Area: 77,700 sq km (30,000 sq miles).
Population: 3,754,000 (official estimate 2002).
Density: 48.3 per sq km.
Capital: Abu Dhabi. Population: 527,000 (2002).
GEOGRAPHY: The Emirates are bordered to the north by
the Gulf and the Musandam Peninsula, to the east by Oman, to
the south and west by Saudi Arabia and to the northwest by
Qatar. They comprise a federation of seven small former
sheikhdoms. Abu Dhabi is the largest Emirate, and the
remainder (Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah
and Umm al Qaiwain) are known collectively as the Northern
States. The land is mountainous and mostly desert. Abu Dhabi
is flat and sandy, and within its boundaries is the Buraimi
Oasis. Dubai has a 16km (10 mile) deep-water creek, giving
it the popular name of ‘Pearl of the Gulf’. Sharjah has a
deep-water port on the Batinah coast at Khor Fakkan, facing
the Indian Ocean. Ras al-Khaimah is the fourth emirate in
size. Fujairah, one of the three smaller sheikhdoms located
on the Batinah coast, has agricultural potential, while
Ajman and Umm al Qaiwain were once small coastal fishing
Government: Federation of seven autonomous Emirates.
Head of State: President Sheikh Khalifa since 2004. Head of
Government: Prime Minister Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al-Maktoum
(Emir of Dubai) since 1990.
is the official language of the UAE while English is the
language of business, though it competes with Urdu as the
lingua franca. You will have little trouble making yourself
understood, though when you venture out to the rural areas
you will find that English is not as widespread. Knowing the
Iranian language, Farsi, will help you get by.
Urdu and Malayalam (the language of Kerala in India) can
both be reasonably useful because of the large number of
Pakistani and Indian expats.
Most of UAE Muslim
population are Sunni Muslims subscribing to the Maliki or
Hanbali schools of Islamic law. Many of the latter are
Wahhabic, though UAE Wahhabic are not nearly as strict and
puritanical as the Wahhabic of Saudi Arabia.
There is also a smaller community of Shiite Muslims,
descendants mainly from merchants and workers who crossed to
the Trucia Coast from Persia in the late 19th or early 20th
Time: GMT + 4.
Electricity: 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Square
three-pin plugs are widespread.
Telephone: IDD is available both to and from all
states. Country code: 971. Outgoing international code (Abu
Dhabi): 00. Main area codes: Abu Dhabi 2; Ajman, Sharjah and
Umm al Quwain 6; Al Ain 3; Dubai 4; Fujairah 9; Jebel Ali 4
and Ras al-Khaimah 7. There is a good local telephone
network. Telephone calls within each state are free.
Mobile telephone: GSM 900 network. Network operators include
http://www.etisalat.co.ae) There is also a GSM Satellite
provider, Thuraya (website:
Fax: ETISALAT offices at main centres provide a
service. All hotels have facilities.
Internet: Internet cafes provide public access to Internet
and e-mail services. ISPs include Emirates Telecommunication
Telegram: Services are run by ETISALAT, which has
offices throughout the Emirates and are also available
through main post offices.
Post: Airmail letters and parcels take about five
days to reach Europe.
Press: English-language daily newspapers include
Emirates News, The Gulf Today, Khaleej Times and UAE Press
Service Daily News. Foreign newspapers are available in
hotel bookshops and supermarkets.
Radio: BBC World Service (website:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) and Voice of America
http://www.voa.gov) can be received. From time to time
the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found
Climate: The best time to
visit is between October and May. The hottest time is from
June to September with little rainfall.
Required Clothing: Lightweights, with mediumweights from November to March;
warmer clothes for evening
United Arab Emirates
Shopping in UAE
Nightlife and Dining Out
Fishing in UAE