Dubai – Magnificent and Ultra-Modern
People run short of epithets when it comes to describing Dubai. It is both a magnificent and ultra-modern metropolis in the desert. It is the primary emirate in the United Arab Emirates and it also a glittering city that occupies a strategic trade location. What’s really amazing is that this place was nothing more than a small cluster of fishing settlements near the Dubai Creek a mere five decades ago.
The discovery of oil in 1966 and the single minded dedication of a visionary ruler, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, was what put Dubai on the global map as a shipping and trading hub. Sheikh Rashid masterminded Dubai’s mind-boggling transformation whilst providing it with stable government.
Sheikh Rashid’s endeavor was to develop the economy of this place in order to reduce its dependence on oil production. The various infrastructure projects launched by him in the 1950s and 60s started with the dredging of the creek and included the construction of deep water harbors at Dubai and further south at Jebel Ali. The Al Maktoum Bridge was another important project of his. He also visualized and created the Jebel Ali Free Zone in 1985 which now has around 2000 companies doing trade all over the world. He also initiated the construction of a modern airfield and the creation of Emirates Airlines.
Today, this is one of the greatest cities of the world and it draws huge numbers of people for tourism and trade. The present ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has managed to maneuver this Emirate through the financial crisis that had rocked the world only recently. He has also added to the impressive infrastructure of this glorious city.
Dubai is without doubt the shopping capital of the Middle East, with more than 70 different dazzling shopping malls, of which Dubai Mall is the largest in the world. Tourists are drawn here from all parts of the world by the fantastic shopping and attractive prices. According to reliable estimates, this city pulls in around 12 million tourists every year. However, there is more to this place than just glitzy shopping malls. There are also the traditional souks where shoppers can get an authentic local shopping experience. The Gold Souk in particular is immensely popular with tourists and locals alike.
Dubai has many magnificent sky scapers that give it its ultra-modern and impressive personality. This is the perfect place to see modern Islamic architecture. The superb Burj al-Arab is a luxurious hotel, one of the most expensive in the world, designed to mimic the sail of a dhow. The Burj Khalifa, a towering structure at 2,722.57 ft, dominates the skyline of this city, which is quite an achievement considering that there are more skyscrapers here than in any country in the world. The buildings here are magnificent creations created by the best architects and builders in the world. Another interesting attraction will be the former ocean liner QE2 which will be open as a luxury hotel.
There is no doubt that Dubai will retain its important position in the region for a long time to come. This fascinating, ultra-modern city will continue to be a magnet for tourists and traders alike long after its oil has run out.