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SEVEN EMIRATES  
   
ABU DHABI
 
Abu Dhabi, the federal capital of the U.A.E. is located approximately 170 km to the west of Dubai. The journey by road takes about two hours on the connecting highway. It is also the largest (67,00 km2) and wealthiest of the Emirates, with a population of around 900,000.
 
Abu Dhabi, the Administrative Capital of the United Arab Emirates is known as "little New-York". With ultramodern high-rise buildings competing with each other upwards, long avenues of trees, perennial flowers in bloom, supplemented by numerous fountains and colourful streets, it is indeed a modern showpiece
 
Prior to the discovery of Oil thirty years ago, the economy was based on fishing and pearl diving and on agriculture, with cultivation of dates and vegetables. The lifestyle of the people has completely changed since, and modernization has made Abu Dhabi a major tourist attraction, with its share of high-class hotels and ultra- modern allied facilities.
 

DUBAI
 
Within recorded history, Dubai started as a fishing village probably some time in the 18th century.  In 1833 a group of about 800 people of the Al Bu Falasah subsection of the Bani Yas seceded from Abu Dhabi and settled in Dubai. The leaders of the exodus, Ubaid bin Saeed and Maktoum bin Buti, remained joint leaders until the death of the former in 1836. Maktoum bind Buti ruled until he died in 1852, establishing the dynasty of the Al Maktoum rulers in Dubai. Maktoum and most of his successors usually followed a policy of good understanding with the British authorities in the Arabian Gulf.
 
Dubai's history really began in the 1830s when the settlement started to grow and gain some importance. At that time neighbouring Sharjah was the main trading centre on the Trucial Coast, and for the rest of the 19th century Dubai was simply a pearling village with a merchant community.
 
The Dubai Creek provided one of the few safe anchorage's along the southern coast of the Arabian Gulf and served as a haven for dhows despite its hazardous entrance. It was the starting and finishing point for pearling expeditions.     The turn of the 19th century was considered the golden age of the pearly industry. Three thousand vessels were employed in the trade, leaving harbour in may and not returning until mid-September. Fishing, too, was an important occupation. The Arabian Gulf's warm and shallow waters supported a wide variety of marine life and dhows were built on the foreshore of Dubai Creek.
 
By the turn of the 20th century, Dubai was sufficiently prosperous as a port to attract settlers from Iran, India and Baluchistan. The souq on the Deira side of the creek, with some 350 shops, was thought to be the largest on the coast.
 
The facilities for trade and free enterprise were enough to make Dubai a natural haven for merchants who left Bandar Lingeh on the Iranian coast after the introduction of high customs duties there is 1902.
Under the leadership of HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who became Ruler in 1958, emphasis was placed on the development of Dubai's commercial potential. With that in mind, the late sheikh Rashid improved the facilities along the creek.
 
A building boom had begun along the creek before the discovery of oil near Dubai in 1966 and this increased in momentum once the revenue from the oil began to come in. Trade remained the foundation of the city's wealth, whilst other projects were developed over the nest 20 years. The airport became one of the busiest in the area, a large dry-dock complex was developed, the largest artificial port in the world was built at Jebel Ali and Dubai Aluminium Company (DUBAL), which has become the emirate's largest non-oil related industry, came on line in 1979.
 

SHARJAH
 
Sharjah is the only Emirate in the U.A.E. with territory on both the country's east and west coasts. It is situated approximately 16 km to the northeast of Dubai. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to drive from the centre of Dubai city to the centre of Sharjah city. The population of this Emirate is around 435,000.
 
Sharjah is a fascinating mixture of old and new. Some of the best souks are to be found in this Emirate as are the most beautiful master-pieces of Arabic Architecture & Heritage in the U.A.E.
 

AJMAN
 
The smallest Emirate, Ajman is situated 8 km north of Sharjah and is 36 km from the city of Dubai with an area of only 260 km2 and a population of 133,000. The principal and traditional industries are fishing and dhow building. All the activity of Ajman has been concentrated over the years around the Y-shaped creek which in the past sheltered fishing boats seeking pearls and the construction yards which still make the traditional Arabic dhows and other wooden ships. The dhow construction yard of Ajman is the biggest in the U.A.E.
 

UMM AL-QUWAIN
 
Geographically Umm Al-Quwain is the second smallest Emirate. It is located half-way between Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, a distance of 50 km from Dubai. Total land area is 777 km2 and it has around 39,000 people.
 
The town of Umm Al-Quwain is situated on a deep creek. It has been known for its fishing tradition and still is one of the U.A.E.'s main fish suppliers.
 

UMM AL-QUWAIN
 
Ras Al-Khaimah is the northern most Emirate. The town is 100 km north of Dubai with population of 153,000. The Emirate has a long trading tradition. The ports of Ras Al Khaimah were the first in the Arabian Gulf and its sailors has a reputation of being excellent navigators.
 
Ras Al Khaimah has an area of only 1700 km2, but within there is as much variety in scenery and natural resources as if any of its neighbors.
 
Ras Al Khaimah - "head of the tent" in Arabic - refers to the days when a light was placed at the highest point to guide ships home to port.
 

FUJAIRAH
 
The Emirate of Fujairah is 125 km to the east of Dubai. It is the only one of the seven Emirates wholly located on the Gulf of Oman coast. The journey by road from Dubai takes approximately one and half hours. Between the mountains and the shore is a fertile strip of land fed by water running off the mountains. This gives the emirate great agricultural potential.
 
Fujairah is the youngest of the Emirates being part of Sharjah Emirate until 1952 with 83000 inhabitants.
 
Located on the East Coast, it is one of the picturesque of the seven Emirates of the U.A.E. Bounded by long stretches of beaches, it is also blessed with towering mountains and "Wadis" or natural water sources, mysterious sand dunes and surrounded by lush greenery making this city a paradise for Naturalists and Tourists alike.
 
 
 
   
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