifully designed building shaped like a giant sail that functions as one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. The hotel has a private beach, a helipad at 212 meters and an underwater aquarium restaurant. All suites also have spectacular views over the Persian Gulf. If you don't want to blow a hole in your wallet by staying there, you can also arrange to have a luxurious afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab’s Al Muntaha restaurant on level 27.

Conclusion

While the UAE is known for its incredible fast-growing modern cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the area has a unique history and set of landscapes and nature covering the Arab nation that is well worth a visit.

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