|Language and religion
The official language is
Arabic, but English and Urdu are also widely spoken, along with Hindi,
Persian, Punjabi, Malayalam, and Tagalog. Islam is the official religion
of all of the emirates. A vast majority of the locals are Sunnis. There
are foreign minority Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians as well. Dubai is the
only emirate that has Hindu temples and a Sikh gurudwara.
The Meena Bazaar area of
the city has both a Shiva and Krishna temple. Both are believed to be sanctioned
by the late ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. There is
an electric crematorium run by a group of Indian expatriates. Non-Muslims
in the country are free to practice their religion but may not proselytise
publicly or distribute religious literature. The government follows a policy
of tolerance towards non-Muslims and Polytheist; in practice, interferes
very little in the religious activities of non-Muslims.
In early 2001, ground was
broken for the construction of several additional churches on a parcel
of land in Jebel Ali donated by the government of Dubai for four Protestant
congregations and a Catholic congregation. Construction on the first Greek
Orthodox Church in Dubai (to be called St. Mary's) would begin at the end
of 2005, members of the Eastern Orthodox Christian community in the UAE
have had to use churches of other denominations for services, until General
Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Defence
Minister, donated a plot of land in Jebel Ali.
Apart from donated land
for the construction of churches and other religious facilities, including
cemeteries, non-Muslim groups are not supported financially or subsidised
by the government. However, they are permitted to raise money from among
their congregants and to receive financial support from abroad. Christian
churches are permitted to openly advertise certain church functions, such
as memorial services, in the press
||The population of the UAE
as of 2001 was estimated to be 3,290,000. The population of Dubai was estimated
to be 971,000. The UAE is a highly cosmopolitan environment and a large
part of the population are non-UAE nationals, primarily a mix of other
Arab nationals, Asians and Europeans. 80% of Dubai's population is comprised
of expatriates with Europeans and Asians accounting for approximately 70%
of households. Approximately 71% of the population is male and 29% is female.
The UAE population is expected to grow by 3.3% per annum to reach 4.15
million by 2010. Dubai is expected to have a population of 1.4 million
Dubai has a sub-tropical,
arid climate, with perfect weather for at least six months out of the year.
Rainfall is infrequent and happens mainly in winter. Usually it amounts
to about 13 centimeters, spread over five days per year. Temperatures range
from a low of about 10 degrees Celsius on winter nights, to a high of 48
degrees Celsius in the midday summer heat.
Dubai has a wide variety
of cuisine to offer, and most of the best restaurants are within hotels,
especially as hotels are some of the only restaurants that can serve alcohol
with the meal. There are exceptions to this rule such as Century Village,
Irish Village (next door to Century Village) and the Wafi centre, both
of which are highly recommendable for at least a visit.
Ashiana - This restaurant
is really one of the most famous and most highly respected Indian restaurants
in Dubai. The service is excellent, good ambience. The evening sees the
appearance of the equally famous Ashiana resident band, which enhances
the aromatic and spicy dishes with the enchanting sound of classic Indian
music. Located at the Sheraton Dubai Hotel and Towers.
Tel : 281 111.
Al Qasr - Located
at the beautiful Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa. Serves Lebanese and
Middle Eastern cuisine. Overlooking the splendid gardens, swimming pools,
and beach at the Resort makes for a splendid evening, which accompanied
by a Belly Dancer and Arabian Music. The food is delicious.
Antique Bazaar -
The Indian restaurant in Dubai. Located at the Four Points Sheraton Bur
Dubai. Offers excellent food with unusual decoration. Every table in the
restaurant is different. Open for dinner from 19:30 until 3 am. Prices
Tel. : 3977444.
Ayam Zamam - Famous
and highly respected Lebanese restaurants in Dubai. Located at the Century
Hotel (formerly known as the Dubai Marine Hotel) in Bur Dubai, Ayam Zamam
is open seven days a week for lunch from 12:30 - 15:30 and for dinner with
live entertainment from 19:30 - 3am. Arabian music from 10:30/11:00 guarantees
a special experience.
Tel. 352 0900.
Benjarong - is a
beautiful fine dining Thai restaurant located at the only Thai hotel in
Dubai, the Dusit hotel. Located on the 24th floor the restaurant offers
views out over the desert. Try to enjoy a drink or two at the lounge which
is located on the same floor.
Blue Elephant - Blue
Elephant in Dubai will not disapoint. Offering excellent Thai food in nice
Cappana Nuovo - This
Italian restaurant offers guests in door and out door dining with amazing
views of the Arabian Sea.
Century Village -
Located right next door to the Irish Village, the Century Village is a
small oasis of fine dining restaurants, in a relaxing atmosphere of fountains
and greenery which allows you to almost forget that you are in Dubai. Restaurants
include Da Gama (Portugese), La Vigne (Italian), a Japanese Sushi Bar,
Coffee Shop, and an Arabic restaurant.
La Vigne - Offers
you authentic Italian cuisine in a wonderful setting. With indoor and outdoor
dining, you have a choice of eating under the stars in the courtyard area,
or dining in the spacious restaurant. The food is very good, plentiful
and well priced. Reservations can be made at
- Famous for kebabs. The food they serve is plentiful and cheap. The servers
are very friendly and will help you find your way around the relatively
limited menu. They have daily specials every day and the standard fare
consists of rice, and different forms of kebabs.
Tel : 277755/237797
Kwality - Let's face
it any restaurant with a name spelt like this has to be featured ! This
Indian restaurant is located opposite the Century Hotel in Bur Dubai (formerly
the Dubai Marine Hotel). Open from 8 to 11:30 the restaurant offers good
quality Indian food.
Le Venezia - Italian
theme style restaurant located at the Metropolitan Hotel, along Sheik Zeyahid
Road. As you dine on the Italian cuisine, you are entertained by roaming
Opera singers, guitarists, and violinists, that help add to the fun of
this fantasy restaurant. Children are not allowed in, so if you do want
to show your children this unusual and large restaurant then you will need
to use the pizzeria which is on a balcony level overlooking the Venezia
Tanour - An Indian
restaurant opposite the Century Hotel (formerly the Dubai Marine Hotel).
The dining area of the restaurant is located on the second floor and is
extremely small. What is nice about this small restaurant is that the lighting
is subdued which offers a nice private meal for you to enjoy. The food
is very good and reasonable. The restaurant is open 7 days a week from
12:30 until midnight.
Thai Bistro - One
of the best Thai restaurants in Dubai, with even other hoteliers recommending
it as a great place to enjoy the delicate and exotic flavours from Thailand.
You have a choice of indoor and outdoor dining. Outdoor you sit under the
stars, gazing over the landscaped gardens, with light shimmering off the
swimming pools, as you look down to the beach, and the Arabian Sea.
Telephone - (971-4) 461
Having expanded along both
banks of the Creek, Dubai’s central business district is divided into two
parts — Deira on the northern side and Bur Dubai to the south — connected
by a tunnel and two bridges. Each has its share of fine mosques and busy
souks, of public buildings, shopping malls, hotels, office towers, banks,
hospitals, schools, apartments and villas.
Outside this core, the city
extends to the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah to the north, while extending
south and west in a long ribbon of development alongside the Gulf, through
the districts of Satwa, Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim.
At first glance, the city
presents a predominantly modern face, an ever-changing skyline of new developments,
from striking glass and concrete towers to gracious modern buildings incorporating
traditional Arabian architectural motifs and features.
The Creek, a natural sea-water
inlet which cuts through the centre of the city, is the historic focal
point of life in Dubai. A stroll along its banks evokes the city’s centuries-old
Visitors will be captivated
by the colour and bustle of the loading and unloading of dhows which still
ply ancient trade routes to places as distant as India and East Africa.
An attractive way to view
the Creek and the dhows is from an abra, one of the small water taxis which
criss-cross the Creek from the souks of Deira to those on the Bur Dubai
Boatmen will also take visitors
on a fascinating hour-long trip from the abra embarkation points to the
mouth of the Creek and inland to the Maktoum Bridge, passing on the way
many of the city’s historic and modern landmarks.
Redevelopment work has transformed
parts of the Creek’s banks. On the Deira side, a broad and well-lit, paved
promenade extends from the Corniche, which faces on the Arabian Gulf, all
the way to the attractive purpose-built dhow terminal constructed beside
On the Bur Dubai side between
Maktoum and Garhoud bridges, Creekside Park provides pleasant paved walks
and extensive landscaped public gardens.
At the inland end of the
Creek is a large, shallow lagoon, now a wildlife sanctuary which has become
a haven for migrating shore birds. Some 27,000 birds have been counted
here at one time during the autumn migration. The most spectacular are
the many Greater Flamingos which have made the Creek their permanent home