Dubai is an emirate in the UAE, which is located in the Middle East between Europe and Asia. It is rapidly developing into one of the most attractive leisure destinations in the world. The emirate is known to combine tradition with newer western culture. How they combine is becoming more and more interesting as the country tears more and more away from its roots and the government structure of the UAE. It still has a very rich Arabic-Islamic culture, however the leisurely hotels and many tourist attractions make the traditional culture difficult to maintain at times (1). This makes the everchanging architecture, government, economy and culture of Dubai very interesting.
The architecture of Dubai is absolutely insane. They have made artificial islands, a hotel of all led lights, and newly added a completely underwater hotel. Dubai will soon be bigger than Walt Disney World. 1. There is so much building that is going on over in Dubai that they are said to have 15- 25% of all of the cranes in the world. Dubai is being added to all the time, even with their economical crisis that is happening. Dubai is like a large competition for architects to outdo the architect that designed something before them. Dubai is a playground for any architect that wants to take on the challenge. Some of the recent bizarre building or attractions that have are going up are Hydropolis- the underwater hotel, Palm Jumeirah- the manmade island shaped like a palm tree, the wheel shaped hotel, the man made islands that are shaped like a world map, and the Abu Dhabi Yas- the world’s largest LED structure.
Hydropolis is the first of its kind. It will have three elements to it. There will be an area that the guests are greeted. Then from there, there will be a connecting tunnel with a train that will bring the guests to the main part of the hotel. There will be 220 suites that will take up with massive hotel. The hotel takes up 260 hectares, which was compared to the size of London’s Hyde Park. The developer and the designer of Hydroplis is Joachim Hauser. It is 66 feet below the surface of the Persian Gulf, justoff Jumeira Beach in Dubai.The whole place is reinforced by concrete and steel, its Plexiglas walls and bubble-shaped dome ceilings will enable guests to see fish and other sea creatures while they adventure around the hotel.Architects working on Hydropolis had some difficulty selecting a suitable position for the complex, as concerns have been repeatedly raised about the displacement effect of building a 260-hectare underwater structure. If the architects are off in anyway, the incoming waves and tides could potentional servely damage the hotel. So they needed to make sure that everything was exact before they could even start contructing the site.
Palm Jumeirah is a manmade island that was made into the shape of a large Palm tree. 3. This large island was proposed to be the 8th wonder of the world. 4. This island is said to be the best vacation place for a wonderful holiday break. The Palm Jumeirah is like its own little town within itself. There is great shopping areas, well knows hotels, and many attractions that any age is able to enjoy. The construction of the place started in 2001 and is planned to end in 2013. This island was created by Nakheel, a company that is owned by the Dubai government. It is actually one of three islands called the Palm islands. These islands extend into the Persian gulf and help increase Dubai’s shoreline by 520 km. Palm Jumeirah is the smallest of the three islands. It is 5 kilometers by 5 kilometers and has a total area larger than 800 football fields. The crown is connected to the mainland of Dubai by a bridge that stretches 300- meters. Not only is one able to enjoy a nice getaway, but there are areas on the island that are for sale. So you could either go for a nice holiday break there or go on a permanent getaway and live there. Over the next few years as the tourism develops on Palm Jumeirah, it is said that it will become one of the world’s premier resorts. The possibilities are endless.
5. The World islands were completely finished in January of 2008. This area of islands was a vision of architects that came true. They wanted to make a paradise that was made of sea, sand a sky. The World islands are located 4 km off the coast of Dubai. The islands are composed of mostly sand dredged from Dubai’s shallow coast waters. The developers of this creation are the same of the Palm Jumeirah, Nakheel Properties. The project though was originally the idea of the ruler of Dubai. This amazing development was designed for many different densities of housing, resorts, and commercial buildings. Anyone is able to buy an island of the World Islands and make it their own paradise. Each island though has a certain density that was already decided for it. The islands range from 14,000 to 42,000 square meters in total area each. There is a distance of around 100 meters between the islands. The area of the entire development covers 6 kilometers by 9 kilometers. This large project cost nearly $14 billion US dollars. When this project was finished there was 321 million cubic meters of sand that was brought in and around 31 million tons of rock that was used to make the islands. This massive project could be the start of a new world.
6. A new part of Dubai that hasn’t yet been put up is The Icon. The Icon is a new hotel that will be in the shape of a wheel. The real estate developer Nakheel, Said that this hotel will change the Dubai skyline. 7. This hotel will be a five start luxury hotel. This wheel shaped hotel will be a luxury waterfront residential and commercial peninsula that will overlook the giant palm-tree shaped Dubai Palm islands. The hotel will be placed between the Dubai Marina and the seafront. When this peninsula is competly completed, there will be room for 10,000 residents in over 2,000 residential units.
8. Of all of the hotels and places to live in Dubai, the Abu Dhabi Yas is the brightest at night because the roof is made of only LED lights. It is in the record books as the largest LED structure. This luxury hotel was designed by Asymptote Architecture. The lights wrap around the building like a large neon shell. There are more than 5,300 sparkling diamond- shaped LED panels that make up this magnificent structure. The lights are able to change colors and also can display any low- resolution 3D videos. The Yas is part of a bigger development of 36 million dollars. There is also a race track that will soon be completed that surrounds the whole hotel. This magnificent creation will soon be known around the whole for its interesting roof that lights up the night.
The government system in Dubai is very unique. First, one must look at the structure / operations of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because the UAE encompasses Dubai. Then, one can specifically understand the Dubai government. Many think of Dubai as a very progressive area of the world, in many aspects this is true, however many of the UAE government policies are somewhat old-fashioned policies. Dubai is even an exception to some of the laws/regulations set for the rest of the UAE.
The UAE is a federation with certain powers reserved for the UAE federal government while other powers are given to the seven emirates (Abu Zaby, 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy, Umm al Qaywayn, and Ra's al Khaymah)(4). The UAE government has several responsibilities including: defense/security, foreign affairs, immigration issues, education, public health, currency, postal, telephone/communication services, air traffic control, licensing of aircraft, labour relations, delimitation of territorial waters, banding, and extradition of criminals. The emirates have jurisdiction in anything not assigned to the UAE (3).
The UAE is run by a President and Vice President, a council of ministers led by a prime minister, a supreme counicl of rulers, a parliamentary body, a 40 member Federal National Council (FNC), and an independent judiciary system (this includes a Federal Supreme Court. The FNC is the only part of the UAE governemnt that the citizens can vote on. Citizens vote for only half of the FNC members while the rulers of the emirates pick the other half. Positions like the President and Vice president are picked based on the success of the emirate. For example, since Duabi is now a successful commercial spot the ruler of Dubai is also the Vice President of the UAE (5). It is also important to know that the UAE is tied in with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC is a political and economic union that is comprised of the six Arab States of the Persian Gulf. The GCC has some say in the UAE government / future. (1)
The UAE works very different from the United States. One example of this is that in the UAE it is near impossible if not impossible to gain citizenship. Also, owning property is nearly impossible for citizens in the UAE. Only UAE and GCC nationals can own property in UAE. They are beginning to allow non nationals to own property in various areas such as Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, and Dubai. The government also runs most of the local television channels. Public transportation is only available in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Al Ain. In all other emirates most people drive cars. Since most of the citizens of the UAE are Muslim, it is a serious offense to eat, drink, or smoke in public during the time of Ramadan. The punishment would be a maximum of one month in jail or 2,000 Dirhams.Also the only place with safe filtered water is Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Walking at night in the emirates is also frowned upon. Many times people will get taken to jail if they are seen walking around at night. Finally, not only is public affection not tolerated in the UAE, but it is also not acceptable for two people of the opposite sex that are not married to be in the same room together alone (not implemented in Dubai)(1). Also it it is illegal to be homosexual in the UAE (7).
Even though there are these many differences, it is evident that the relatively new country of UAE is attempting to change. One of the many new changes is the rights to media. The government controlled the media for a long time with a postition titled Information Minister. This positoin was abolished in 2006. Another new reform is suffrage for citizens. In 2006 citizens were allowed for the first time to vote for half of the members of the FNC (20 memebers)(7). The UAE also gives special privleges to its more advanced emerites (like Abu Dhabi and Dubai.) However, the UAE has had problems breaking away from the GCC. The GCC enforces many old fashioned laws (like the ability to buy property mentioned above). If the UAE were able to break away from the GCC they may be able to have a more liberal governement.
Dubai Local Government
As mentioned above, Dubai is an exception to many of the other regulations that other emirates must follow. This is the only way that Dubai would be able to flourish as a tourist spot. If it were run like the other emirates people would not be allowed to purchase property, which has become a big deal with all of the man made islands. Dubai is also one of two emirates that does not follow the Fedral Court System of the UAE. Also, freedom of assembly is outlawed in the UAE, however since there are many foriegn contruction workers in Dubai, there have been situations were this law was not explicitly enforced (7).
The Dubai government is slightly confusing because it is split into many different groups of government that are in charge of different things. The different government entities include: Awqaf & Minor Affairs, Centre of Ambulance, Cummunity development Authority, Department of Economic Development, Department of Finance, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Dubai Free Zone Authority, Duabi Chamber, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Dubai Civil Defense, Dubai Courts, Dubai Culture, Dubai Customs, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, Dubai Export Development Corporation, Dubai Government Human Resourses Development, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Media Corporation, Dubai Public Prosecution, Dubai Sports Council, Financial Audit Department, General Directorite of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activites, Knowledge and Human Development, Land Department,Protocol and Guest House Department, Roads and Transport Authority, and the Statistics Center of Dubai (2). Each of these different sections has a different person in charge and a set way of accomplishing tasks.Even though Dubai is tolerant of all religions it is still engrained in their system to be a Muslim emerite. They have churches, however there are no Jewish synagogue. Muslims have plenty of places to worship and a government entity for them (Islamic Affairs and Charitable Actities)(7). Dubai is very advaced compared to the rest of the UAE, however a speration of church and state is needed so that others will feel comfortable there.
How did Dubai go from a emirate of desert and nothingness to one of the hottest tourist attractions in the world? Oil. The UEA is found to have the seventh largest oil reserve and the sixth largest natural gas reserve in the world (6). Oil is a scarce resource found in very few countries, this makes it a high demand in most countries (see graph below). This graph shows not only is oil in high demand, but it is in such high demand that there will be and oil shortage in the future because of the high demand.
The emirate of Abu Dhabi has the most oil, however Dubai is the financial, trading, and tourist emierate. The UAE was created in 1971which is when oil began becoming a very high demanded resource. Since all emirates give a certain amount back to the actual country, Dubai was able to take money out of the federal UAE government and then were able to afford building the tourist state it is today.
7. Katzman, Kenneth. "The United Arab Emirates (UAE): issues for U.S. policy." Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports and Issue Briefs. Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports and Issue Briefs, 2008. Student Resource Center - Gold. Web. 11 May 2010.
Dubai has an incredible culture that has developed in the last two decades. The culture is known as a mixture of traditional and modern elements. Not only is Dubai established themselves as a hub of trade and tourism, they are a cosmopolitan city that encourages cultural and artistic talent. The extraordinary culture of Dubai has attracted over 200 nationalities to live and work there. Eventually, Dubai hopes to become the arts and culture capital of the world. Dubai’s official language is Arabic, however English is often spoken by residents. Dubai is becoming the New York City or Hong Kong of the Arab world.
Dubai Shopping Festival:
The Dubai Shopping Festival lasts a span of one month every year. The festival was first started in 1996, initially to revitalize retail trade in Dubai. During the festival, local shops and markets offer huge discounts, have raffles, and nightly firework shows. It has since been a big success and attracts about three million people to the event. The success of the event has made Dubai to be called the fashion capital of the Middle East. This festival has allowed Dubai to become more well known and is helping the country to attract tourists. Dubai attracts so many people to this event because of the low taxes and free trade. Many good such as electronics and fine jewelry are a lot cheaper in Dubai than neighboring countries.
Dubai World Cup:
The Dubai world cup is a thoroughbred horse race held every year since 1996. This is the world’s richest horse race that has a purse of $10 million dollars. The Dubai World Cup may be so successful because of the international crossroads and global transportation hub. This horse race draws in over 50,000 people at the meeting each year.
Dubai International Film Festival:
The Dubai International Film Festival shows cinema with hopes of showing the difference between cultures and nations. The festival was first started in 2004 and has grown over double in size in just four years.
Eid Al Adha:
This holiday is held on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja. This holiday is about spending time with family and friends. They celebrate the sacrifice that Abraham was about to make to God by giving him his son. Each family sacrifices an animal such as a sheep, goat, or cow, and divided the animal into three parts. The parts are then distributed. One part goes to the family, one to relatives, and one as a gift to the poor. In 2002, Eid Al Adha was cancelled in Dubai because of the death of Sheikh Rashid bin Maktoum, the prime minister of UAE.
Camel racing is a sport in Dubai that takes place in late October to early April. Camel racing is supported by many of the UAE society.The former president of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed, was a big supported for camel racing and he provided financial suport to the caretakers of camels. There are usually about 50 camels per race. They are heald at the Nad al Sheba race track that is located out of Dubayy City.
The listed events that take place in Dubai show how much Dubai has grown in the last couple of decades. Dubai’s multinational culture has allowed it to grow at a tremendous rate.
In Dubai, men often wear a dishdasha which is a white and loose fitting, which makes it comfortable in the hot weather. Along with the dress, men wear a white or red checkered head cloth. A black piece of rope holds the head piece in place. Woman tend to wear a black abaya and a face mask called the burka; however, this tradition is beginning to fade as younger and educated woman stopped wearing the conservative dress.The traditonal womens dress covers them from head to feet.
The main type of food in Dubai is Arabic food. However, since Dubai has grown into a powerhouse, many people came from other countries to work. Which means Dubai must offer many types of food to satisfy everyone’s tastes. Some examples of traditional Arabic food that are special to Dubai are: