United Arab Emirates (UAE) extends on a triangle formed by water and land on the eastern flank of the Arabian part, by the entrance to the Persian Gulf, with extensive coasts to the west, north and east bordering the Arabian Sea. The UAE have approximately 700 km of coast line, including 100 km in the Gulf of Oman. Along the Arabian Gulf, coasts are composed of islands, coral reefs and salt marshes. Dry region is characterized by gravel and desert areas. To the east lie the Hajar mountains, close to the Gulf of Oman, which extend to the Musandam peninsula, at the opening of the Arabian Gulf. The western part of the federation, which belongs mostly to Abu Dhabi, consists of desert and a few oases. One of the largest oases is Al Liwa, beyond which lies the Rub al-Khali desert, or Empty Quarter. Established on the 2nd of December in 1971, UAE is composed of seven independent emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah.
Travel agencies begin to promote the UAE as a sensational land of contrasts. There is also some truth in this cliché: mountains, beaches, deserts, oases, camel racing and Bedouin markets, all piled into a relatively small area. Legendary duty-free stores are overshadowed by the fact that you cannot find cheap goods anymore due to the high inflation rate in the Emirates. If you want to visit only one country in the Gulf, Emirates is the best choice: it has the easiest customs regulations from the traveler’s point of view, the best tourism infrastructure and it is easily accessible for independent tourists.
Due to its location, the Emirates have been a link between Europe and the Indian subcontinent, Far East and Africa throughout time. It still plays an intermediary role between these very different cultures. The cultural heritage of this country is materialized in sports such as hunting of hawks or races with camels and horses, which is a main attraction for tourists. The UAE have become recently an important centre for conferences, regional and international exhibitions and sporting events such as World Cup in Dubai, Desert Classic Golf Competition of Dubai, as well as polo and cricket competitions.
Today, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are among the most modern cities in the world and the country itself has become one of the most developed tourist destinations. Both cities have a reputation in the world because of the increasing tourist offers and great architectural projects that rise in the desert.
By Maria Morari
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