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.
The Allure Of Ajman
Small is beautiful
The smallest of the seven emirates, Ajman is a charming settlement hugging the Persian Gulf's coastline. It also lays claim to two tiny enclaves in the Hajar Mountains.
Once an important Bronze Age community, modern Ajman is the antithesis of the bustle and energy of Dubai. Situated along a natural creek, Ajman is home to many historical sites, an enchanting museum and the largest dhow building yard in the world.
The traditional way of Arab living has been well preserved here, providing a pleasant blend of the old and new.
Ajman is formed of three distinctly different regions: Ajman city, Masfout, and Manama. Natural attractions are represented by golden sandy beaches and the startling different topography ranging between mountains and flat sandy land.
The Ajman National Museum is one of the main tourist attractions in the city. The historical fort houses representations of different periods in the emirate's history, various archaeological acquisitions, historical documents, and tools and implements used in olden days. The Ajman Fort is believed to have been built in the late 18th century, with local materials such as coral, sandstone and gypsum, and special tree trunks brought in from East Africa. It was the primary residence of Ajman's ruling family until the year 1970, after which it was restored and converted into a museum.
Ajman's dhow yard is the world's largest active dhow building yard. The dhow is a wooden ocean going boat of Arabic origin, featuring one or more lateen sails. They are built by hand with traditional tools, as per oral guidelines that have been handed down from generation to generation.
Mowaihat is one of the most famous archaeological sites of the UAE, after a circular tomb in the style of the Umm Al Nar period was discovered in 1986. The tomb dates back to 2000 - 2500 BC, and artefacts recovered from the site include painted ceramic vessels, beads, stamp seals and copper implements.