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About United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) occupy a triangle of land and sea on Arabia's eastern flank. It is closely situated to the entrance of the Arabian Gulf with extensive coastlines on its west and north facing shores, together with easterly coastline bordering the Arabian Sea. The UAE has approx. 700 kilometers of coastline, including 100 kilometers on the Gulf of Oman. Along the Arabian Gulf coast are offshore islands, coral reefs and salt marshes. Stretches of gravel plain and barren desert characterise the inland region. To the east lie the Hajar mountains, close to the Gulf of Oman, which reach north into the Musandam peninsula, at the mouth of the Arabian Gulf. The western part of the Federation, most of which is Abu Dhabi territory, consists mainly of desert interspersed with oases. One of the largest oases is Al Liwa, beyond which is the vast Rub al-Khali desert, or Empty Quarter.
Travel agents are beginning to promote the UAE as the hyped 'land of contrasts'. There is some truth in the cliché, for it boasts mountains, beaches, deserts, oases, camel racing, Bedouin markets and the legendary duty free shopping of Dubai, all packed into a relatively small area. If you only visit one country in the Gulf, the UAE is your best choice: it has the most relaxed entry regulations in the region, the best tourist infrastructure and it is extremely accessible to independent budget travellers.
Due to its location, the UAE has been able to establish a link between Europe and the Indian subcontinent, the Far East and Africa for a long time. It is still playing the role of intermediary between these vastly different cultures. The country's deep-rooted cultural heritage, accessible in the many cultural centres and at traditional sports such as falconry, camel- racing and horse-racing, has been a powerful attraction for tourists. The UAE has also become a popular venue for conferences, regional and international exhibitions and major sports events such as the Dubai World Cup, the Dubai Desert Classic Golf Tournament as well as polo and cricket competitions.
Today, Abu dhabi and Dubai with their impressive skylines are among the most modern cities in the world and the country itself has become one of the world's fastest growing tourist destinations. Both cities are increasingly becoming renowkned worldwide as providing world-class tourist facilities, and are developing at an incredible pace with some of the world's most ambitious architectural projects springing up out of the desert all the time.
From the world-class hotels and shopping of the big cities to the more laid-back atmosphere of the smaller Emirates, including the cities of Fujairah and Al Ain, the UAE really does live up to its name of a 'world of contrasts'.
Building sites are a key feature of the landscape. Be careful if you book a hotel.