Welcome to the UAE
A complete holiday destination
The United Arab Emirates is a constitutional federation of seven emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. Spurred by the discovery of oil in the late 1950s, a visionary programme of development has evolved the UAE into a modern and stable state with exemplary infrastructure, excellent facilities, and a very low crime rate.
The UAE covers an area of 83,000 square kilometres and is situated at the south eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. On the world map, it sits conveniently between the Far East and Europe - a key factor in its emergence as the region's major air travel hub.
Ranked high as one of the world's fastest growing tourist destinations, it has all the right ingredients for a complete and unforgettable holiday - sun, sand, sea, sports, shopping, and safety.
- Modern country created in 1971
- Welcoming and hospitable society
- Unique blend of traditional and contemporary cultures
- Stable and secure
- Year round sunshine
- Varied landscape of beaches, mountains and desert
- Extensive range of hotels and resorts
- Wide choice of sports and leisure facilities
- Numerous attractions and activities
The earliest significant settlements in the UAE date back to the Bronze Age. Over the past hundreds of years, the country has been exposed to numerous cultural influences including Persian, Greek, Portuguese and British. In the 18th century, the British established a protectorate over the region, but the area remained a backwater for fishermen, pearl divers and Bedouin nomads until the 20th century, when oil was discovered.
In 1971, the British withdrew from the region and seven independent sheikhdoms came together to form the UAEs. The economy, once dependent on oil revenues, is now diverse and dynamic. Trade and manufacturing contribute significantly, while the tourism industry is accepted as an emerging global force, setting new standards and forever breaking new ground.
Although four-fifths of the UAE is desert, the landscape offers a lot more than sand dunes. In the North, the 200 million year old Hajar Mountains are a compelling sight, as are the rich fertile plains and quaint oasis towns in the East. The country's extensive coastline is peppered with secluded beaches, shallow inlets, and small islands.
Visitors to the UAE can choose from a wide selection of attractions and activities. These include extended shopping trips to designer stores, shopping malls and traditional souks, and cultural visits to museums, galleries and mosques. For the more adventurous, there are activities based in the desert, on the mountains, and in the water. The UAE also boasts some of the world's finest championship golf courses.
The warmth of the local culture is reflected in the traditional Arabian approach to hospitality, and the generous acceptance of other faiths, practices and customs.
The choice of hotels and resorts across the country is nothing short of exceptional. From city apartments to beach and mountain properties, and from exclusive desert resorts to some of the world's finest hotels, the service and facilities are of exceptionally high standards.
Despite the incredible growth in tourism, the UAE has not weakened the bond with its past, and local traditions and culture are cherished and respected across towering high rises and ancient boatyards alike. This fascinating mix of the old and the new has allowed the country to progress rapidly - without losing touch with its roots.
Unique Umm Al Quwain
The enigmatic emirate
Its Arabic name, Mother of Two Powers, refers to Umm Al Quwain's indomitable power over both land and sea. And its location on a narrow peninsula of sand jutting north from the road linking Sharjah to Ras Al Khaimah lends it many charms.
Umm Al Quwain city is located besides a large creek, and the old town and the business district are at the northern tip of the peninsula, along King Faisal Road.
Situated on 24 kilometres of coastline, Umm Al Quwain is renowned for its long clean beaches, an enclosed lagoon, and public horse riding stables.
The emirate's key attractions include historical sites, ancient forts, a natural reserve with many species of birds, deer and rare flora, and a multi-million dollar water park. The most important archaeological sites are Al Madar, Ed Dur, and Tell Abraq which lies on the border with Sharjah.
Of the seven forts in the emirate, the one flanked by defensive cannons has been fully renovated and is now the Umm Al Quwain Fort and Museum. Once the headquarters of the local police, it still has functional kitchens, storerooms, and meeting rooms on display, showcasing ancient building techniques.
Dreamland Aqua Park, with 25 attractions, is one of the largest water theme parks in the UAE. The multipurpose facility also serves as a venue for launches, concerts and shows.
Umm Al Quwain's dhow building yard is a legendary institution, where craftsmen still build traditional wooden boats by hand.
Falaj Al Mualla, located 50 kilometres south east of Umm Al Quwain city, is an attractive natural oasis. Next door, the charming camel racetrack of Al Labsa is set in the leeway of large sand dunes.
Sinaiyah Island is home to a large number of Socotra Cormorant birds, and is the third largest such colony in the world. Close by, Khor Al Beidah is an expansive area of sand and mud flats, and is internationally renowned for its waterfowl.