Dubai has changed dramatically in the last 50 years; however, it has a rich history and heritage that dates back to ancient times. According to archaeological evidence, the first human settlement in Dubai was approximately 3000 BC. From the third to the seventh-century AD, the area was under the control of the Sassanid Empire. Afterwards, the Umayyad Caliphate took control of the area and introduced Islam. For thousands of years, the inhabitants of the area took to fishing and pearl diving to sustain themselves. In the sixteenth century, Europeans began taking interest in the region’s trade and traffic routes.
Impact of Oil
The major defining moment in Dubai’s fortunes and history was the finding of large oil deposits in Dubai’s Fateh Oilfield in 1966. Together with the merging of Dubai and the newly autonomous state of Qatar to form a new legal tender, the Riyal, it made it possible for Dubai to grow rapidly and expand. Since the first oil shipment in 1969, Dubai’s economy has never looked back. As a wealthy autonomous state, Dubai can dictate policy to the United Arab Emirates.
Sheikh Rashid used the oil revenues to spur massive infrastructure development in Dubai. Roads, hospitals, schools, hotels, modern telecommunications network and many other development projects began sprouting at a frantic pace. Oil revenues facilitated the construction of a new terminal building and port, a runway that could accommodate any aircraft, a free zone around the port, and the largest man-made harbor in the world.
Dubai’s formula for development was a combination of high–quality infrastructure, visionary leadership, zero tax on corporate and personal income, an expatriate–friendly environment, and low import duties. The result was that Dubai quickly became a tourism and business hub for a region that stretches from the Indian sub–continent to Egypt and from the CIS countries to South Africa.
Plans for Development
Dubai boasts unparalleled hotels, world–class sporting and entertainment events, and remarkable architecture. Unlike Riyadh, Dubai would continue to excel in a world that no longer needs oil since trade in the region would continue to grow because Dubai was a major commercial center long before oil production existed. Despite the constant turmoil over the cost of oil, many people consider Dubai to be the Hong Kong of the Middle East. However, Dubai may have to put into action various policies that encourage localization and deviate from globalization to provide jobs to citizens of the UAE instead of foreigners, conserve their energy reserves, and maintain their local administrative authority.
Top Tourist Attractions in Dubai
1. Burj Al Arab
Dubai offers a wealth of exceptional tourist attractions, resulting from the large–scale construction boom. Tourists planning Dubai holidays should make a point of visiting the magnificent Burj Al Arab, which is the world’s only seven–star hotel. Designed to look like a billowing sail, the hotel rises to a height of 321 meters and is the 4th tallest hotel in the world. No visit to Dubai would be complete without visiting or at least seeing this iconic symbol of Dubai.
2. Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa is the tallest and most exceptional building on earth and is an astonishing achievement in engineering. This 2,722-ft tower boasts the highest viewing platform in the world, and the high point of any visit to this amazing building is the view from the top. Throughout the journey from the lower ground level, visitors enjoy a multi–media presentation of the rich history of Dubai and the wonder that is the Burj Khalifa.
3. The Dubai Fountains
Located at the foot of the world’s tallest building is the largest performing fountain in the world, the Dubai Fountains. Set on the Burj Khalifa Lake, a 30–acre artificial lake, the Dubai Fountains shoot water jets to a height of 500 ft, which is equivalent to the height of a 50–storey building. The fountain has two central arcs, five circles of varying sizes, and is 900 ft long. Over 25-color projectors and 6,600 WET Superlights create a visual display of more than a thousand abstract attractions.
4. Dubai Palm Island
As the name suggests, the palm island resembles a palm tree. While most islands are famous for their natural beauty, the Palm Jumeirah is a true feat of engineering. This mega project is so large that it has changes the ecology in ways that will only become clear in many years to come. This exceptional and unique holiday destination offers a wide variety of entertainment, relaxation and leisure opportunities.
Dubai offers many more tourist attractions including the majestic Atlantis Hotel, Global Village, Dubai Creek, Wild Wadi, Dubai Marina, and Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East.