The United Arab Emirates is a country consisting of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. The United Arab Emirates is known for its persistent sunlight, golden dunes that stretch for miles, and some of the most expensive buildings of modern times.
However, they are not all just tall skyscrapers and sand. Founded 50 years ago by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the country is now home to more than 200 nationalities and a world pioneer in many industries.
Every year, it welcomes millions of tourists from around the world to explore the rich and diverse experiences that this Arabian gem has to offer.
Basic information about the UAE
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Why the Emirates
There is no lack of reasons why you should visit the United Arab Emirates. This small country located in the Persian Gulf is home to the tallest building in the world, the most luxurious hotels ever built and a mixture of tradition and novelty that is rare in other countries. The best reasons to visit the United Arab Emirates can be found in each of its 7 emirates, all of which offer their own unique experiences.
The capital of the Emirates
Abu Dhabi - this emirate is the capital of the UAE and its largest state, which occupies approximately 87% of the country’s territory.
Abu Dhabi, the Arab capital of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, and the national capital of this federation. The city is located on a small island just off the coast of the Persian Gulf and is connected to the mainland by a short bridge. Abu Dhabi was previously an undeveloped city with only local significance, but its oil revenues allowed it to develop into a modern city with a fully developed infrastructure.
The flag shows three identical horizontal stripes of green, white and black, from top to bottom, while the red vertical strip is next to the mast. The flag was designed in 1971 by the young Abdullah Mohammed Al Maainah. The UAE flag consists of four colors: green, white, black and red. All four represent Arab unity. Green indicates good and agriculture, which is abundant throughout the country. White means peace. Black is about courage and strength. Red refers to strength and sovereignty.
Emblem of the United Arab Emirates
The emblem is made up of a golden falcon which represents strength and heritage, while the flag in the middle with seven stars around it represents the unity of the seven emirates. Originally, when the emblem was adopted in 1971, it contained an Arab Dhow in the middle instead of the UAE flag and seven stars.
The current population of the United Arab Emirates (April 2020) is 9,865,519, which corresponds to 0.13% of the total world population. The UAE ranks 93rd in the list of countries by population.
The population density in the United Arab Emirates is 118 per km2.
86.4% of the population is urban. The average age in the United Arab Emirates is 32.6.
Holidays in the Emirates
In the United Arab Emirates, there are two types of holidays - fixed holidays (National Day and New Year) and Islamic holidays, which depend on the phase of the moon and their dates change every year.
Federal ministries, public ministries and government institutions are closed during public holidays.
In 2020, the people of the UAE will have a total of up to 15 holidays.
|New year||1st January 2020|
|Eid Al Fitr||23th or 24th May 2020|
|Arafat Day||29th or 30th July 2020|
|Eid Al Adha||30th or 31st July 2020|
|Hijri New Year’s Day||19th or 20th August 2020|
|Martyr’s Day||1st December 2020|
|National Day||2nd and 3rd December 2020|
Currency of the Emirates
The local currency is the UAE dirham (AED or Dhs) and is divided into 100 fils.
Credit and debit cards are generally accepted. Foreign currencies can be exchanged in exchange offices, banks and licensed hotels, a passport is required. If you are shopping in malls or smaller stores, cash is the best choice.
Bank opening hours are usually from Saturday to Thursday, 8:00 - 13:00 (some banks keep later hours). Some banks have small branches in shopping malls, which are also open in the evenings.
Prices in the Emirates
If you are wondering if the UAE is an expensive country to visit and live in, the answer is yes. While the cost of living in the UAE varies depending on the emirate, the total cost is high. Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have slipped into the world ranking of the most expensive cities to live in.
When arranging discounts, it is more advantageous to pay in dirhams and in cash. As in many other Arab countries, in Dubai, traders are in the habit of bargaining.
- Meals, cheap restaurant 25.00 AED
- Meals for 2 people, Middle-class restaurant, three-course menu 200.00 AED
- McMeal at McDonald’s AED 25.00
- Homemade beer (0.5 liters) 40.00 AED
- Imported beer (0.33 l bottle) 45.00 AED
- Coca Cola / Pepsi (0.33 l bottle) 3.31 AED
- Water (0.33 1 bottle) 1.44 AED
- Milk (1 liter) 5.95 AED
- White bread (500 g) 4.49 AED
- Jablka (1 kg) 8.10 AED
- Banana (1 kg) 6.37 AED
- Oranges (1 kg) 6.37 AED
- Water (1.5 l bottle) 2.44 AED
- Bottle of wine (medium range) 60.00 AED
- Homemade beer (0.5 l bottle) 15.14 AED
- Imported beer (0.33 l bottle) 15.58 AED
- Cigarettes 20ks (Marlboro) 21.50 AED
- One-way ticket (local transport) 5.00 AED
- Monthly ticket (regular price) 247.50 AED
- Start of taxi (normal tariff) 12.00 AED
- Taxi 1 km (normal tariff) 2.00 AED
- Waiting for 1 hour taxi (normal tariff) 30.00 AED
- Petrol (1 liter) 2.30 AED
Visa to the Emirates
EU citizens have the opportunity to obtain entry visas free of charge after landing at an international airport in the UAE valid for 90 days in any 180-day period. No obligations to obtain in advance are required. This type of visa cannot be extended. Passports should be normal and valid for more than six months. For US and Australian citizens, you can get your visa after landing too but valid for 1 month stay in the UAE
Security in the Emirates
This country is particularly safe for single women, especially in hotels such as the Dubai Jumeirah Emirates Towers and the Dukes Dubai, which dedicate floors only to women with exclusively female employees.
Not surprisingly, in recent years, Abu Dhabi has surpassed cities such as Vienna and Tokyo, which, according to an online survey by Numbeo, were described as the safest in the world.
The UAE would like to keep it that way, so you will be subject to a very strict customs system when you visit. As you cross Dubai International Airport, you will be able to see 944 control systems, including 23 drug and explosives detectors and 700 radioactivity detectors.
Interesting facts about the Emirates
- The form of government of the country is an absolute monarchy. Each emirate of the UAE is governed separately royal family, but Emir Abu Dhabi is home to the country’s president and head of state, while the Emir of Dubai serves as Prime Minister’s.
- Dubai has the longest driverless metro system. It is more than than 75km long
- According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The height of the skyscraper is 828 meters.
- It is always wise for people visiting the country to familiarize themselves with local laws. In Dubai, for example, people were prosecuted and imprisoned for public display of affection.
- Arabic is the national language, but English is widely used
- Burj Al Arab is a 7-star hotel with 24-carat interiors gold
- Islam is the official religion of the United Arab Emirates and across the city you will see mosques. Religion is an important part of Dubai’s culture.
Where to call in case of emergency in the UAE?
- Police: 999
- Fire brigade: 997
- Emergency: 998
The UAE phone code is +971.
Contacts at the U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi:
P.O. Box 4009, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Phone: +971-2 414 2200
Contacts at the Australian Embassy United Arab Emirates:
16th Floor, Al Muhairy Centre, Zayed the First Street, Abu Dhabi
Phone: +971 2 401 7500
Contacts at the British Embassy Abu Dhabi:
British Embassy Abu Dhabi, Al Hisn Street, Al Markaziyah West, PO Box 248 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 2 610 1100
Further contacts can be found on the MFA website.