The United Arab Emirates is a fascinating country located in the Persian Gulf, at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is a federation consisting of seven emirates, each unique and enchanting. The UAE never ceases to amaze with its ethnically kaleidoscopic diversity, and the ever-growing list of world records broken by the emirates makes it even more exciting.
For a relatively young country, the UAE has achieved impressive milestones, and its growth has been unprecedented. Did you know that it is home to the world’s tallest leaning tower, even surpassing the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Or that the Arabian Oryx, the national animal, was successfully brought back from the brink of extinction?
Here are some interesting anecdotes about the United Arab Emirates:
1. Union Structure:
The UAE is composed of seven distinct emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, and Fujairah. Each emirate has its own culture and traditions.
The country follows a monarchy system, where each emirate (principality) within the UAE is governed by a separate ruling family. However, Abu Dhabi’s ruler is the President of the country, serving as the Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the ruler of Dubai serves as the Prime Minister.
3. Size Disparities:
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is the largest emirate, covering about 87% of the total land area. In contrast, Ajman is the smallest emirate, spanning only about 260 square kilometers but is known for its cultural attractions, including the Ajman Museum.
Fujairah, the fifth-largest emirate, is the only one of the seven with a coastline exclusively along the Gulf of Oman and none along the Persian Gulf. It is also the only emirate with significant mountainous terrain, featuring the famous Hajar Mountains, specifically Jebel Hafeet.
5. National Pride:
The UAE’s national emblem is the falcon, and the Arabian Oryx is the national animal. The Arabian Oryx is also the national animal of Oman, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. The white oryx faced extinction in the wild in the early 1970s but was successfully reintroduced into its natural habitat, earning it a reclassification from “Endangered” to “Vulnerable” in 2011.
6. Liberation from British Rule:
Unlike many other nations that fought fiercely for independence from British colonial rule, the UAE gained its independence peacefully through agreements, mainly due to the discovery of oil by the Emirates.
7. The Green City:
Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, established in 2006, is an ambitious urban project striving to be the world’s first carbon-neutral, waste-free, and car-free city. It relies primarily on solar and wind energy for power. The city emphasizes sustainability and eco-friendly practices.
8. Definition of Luxury:
Burj Al Arab in Dubai is the world’s first seven-star hotel, considered one of the most luxurious. The interior spaces are adorned with 24-carat gold, covering around 1,790 square meters. Guests can even choose from a ‘Pillow Menu’ offering various types of pillows.
9. Urban Transportation:
Dubai operates the longest driverless metro system in the world, with over 46 kilometers of track.
10. Everything is Grand:
The UAE is home to numerous world records, including the tallest building globally, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, standing at 828 meters. Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport is the largest airport terminal globally, housing a 5-star hotel, luxury shops, and two Zen gardens. The Dubai Aquarium, with a capacity of 10 million liters, is the world’s largest suspended aquarium, hosting over 33,000 marine animals from 200 species.
The Emirates continually strive to break more records, surprising the world with their innovative achievements.