DUBAI: interesting facts and history

Dubaj zajímavosti

Dubai is the 4th most visited city in the world. It attracts with its luxury and modernity. What’s behind all this? What is its history? If you are interested in interesting facts about Dubai, read on.

Interesting facts about Dubai

Dubai history

Dubai was founded in 18th century as a small fishing village that was fortified by the Al Fahidi fortress. The Al Fahidi Fortress still stands today and even houses the Danube Museum, which provides information about the history and tradition of the city. It’s a great place to visit that immerses you in the traditional life of the locals in an interactive way.

Dubai Museum in Al Fahidi Fortress

In 1892, Dubai became a British dependency along with several other states in the region. The whole area was called the Trucial Coast. The 1950s and 1960s saw significant infrastructure development, including electricity, which led to the first hotel and the first airport. Dubai has become a gold trading centre and has been given the tempting label of City of Gold.

Discovery of an oil well

An important milestone was reached in 1966 when an oil reserve was discovered offshore. It was not as large as in neighbouring Abu Dhabi, but it still contributed to the influx of population and further infrastructure development.

Dubai was still under English dependency, but only until 1971, when England could no longer afford to administer the Trucial Coast . The Emirate of Dubai merged with other states on the Trucial Coast to form the United Arab Emirates in the same year (a year later, a 7th state was added).

The commercial industry continued to develop and dependence on oil gradually declined. Although many people think that Dubai is dependent on oil production, this is not the case – oil contributes only 1%. The Dubai government has used oil profits wisely. In fact, it has transformed them into tourism and real estate, which are now its primary profits.

Dubai Fountain in front of Burj Khalifa

Interesting facts about Dubai

  • In Dubai, it is constantly under construction. If your friends were showing you 2-year-old photos from their vacation, they probably wouldn’t match reality now. Even Google maps hasn’t kept up with Dubai’s huge building boom over the past few decades. This is why a quarter of the world’s cranes are located here.
  • Dubai is built of imported sand. Now you may be wondering why, with the desert all around. The reason is simple: the local sand is too fine to build on.

The only 7* hotel in the world

  • Dubai is home to one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the Burj Al Arab, which has an iconic sail shape and measures 321 metres in height. The name of the hotel means Tower of the Arabs. It is a five-star hotel, but the media often gives it an extra two stars. This makes it the only seven-star hotel in the world.

Even in low season and during Ramadan, the price per night here does not fall below €1,000. Burj al-Arab Hotel is located on an artificial island in Jumeirah and can only be reached by private bridge or helicopter. You will be rewarded for the high price with impeccable service, a private beach and Rolls-Royce transport.

7* hotel Burj al Arab

World records in Dubai

  • Dubai boasts the tallest building in the world. The Burj Khalifa stands at an impressive 829.8 metres. It also surpassed One World Trade Center in New York and other, mainly Asian giants. At least for now, because in 2013 construction began on the Jeddah Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Due to the pandemic, work has been suspended, but once completed, the structure should be over 1,000 meters tall. Interestingly, the architect Adrian Smith is the same for the current and future tallest building in the world.

Read a separate guide to the Burj Khalifa.

Burj Khalifa
The world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa
  • We had the tallest building in the world. How about the world’s tallest Ferris wheel? Of course, it is also located in Dubai and is even twice as high as the world famous London Eye in London and 82 metres higher than the previous record holder High Roller in Las Vegas.

Ain Dubai is located on the man-made Bluewaters Island, which is just 500 metres from Jumeirah Beach. It has 48 luxurious and air-conditioned cabins that can accommodate up to 1,750 people. The views from here are 360 degrees and last 38 minutes. Especially in the evening it’s worth it, because not only is the bike lit up, but you also have beautiful views of the glittering Dubai Marina with its skyscrapers and the surrounding area. There are plenty of restaurants and small food stalls around the Ferris wheel and on Bluewaters Island.

  • Another interesting fact is that Dubai is home to the largest garden in the world. Yes, in Dubai. Yes, in the desert. As incredible as it sounds, the Dubai Miracle Garden will make you feel like you’ve arrived at the most colourful and green place.
Dubai Miracle Garden
  • In addition to the largest garden, it also has the largest indoor ski area in the world, which sounds even crazier. Ski Dubai is located in the Mall of the Emirates. You can ski on 5 slopes (including the black slope). There is also a toboggan run and other winter activities.
  • Dubai has over 2000 mosques. There’s a mosque literally on every corner. And some of them are open to non-Muslims to learn more about the local culture. The most famous mosque is the magnificent Jumeirah Mosque.
  • Previously, the weekend in Dubai fell on Friday and Saturday. With the city’s connection to international financial markets, Dubai has decided to make a change. The weekend is now from Friday 12pm until Sunday. It takes about 2.5 days.

Dubai desert

  • The Dubai Desert stretches around Dubai. It may not have the biggest sand dunes, but it’s still a beautiful desert and a place for us Europeans that we don’t otherwise get a chance to experience in Europe. The Dubai Desert is just another name for the official Arabian Desert, which is 5. the largest desert in the world and occupies almost the entire Arabian Peninsula.

The Dubai Desert is hosting half-day safari tours . The prices are quite reasonable considering what you can experience here – camel feeding, jeep rides on the sand dunes or evening barbecues (even for vegetarians). They will pick you up at the hotel and bring you back in the evening. It is a perfect activity for families with children.

  • Only 15% of Dubai’s population is Arab. The majority of the population are construction workers from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. There are as many as 100,000 British expats living here.
  • The official language is Arabic. However, English is commonly spoken here. The inscriptions are in Arabic and English.

Dubai attractions: police drive luxury cars

  • Where else in the world can you say the police drive a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and even an Aston Martin for more than $1.7 million?
  • Dubai has the highest water consumption in the world. Even 80% more than the global average. The reason? High temperatures and the associated need for cooling. However, 99% of the water comes from desalination plants that remove salt from seawater.
  • Popular camel races are held here. In the past, camels were ridden by children because of their light weight, today by small robots.
  • Dubai is a shopping capital. There are more than 70 shopping malls here, with The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates among the largest shopping malls in the world. Every year there are even two shopping festivals to boost sales even more.
Dubai Mall / where to shop in Dubai
Dubai Mall at Burj Khalifa is the largest shopping mall in Dubai

Interesting facts about Dubai: ATMs for gold

  • Dubai has gold ATMs, which work just like other ATMs except that they dispense gold bars and coins of different sizes. You can find a golden vending machine in Dubai Mall, for example.

More information about Dubai

DUBAI: Get inspired by the 40 best things to do in Dubai (including information on entrance fees, opening times and a map).

We have created a separate guide for visiting Burj Khalifa (entrance fees, opening hours, how to get there, attractions)

DUBAI GUIDE: Find practical information and tips in our Dubai guide.

HOW TO SAVE IN DUBAI: The Dubai Pass is one of the ways to save money on sights and attractions in Dubai.

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