The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven states formed in 1971 by then Trucial States after independence from Britain. Although each state – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al Qaiwain – maintains a large degree of independence, the UAE is governed by a Supreme Council of Rulers made up of the seven emirates. According to convention, the ruler of Abu Dhabi is President of the United Arab Emirates, the head of state, and the ruler of Dubai is the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, the head of government.
Before oil was discovered in the 1950s the UAE’s economy was dependent on fishing and a declining pearling industry. But since 1962, when Abu Dhabi became the first of the emirates to begin exporting oil, the country’s society and economy have been transformed.
The late Sheikh Zayed, ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE at its inception, was quick to seize on the potential of the oil industry.He oversaw the development of all the emirates and directed oil revenues into healthcare, education and the national infrastructure.The oil industry has attracted a large influx of foreign workers who, together with expatriates, now make up more than three quarters of the population.
The country’s growing business sector and its tourist industry have helped to fuel a construction boom, with billions of dollars being pumped into showpiece schemes. Chic hotels and skyscrapers are emblematic of cities such as Abu Dhabi and cosmopolitan Dubai.
– The UAE is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf, with other cultures and beliefs generally tolerated. However it is the only state in the region not to have elected bodies.
Usually government offices are opened from 7:30 to 14:30 hrs (from Saturday to Thursday). Most offices in the public sector open from 08:00 to 13:00 hrs and 16:00 to 20:30 hrs. Many shops and the big shopping Malls open from 10:00 to 22:00 without a break. The weekend is Friday and Saturday.
Dubai has a sub tropical and arid climate with temperatures between 10o C and 48o C, with an average temperature of 24o C in winter and 41o C in summer. In winter there are infrequent and irregular rainfalls and sandstorms, whereas in summer the humidity can rise to 100%. The most pleasant time to visit Dubai is between November and April.
The local currency is the U.A.E. Dirham, which has the fixed exchanging rate of 3.67 to the USD. The best exchanges rates you will get in banks or in private exchanges, that you can find in all main Shopping Malls..
American Express, Diners Club, Visa, MasterCard are generally accepted in all major restaurant, hotels and shops.
The official language of the country is Arabic, although English is widely spoken. Due to the large number of Exparts also Urdu and Hindi are often spoken and mostly understood. Further languages are spoken by tourism staff.
The U.A.E. is four hours ahead of UTC (Universal Co-ordinated time). There is no summer time saving when clocks are altered.
Here you can find some telephone numbers that might be useful for you:
- American Hospital …………………………336 7777
The islamic calendar goes along with the moon. The islamic year is called Hijiri, wich has 354 or 355 days and 12 lunar months. Therefore a large number of Public Holidays are not fixed and are confirmed only 24 hours in advance.
- New Years Day ……………………………..1st Jan
- Lailat Al Mi’Raj ……………………………….moon