A small fishing town within the Arabian Gulf, Dubai is now one of the most vibrant cities in the world. The seventh emirate which composes the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is home to more than 200 nationalities and provides an unforgettable experience for anyone who visits. It doesn’t matter if it’s on its banks along Creek or on the highest point of Burj Khalifa, the world’s highest building, Dubai lives and breathes the possibility of creativity. With an unbeatable coastline, stunning desert and stunning cityscapes, unforgettable memories can be created here.
History of Dubai
Its glittering infrastructure is awe-inspiring amid the vast sand dunes Dubai is a city that sparkles in the sand dunes. Dubai lies situated amid a sandy shoreline within the Arabian Gulf. The city is an array of different cultures from around the globe sharing a sphere of peace. It was once thought to be the land of no-growth, this man-made wonder has turned heads as never before. What is the reason? Where did the idea for this massive city?
Early Minoan period (3000 BCE to 5th century CE)
Dubai’s origins go all the way to the Minoan period. The area that Dubai currently sits was once a huge mangrove swamp. The swamp was been drained and was now habitable. The theory is that Bronze Age nomadic cattle herders were the first people to establish themselves in the region. By 2500BC the area was home to a prosperous date palm plantation. This was for the first time the area was used to cultivate. It was a few millennia to peaceful farming. In the fifth century CE the area that is now known as Jumeirah home to stunning beaches and restaurants, was also an important caravanserai on the route of trade that connected Oman to the region that is today Iraq.
The Bani Yas tribe (1000 to 1700s)
The first description of Dubai was documented in 1095 from the Book of Geography by Andalusian-Arab geographer Abu Abdullah Al Bakri. Other sources, like the diary from Venetian the merchant of pearls Gaspero Balbi, dates back to 1580, when he toured the region to conduct his pearl trade. The way of life at the time was based on fishing and pearl diving and boat building and also offering accommodation and food for those who came through the area to market the products of gold, spices and other textiles. These can now be located in our souks as great souvenirs to bring to your home. The next major milestone in the development of the UAE occurred in 1793 in which there was a change in the Bani Yas tribe consolidated their the power of the state at Abu Dhabi, and Dubai was made a dependency.
The walled city (1800-1832)
Documents reveal the fact that Dubai was a city that was walled at the beginning of the 1800s. In the early 1800s, Al Fahidi Fort was built at the same time Dubai was made a dependency. Walls on Bur Dubai’s side Bur Dubai side extended from Al-Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood to Al Fahidi Fort, ending at the Old Souk. On the Deira side, the Al Ras area was walled also. However, in 1820 Britain reached a peace treaty with local rulers. This meant that trade routes would be opened and businesses could flourish. The result was a continuous exchange with nations from all over the globe and made Dubai the center of vital business.
Al Maktoum dynasty (1833 to 1893)
A significant year in the history of Dubai, Maktoum bin Butti from the Bani Yas tribe led his tribe into the Shindagha Peninsula at the mouth of Dubai Creek in 1833. He established himself there and declared Dubai’s autonomy over Abu Dhabi. Since then, Dubai was regarded as an agricultural village. Even with the many changes that the emirate has seen in the last few years, the Al Maktoum family continues to govern Dubai. Visitors can take a trip through the city’s past by strolling on the shores of Dubai Creek. As a securing point for the history of the emirate, The site is an area of activities with boats and abras floating along the old waterways.
Expatriates influx (1894 to 1966)
Under the Al Maktoum leadership, Dubai started to flourish in a remarkable way. In 1894, trade within the region received another boost, when new regulations allowed the tax exemption to expatriates. This led to enormous growth in the number of foreigners who came to the city. Indian or Pakistani traders came to Dubai to make the most of the favourable business climate. While it was a prosperous time in the history of Dubai but it was still completely dependent on fishing, trading as well as pearl diving. Then, when artificial pearls were first developed by Japan during the 50s, the fragility of the economy of the region was discovered. But, the economic downturn didn’t last for long. In 1966, everything changed to Dubai It struck oil.
The present day Dubai: Home of everything Largest (since 1966)
When oil and gas were discovered, The late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum was the first to initiate the development of Dubai. He started transforming the city from a tiny cluster of villages near Dubai Creek to a modern port, city, and commercial centre. Rashid Port, Jebel Ali Port, Dubai Drydocks, the broadening of Dubai Creek, and the Dubai World Trade Centre were among the most significant projects that were completed at the time. The visionary leadership of the UAE to move forward with massive social and building projects. Within the span of only 50 years, Dubai exploded in growth and modern marvels, like Burj Al Arab, Burj Al Arab, and Burj Khalifa. These are now very closely connected with the city.
Summary of Dubai’s Historical landmark years
- 1833: The Al Maktoum tribe establishes the fishing settlement of Dubai, continuing to rule Dubai ever since.
- 1892: Pearling and maritime business begin to flourish. Traders from across the world arrive in Dubai to benefit from incredible deals and rates.
- 1912: Dubai’s first school, Al Ahmadiya is built in Deira. The original building in Al Ras remains open as a museum, showcasing what life was like more than a century ago.
- 1958: His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum becomes the Ruler of Dubai. He leads the emirate for 32 years and develops a major hub for international trade.
- 1966: Oil is discovered in Dubai, attracting foreign trade and stimulating the economy, which over several decades diversified with shipping, finance and tourism.
- 1971: Dubai and other emirates sign a deal to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 2 December 1971. This date is marked each year as the UAE’s National Day.
- 1979: Dubai World Trade Centre, the city’s first skyscraper, opens. Formerly known as Sheikh Rashid Tower, the 38-storey building remains an icon on the city skyline
- 1985: Dubai’s flagship airline, Emirates, is launched. The airline carries more than 50 million passengers per year with cabin crew from 150+ countries.
- 1990: His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum becomes the Ruler of Dubai, following his father, His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
- 2003: The city plays host to the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and is recognised as a global financial hub.
- 2006: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum becomes the Ruler of Dubai, as well as the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE.
- 2010: The Burj Khalifa becomes the tallest building in the world, soaring 828m high and welcoming thousands of visitors each year.
- 2021: The UAE is gearing up to celebrate the 50th year of the Union and host Expo 2020 from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.
As part of Dubai’s efforts to constantly expand, discover new ideas and discover new potential, Dubai continues to plan iconic projects that will attract both business and tourists.
Culture and Heritage
Experience the warm hospitality as well as the rich culinary heritage and the proud traditions that form Dubai’s vibrant culture.
With more than 200 nationalities represented in Dubai the way people dress is very diverse. Yet, the dress code that is typical of the UAE is distinctive and bold. It is evident throughout the city.
Emirati national attire is an emblem of pride and identity. It was created with the dual purpose of comfort as well as respecting the religious beliefs of the people. In Dubai, the men wear an ankle-length, loosely-fitting outfit composed of white cotton called a kandora, or dishdasha. Ghutrahs cover the head and is secured by the agal, which is a kind made of black string. The original purpose of this garment was to shield faces from harsh desert climates.
The way women dress in Dubai is to wear an abaya which is the long, black, flowing light coat that is worn over their clothes. It is worn over Western garments or in a classic full-length, long-sleeved dress, also known as jalabeya. A black scarf, also known as the Shayla is typically worn on the top of one’s head.
Do you recognize the difference between your chebab and your Karak? Are you able to distinguish your labneh from your lugaimat? While Dubai is known for its amazing dining options, the local Emirati food is a distinct one. Visit one of the numerous Emirati eateries and taste the tasty dishes they have on offer. Here are some suggestions to start you off.
- Camel: It is served in many ways, often served with rice or transformed into hamburgers.
- Dates are delicious and sweet fruit, often stuffed with other treats like nuts.
- Fouga deyay is a rice dish made with grilled poultry marinated with Emirati spices.
- Gahwa is a traditional Arabic coffee, usually served in the ‘dallah’ pot.
- Harees: boiled, crushed or ground wheat combined with meat and spiced.
- Kabsa is a combination of basmati rice, meat and flavoured with nutmeg and saffron as well as other spices.
- Karak Chai: a mixed-spice drink that was developed in India.
- Luqaimat: sweet and sticky dumplings, drizzled with dates syrup.
- Shorbat adas: a delicious, delicately-spiced lentil soup – often a first course.
- Shuwaa: slow-cooked the lamb and roasted nuts rice and raisins – also called ‘ouzi’..
Etiquette and hospitality
“Hasan al diyafa’ (what we call ‘hospitality’) is an intrinsic aspect of Bedouin life that can be traced back to the ancient traditions of living on the desert. Some also believe that the belief in God and honouring guests go hand-in-hand and the customs remain in Dubai in the present. This article will explain the fundamentals.
- Marhaba Arabic word that means welcome, that is used to welcome someone into their home.
- Salaam Alaykum “Peace upon you” – to which you respond “walaykum salaam”.
- Gahwa: Guests often receive Arabic coffee prior to a meal. Make sure you hand over the empty cup using hands that are right.
- Modesty: Are you visiting the local residence? Think about wearing loose, long clothes that cover your body. It is common to keep your shoes by the front door.
- The nose to the nose The tradition is that in the UAE Many Emirati men will rub their noses or prick on the cheeks the first time they meet. Visitors are not required to observe the custom.
- The majlis: A lot of houses have a reception space that is reserved for special events or hosting guests. The typical reception room would have couches and low seating which dates back to tents.
- Fingers, hands and legs: Men will shake hands with anyone present, however, be aware that women may not be inclined to do this. When you sit, pointing your feet towards someone can be considered offensive.
- Dinner: Dinners are usually served on a large, round platter. Be ready to use your hands!
Traditional crafts and handicrafts
Local handicrafts and arts are still practised widely in Dubai and throughout the UAE. A variety of examples can be seen in the shops of boutiques around and within Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, featuring contemporary, artistic renditions frequently on display at different galleries along Alserkal Avenue.
- Calligraphy It is the Arabic alphabet is the second most extensively used around the world. This type of writing is called Khatt, which is the word meaning “line”, “design” or “construction”.
- Henna was originally worn by brides throughout this region in order to add luck to their wedding the body tattoo of henna remains a very popular beauty treatment in Dubai until today.
- Perfumery in the Arab world is famous for its strong scents. Many modern perfumes blend the traditional aromas of the base with an array of modern notes. Go to the Al Shindagha Museum to find out more regarding the craft of fragrance.
- Pottery: Humans have worked with clay since the 3rd millennium BCE. Apart from decorative vases and incense pots, Earthen pots remain efficient for cooling water.
- Weaving: saddles, belts baskets, tents, and many more. The weaving method that is called Al Sadu employed sheep or goat’s wool or the hair of camel to create a variety of necessary items.
Celebrations and Festivals
You might be amazed to witness men seated in a row performing Ayyala with bamboo canes, and dancing in sync with the rhythm of percussion. Other dance forms include Razfa which is often a combination of reading poetry or lines and manipulating other objects such as rifles, daggers, or daggers.
The forms of poetry in the UAE are influenced by both far and near as well as many famous poets hailing out of the Emirates. Many poems are immortalized with a calligraphic design, giving them life through captivating images as well. Nabati poetry is an essential part of Emirati culture.
Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha (both often abbreviated as “Eid”) are important religious holidays for the UAE as well as for Muslims around the globe. In this period, the emphasis is on spending time with loved ones as well as extending special Eid greetings and offering charitable donations to the needy and poor.
This ninth month on the Islamic calendar is that is dedicated to achieving cleanliness and greater spiritual awareness. For adults who are healthy the practice is to fast starting at dawn, and following the suhoor meal – until sunset, which is when fasting people break to eat a meal at night, called iftar.
It used to be the norm for weddings to take place in an individual home, which was decorated with bunting and flags. The celebrations would last for about three days and then a meal was prepared. Nowadays the wedding reception will likely be held in a banquet hall of the hotel or in a function space that has a discreet ceremony for female and male guests.
The music industry has always been linked to poetry and poetry, with some of the most famous traditions being Al Shila or Al Wana mixing poetry and music. When it comes to contemporary the music scene, Dubai now has a vibrant scene that features local musicians playing in local cafés, as well as world-renowned superstars who sell out concert halls and arenas all over the city.
Why not have a look at the latest events happening in Dubai?