WELCOME TO THE DESERT'S MOST
There are records of the
town of Dubai from 1799. Earlier in the 18th century the Al Abu Falasa
lineage of Bani Yas clan established itself in Dubai which was a dependent
of the settlement of Abu Dhabi until 1833.
On 8 January 1820, the then
sheikh of Dubai was a signatory to the British sponsored "General Treaty
of Peace" (the General Maritime Treaty).
In 1833, the Al Maktoum
dynasty of the Bani Yas tribe left the settlement of Abu Dhabi and took
over the town of Dubai, "without resistance". From that point on, Dubai,
a newly independent emirate, was constantly at odds with the emirate of
Abu Dhabi. An attempt by the Qawasim pirates to take over Dubai was thwarted.
In 1835, Dubai and the rest of the Trucial States signed a maritime truce
with Britain and a "Perpetual Maritime Truce" about two decades later.
Dubai came under the protection of the United Kingdom (keeping out the
Ottoman Turks) by the Exclusive Agreement of 1892. Like four of its neighbours,
Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Qaiwain, its position on
the route to India made it an important location.
In March 1892, the Trucial
States (or Trucial Oman) were created.
The rulers of Dubai fostered
trade and commerce, unlike the town's neighbors. The town of Dubai was
an important port of call for foreign tradesmen (chiefly Indians), who
settled in the town. Until the 1930s, the town was known for its pearl
After the devaluation of
the Gulf Rupee in 1966, Dubai joined the newly independent state of Qatar
to set up a new monetary unit, the Qatar/Dubai riyal. Oil was discovered
120 kilometres off the coast of Dubai, after which the town granted oil
On 2 December 1971 Dubai,
together with Abu Dhabi and five other emirates, formed the United Arab
Emirates after former protector Britain left the Persian Gulf in 1971.
In 1973, Dubai joined the other emirates to adopt a single, uniform currency:
the UAE dirham.
Dubai is a cosmopolitan city
and visitors can dress however they like. Still, a good amount of respect
for local customs is appreciated. In deference to local customs and norms
it is a good idea for visitors not to wear very short, tight clothing,
at least until such time as they are comfortable with the city. UAE nationals
usually wear their traditional dress. For men this is the dishdasha or
khandura, a white full-length shirt-dress. It is worn with a white or red
checked headdress known as a gutra. In public women wear the black abaya,
a long black robe that covers their normal clothes. They also wear a headscarf.
Culture in Dubai is rooted
in Islamic traditions that form UAE National's lifestyles. However, the
UAE is tolerant and welcoming to foreigners who do not practice the religion
of Islam. Expatriates are free to practice their own religion, alcohol
is served in hotels and the dress code is liberal. Women don't face discrimination.
Courtesy and hospitality are one of the many virtues of Dubai. Rulers are
keen to maintain their culture and do so through a number of practices.
One is promoting sporting events that are representative of their past.
Falconry, camel racing and dhow sailing are still popular in Dubai.
The official language of
the country is Arabic, however most people in and out of the workplace
communicate in English. There are so many different nationalities in Dubai,
English finds common ground with most people. The majority of road and
shop signs, restaurant menus etc. are in both English and Arabic.
Normally tourist photography
is acceptable and expected with all the beautiful things to photograph
in Dubai. In general, photographs of government buildings, military installations,
ports and airports should not be taken. Like anywhere, it is polite to
ask permission before photographing people. It is considered offensive
to photograph Muslim women.
Arabic cuisine comprises
many types of cooking from countries like Morocco, Egypt, Afghanistan,
Lebanon, Tunisia, and more. Throughout the city, vendors sell shawarma,
a hot sandwich with lamb or chicken, carved from a rotating spit and served
in pita bread with vegetables. A variety of juices from pineapple, banana,
mango, or a mixed cocktail can be ordered from fresh juice vendors.
Alcohol is served in licensed
premises like restaurants and bars. It is also served in a few recreational
clubs. Shisha pipes are smoked at most establishments. They are traditional
water pipes that use flavored tobaccos like strawberry or apple. Shisha
is usually enjoyed while sitting at a cafe restaurant.
The Palm Jebel Ali