Dubai, Jewel of the World and Pearl of the Gulf
Dubai is the second largest emirate in the UAE, with an area of 1000 mi2. It is divided into two parts; Bur Dubai and Deira and both parts are intersected by Khor Dubai which is a tourist landmark in itself. Such a strategic location enabled Dubai to become a key world commercial hub, under the leadership of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and the sons of the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the man who co-founded the UAE in concert with Sheikh Zayed and established a modern Dubai that has become a key hub overlooking the Arabian Gulf.Old Dubai Covering an area of 1500 m2, has been called pearl of the Gulf and jewel of the world because it has an age-old heritage.

It features the originality of the past and the promise of the future.The old Dubai was divided into three main parts which are: Al Shindagha, Bur Dubai and Deira.Khor Dubai separates between Bur Dubai and Deira. Al Shindagha is the oldest suburb of old Dubai where the ruler used to live.

It had the houses of Bahharah (seamen) and Nawakhidhah (skippers).Places in Dubai are derived from their natural features. For instance, Al Baraha district is a spacious land that has a mild weather and, so, is visited by people during summer. Al Muteena has a clay soil and Al Hamriyah is so called because it was inhabited by people from Sharjah who belong to a district in Sharjah with the same name. Also, Al Mankhoul was called after the great number of date palms that the district has.

Rulers of DubaiThe family of Al Maktoum ruled Dubai since 1833 and had a great impact in the development and prosperity of Dubai. Now, Dubai is the top commercial and tourist hub in the region from Egypt to the Indian Peninsula and from South Africa to the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Maktoum Bin Batti 1833 – 1852
Saeed Bin Batti 1852 - 1859
Hasher Bin Maktoum 1859 – 1886
Rashid Bin Maktoum 1886 – 1894
Maktoum Bin Hasher 1894 – 1906
Batti Bin Suhail 1906 – 1912
Photo Name Year
Saeed Bin Maktoum
Saeed Bin Maktoum 1912 – 1958
Rashid Bin Saeed
Rashid Bin Saeed 1958 – 1990
Maktoum Bin Rashid
Maktoum Bin Rashid 1990 – 2006
Mohammed Bin Rashid
Mohammed Bin Rashid 2006
The Late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Sheikh Rashid ruled Dubai during the period between 1958 –1990. His wise and far-sighted policy was evident for all those who observed the experience of Dubai during his era. Such a policy was a main driver of the development process in Dubai, which was rendered a pioneering city.Sheikh Rashid concerted efforts with the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to achieve the unity of the country, which came true by promulgating the establishment of the United Arab Emirates in 1971.

Childhood and Youth:Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum was born in 1912 and was nurtured by Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum who was known for piety, righteousness, excellent manners and great love for the people. The late Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum was a ruler loved by his people because of his wisdom, magnanimity, great manners, sagacity and ability to face harsh circumstances patiently and faithfully as he believed that Allah the Almighty is the Provider and the Great.

The late Sheikh Rashid was brought up by his mother Sheikha Hissa Bint Al Murr who occupied a special position in the hearts of the UAE people. According to the people of Dubai, “Hissa Bint Al Murr was the mother not only of Rashid but also of the entire Dubai.” Rashid lived in an atmosphere of mutual appreciation and respect between a ruler and nationals and in a unique democratic environment that allows a citizen to enjoy freedom of thought and expression before the ruler to express his concerns and worries always fearlessly. Rashid closely watched the policy of his father, Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum, and benefited from his pure democratic views that have an original Arab Islamic Bedouin origin. Undoubtedly, Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum and Sheikha Hissa Bin Al Murr had the greatest effect on Rashid’s life. They provided him with parental care.

Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum first went to elementary schools at the time as there were no exemplary schools. In those schools, he studied Fiqh and Arabic taught at schools at that time.Sheikh Rashid is the son of Saeed Bin Maktoum Bin Hasher Bin Maktoum (I) Bin Batti Bin Suhail Al Falasi. Al Maktoum belong to Bani Yas, a key Arab tribe that had long played a primary role in the UAE political and social life all over the ages.

Al Maktoum belong to a branch of this tribe which is (Al Buflasah) thanks to which Dubai enjoyed stability since sheikh Maktoum Bin Batti took office in 1833 to be the first member of Al Maktoum who became a ruler of Dubai.Maktoum Bin Batti continued in office till 1852 when he had established stability and security due to his courage, wisdom and ability to manage the issues of the city at a time that was afflicted by hardships and sufferings. Sheikh Maktoum was succeeded by sheikhs of Al Maktoum until Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum ruled the emirate. Under the leadership of Sheikh Rashid, Dubai became unprecedentedly prosperous as it was moved from being a poor city into becoming a flourishing and luxurious hub.

The establishment of the UAE in 1971 is one of the greatest historic achievements of both H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and H.H. Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.Sheikh Rashid had managed to overcome the difficulties and take up the challenges that faced him along his term of office that lasted from 1958 to 1990. Before that time, he was the Crown Prince of Dubai after his father Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum.After the death of Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum in November 1990, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum was appointed as the UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai till he passed away in January 2006.

On January 4th 2006, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum took office as the Ruler of Dubai after the death of his brother Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sheikh Mohammed had long had a marvelous effect on the economic and development course of Dubai. Under the leadership of Sheikh Mohammed, Dubai had become one of the top and most advanced cities around the world.On February 1, 2008, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, issued a decree to appoint H.H. Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum as the crown prince of Dubai.

Sheikh Hamdan is also the Director of the Executive Council of Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed also issued a decree to appoint H.H. Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and H.H. Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum as deputies of the Ruler of Dubai.

The key heritage sites are a major tourist landmark in Dubai. The emirate is developing its present, looking forward to the future and, at the same time, maintains its originality.

This prestigious house with its four wind catchers (Barjils) is located along the creek at the direction of Bur Dubai. It was built in 1896 to be the headquarters of the ruler. It was named after Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum who lived there till his death in 1958. It covers a large area and has an old style. The height of the house ranges among different parts between one and two floors. It contains a large number of rooms, windows and bathrooms in the form of separate suites. It has two entrances; the main one overlooking the Khor Dubai via a secure yard leading to the living room and the guest room.

The courtyard leads to the main plaza around which five separate suites are distributed with each containing a window, a living rooms and a number of other rooms. The other entrance, however, is located opposite to the building and it seems that it was built for the members of the family. At night, bright lights fill the house which is considered as a landmark of Dubai’s outstanding architectural heritage and age-old culture. The House of Sheikh Saeed has been turned into a museum of historical documents and photographs of the Emirate of Dubai.

Al Fuhaidi Fortress Established in 1877, Al Fuhaidi Fortress protected the areas that were parallel or near to the city. The ruler lived there until 1890, when the late Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hasher Al Maktoum moved to Al Shindagha which is nearer to Khor Dubai. The fortress embodies a significant era in the history of Dubai, as it lies at the heart of the heritage area of Bur and serves as a bridge between the unique past and the advanced development of the emirate.At the east of the fortress lies the court which features the architectural style of the surrounding heritage area. Up north is the old Souk, while modern commercial centers are located at the south and the west.

Today, the fortress has become a part of the Dubai Museum which has incorporated a new section – excluding the lobby- that was built under the ground to maintain a good view of the fortress. The Museum was open to the public in March 1995 and showcases state-of-the-art audiovisuals that capture both the prosperous past and the flourishing present of Dubai. The Dubai Museum is certainly one of the local sites worth visiting.

Al Bastakiya Located in Bur Dubai, the Al Bastakiya district dates back to the early 20th century and covers the eastern part of the heritage area opposite the Khor. It is 300m long and 200m wide to the south. The district features a significant epoch in the history of architecture and urban development in Dubai which saw architects leaving enduring monuments to heritage. The designs of wind catchers, plaster artifacts, woodwork and zigzag lanes spreading all throughout the area continue to amaze both visitors and artists.

CultureAll across the UAE, there are many national, governmental, cultural, and scientific organizations that take on leading roles in spreading culture and the sciences, enriching literary and cultural movements, reviving and preserving popular heritage, and nurturing creative talents.Among the most important of these organizations in Dubai is the Cultural & Scientific Association, the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding, the Juma Al Majid Center for Culture and Heritage, the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation, Ousha bint Hussein Cultural Center, the UAE Writers Union, and the UAE Women Writers League.

The cultural and educational awards sponsored by different governmental and national organizations and institutions include the Sheikh Rashid Award for Scientific Distinction, the Zayed International Prize for the Environment, the Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance, the Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Award and the Al Owais Award for Research and Scientific Innovation, as well as the Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Child Creativity, the Rashid Award for Humanitarian Studies, the Arab Journalism Award, and the Dubai International Holy Qur'an Award.In 2003, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum issued a law which formed the Dubai Cultural Council.

The Council’s main role was to motivate the cultural movement within Dubai and throughout the United Arab Emirates.Later, in March 2005, in his capacity as the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum issued a new law which established the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority to be responsible for achieving the culture and arts goals under the Dubai Strategic Plan’s framework for 2021.The Authority aims to promote Dubai’s position as one of the most culturally diverse international cities that brings the East and the West together. It also encourages the residents of Dubai, who come from more than 200 nationalities, to interact and contribute to culture and the arts by offering awards to creative and bright individuals and also by honoring patrons from this field.There have been many creative initiatives that have taken place in this regard. For example, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum recently launch seven new initiatives aimed at preserving and promoting the Arabic language.

The UAE Ministry of Culture documents and disseminates the country’s heritage and cultural creativity by publishing materials, supporting digital content on the internet, sponsoring photography exhibitions, and compiling a ‘Who's Who’ of UAE creatives including artists, writers, poets and painters.Broadcasting and print media organizations also play vital roles in developing the national culture by encouraging intellectual, literary and creative output, supporting cultural projects, keeping up with science and knowledge, and spreading culture.Education has had the greatest impact on the propagation of culture and science.

This is mainly due to the fact that education is compulsory in the UAE and that there are many schools all over the region. There are several notable scientific entities, such as government and private institutes and universities dedicated to the service of various community segments.Launched in 2001, the Dubai Knowledge Village supported by the Government of Dubai is an indispensable source of culture. The education free zone hosts around 200 organizations that include international universities, online academic institutions and e-learning providers from all around the world.

TourismTourism is a crucial factor in the growth of the UAE economy, especially in Dubai where trade plays an important and essential role in tourist activities. The emirate was historically well-known for its flourishing pearl trade and its strong business ties with India and neighboring countries. In the years that followed, the tourism sector steadily grew and evolved, developing dramatically with the discovery of oil in Dubai which turned the city into a hub for aspiring and ambitious businessmen.

With Dubai’s present economic boom, the government is now focused on providing all the necessary infrastructure for the basic elements of tourism which can help improve this sector further in the region – including the development of modern shopping malls offering renowned international brands, exquisite hotels and restaurants satisfying the diverse tastes of tourists, etc.Dubai’s so-called ‘availability of convenience’ is sought by tourists and has made the emirate a preferred travel destination. Main attractions include the Burj Khalifa – the world's tallest building, Burj Al Arab, Madinat Jumeirah, Bab Al Shams and Al Maha Desert Resorts.The emirate is also renowned for the diversity of its tourism programs, activities and festivals – all of which are aimed at foreign tourists as well as local, GCC and Arab communities. The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) which takes place every winter together with the Dubai Summer Surprises Festival and their entertainment events has made the Emirate of Dubai a popular and competitive tourist destination.

The variety of programs and activities available – including safari trips, horse and camel riding, henna drawings and tattoos, art shows, heritage site tours, sky diving, balloon rides over sand dunes, cruises, swimming, diving, flying tours over the Dubai Marina, Madinat Jumeirah, Palm Jumeirah, the World Islands, Dubai Creek, etc. – has created a successful competitive environment for tourism.According to a study published by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Dubai welcomed 7.84 million tourists in 2009 and 8.63 million in 2010, with the figures continuing to rise in 2011 and 2012.Dubai ranked seventh among the world’s top 10 holiday destinations for the first quarter of 2012, according to reports by the British Passports Website (Home Away).

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