Travelogue – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is the most populous city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with about 1,1 million inhabitants and the second largest emirate by territorial size after the capital, Abu Dhabi. Dubai is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf and is one of the seven emirates that make up the country.
Dubai has emerged as a global city and business hub of the Persian Gulf region. By the 1960s the city’s economy was based on revenues from trade and oil exploration concessions but oil was not discovered until 1966. Dubai’s oil revenue helped to accelerate the early development of the city but its reserves are limited and production levels are low. Less than 5% of the emirate’s revenue comes from oil. Consequently, the economy was driven into the tourism and aviation sector as well as real estate and financial services. About 9 million tourists visit the city every year. Most travellers need to obtain a visa prior to entering Dubai but visitors from a number of states (e.g. from GCC countries, most European countries, Canada, Australia, United States) can get a free entry permit stamped in their passport valid for 90 days upon arrival.
Dubai has attracted world attention through many innovative large construction projects and sports events and the city has become symbolic for its skyscrapers and high-rise buildings including the world’s tallest artificial structure, the Burj Khalifa standing at 829,8 m (2.722 ft). The building features an outdoor observation deck, named “At the Top”, which opened in 2010 on the 124th floor at 452 m (1.483 ft). From there you can enjoy a perfect view over the city but tickets should be bought in advance through the internet due to high demand.
The Dubai Fountain is located right in front of the Burj Khalifa and is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system illuminated by 6.600 lights and 25 coloured projectors. It is 275 m long and shoots water up to 152 m into the air accompanied by classical to contemporary Arabic and world music.
Right next to the Fountain, the world’s largest shopping mall can be found. Dubai Mall opened in November 2008, includes 1.200 shops, about 635 retailers an Aquarium as well as a Discovery Centre and attracts about 750.000 visitors a week.
If you want to go skiing in Dubai, you will have the opportunity at another large shopping mall, called Mall of the Emirates located alongside Sheikh Zayed Road. The indoor resort features an 85m mountain with five slopes of varying steepness and difficulty, including a 400m long run. A quad lift and tow lift carry skiers and snowboarders up the mountain. From Hotel Kempinski next to the mall, you have the best view at Ski Dubai.
Another famous building is Burj Al Arab, a seven-star luxury hotel, which stands on an artificial island 280m from Jumeirah Beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The shape of the structure is designed to mimic the sail of a ship. In 2005, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer took tennis to new heights playing a friendly match on the helipad of the hotel.
Palm Jumeirah is one of three planned artificial islands in Dubai. Construction began in June 2001 and ended five years later with the handover of the first residential units. There are also a number of hotels like the Atlantis, resorts and hotel residences.
If you want to get a closer look to the Arabic history and culture a visit at the Heritage Village is highly recommended. It was created in 1997 to embrace the heritage events and to display a live image of the old traditional life in the UAE. Dubai Museum is the oldest existing building in the city, built in 1787. The museum was opened in 1971 with the aim of presenting the traditional life in the Emirate. It includes local antiquities as well as artifacts from African and Asian countries that traded with Dubai.
Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek, which historically divided the city into two main sections – Deira and Bur Dubai. In the early 20th century, the creek served as minor port for dhows, traditional sailing vessels with one or more masts with lateen sails, coming as far away as India or East Africa.
The Dubai Dutry Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and takes place under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UA and Ruler of Dubai. The tournament consists of a WTA Premier women’s event, followed by the ATP 500 men’s tournament taking place in February. The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships has won a total of 18 ATP/WTA awards since the inception of the men’s tournament in 1993 and the women’s in 2001.
The Aviation Club and Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium with a capacity of 5.000 seats, have been the home of the Championships since its inauguration. The Aviation Club is part of the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, which is the tournament’s official hotel. The Tennis Stadium is surrounded by the Irish Village and the Century Village with a lot of bars and international restaurants offering a wide range of food and beverages including alcoholic drinks.