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Living in...
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Published by Motivate Publishing
DUBAI PO Box 2331, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tel (+971 4) 282 4060, fax (+971 4) 282 7898
Ofce 508, Building No 8, Dubai Media City, Dubai, UAE
Tel (+971 4) 390 3550, fax (+971 4) 390 4845
ABU DHABI PO Box 43072, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Tel (+971 2) 677 2005, fax (+971 2) 677 0124
LONDON Acre House, 11/15 William Road, London NW1 3ER
DIRECTORS Obaid Humaid Al Tayer and Ian Fairservice
SERIES EDITOR Simona Cassano
EDITOR Moushumi Nandy
SENIOR DESIGNER Cithadel Francisco
DESIGNER Charlie Banalo
First published 2009
Living In Series
Original text Leslie Nicolas Nasr 2009
Motivate Publishing 2009
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form (including photocopying or storing in any medium by electronic means) without
the written permission of the copyright holders. Application for the copyright holders written permission to reproduce any part of this publication should be addressed
to the publishers. In accordance with the International Copyright Act 1956 and the UAE Federal Law No. (7) of 2002, Concerning Copyrights and Neighboring Rights,
any person acting in contravention of this will be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.
Bandula, T.H.: 20, 21, 35, 45, 50-51, 66-67, 70, 71, 72, 75, 76-77, 79, 82, 85, 86, 89, 90-91, 97, 100-101, 105, 106-107, 108, 110-111,
112-113, 121, 122-123, 129, 130, 132-133, 134, 137, 138, 140-141, 153, 160, 162, 165, 166, 175, 182 (bottom), 186-187, 188,
190, 192, 195, 196, 199, 208, 244-245, 304-305
Edgar, Danae: 126
Ghrayeb, Nassim: 16, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 46, 68-69, 93, 95, 103, 115, 118, 119, 139, 143, 172, 179 (2), 180, 200-201, 203, 209, 210,
248-249, 250-251
Jumeirah Group: Cover, 150, 155, 170, 216-217, 222, 227, 234, 237, 241
Motivate Publishing: 15 (2), 48, 57, 80-81, 144-145, 154, 157, 169, 176-177, 178, 181, 182 (top), 185, 198, 205, 219, 221, 225 (2), 229, 231,
233, 243, 252
Micalella, Francesco: 49, 78
Al Murooj Rotana: 238
Nandy, Moushumi: 213
Space Imaging: 24-25
Steele, David: 14, 116
Thesiger, Sir Wilfred: 10-11, 13
Printed by Emirates Printing Press, Dubai, UAE
Living in...
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Leslie Nicolas Nasr
Living in...
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Naturally, the entertainment and leisure scene is
benefting from all this. Fine restaurants offer dining
options with renowned chefs, no longer limited to
cosmopolitan cities such as New York, Paris, London
or Hong Kong. Young couples, singles and the party
scene crowd have ample bars and venues to choose
from. Annual conferences, events and shows attract all
industries and participants.
Even practising seasonal sports is not an issue
anymore, and swimming and skiing can be enjoyed on the
same day all year round.
Nonetheless, Dubai has its own challenges to overcome.
It is a city in transition still looking for its own identity,
and expectations should be based on the awareness that
Dubai is undergoing constant change in order to move
forward. It is working hard at building its infrastructure,
service and cultural life, which is why the place where
almost anything is possible will have to deal with certain
unresolved issues, and one can only imagine what this
emirate will be like in another decade when the major
construction projects are complete and Dubai settles into
the rhythm of its more grown up counterparts in Asia,
Europe, and North America.
That the result is stunning, exciting and overwhelming
is not in doubt, although the exact form Dubai will take is
still very much a mystery.
Living In . . . Dubai is the go-to guide for everything you
need to get the most out of life in the worlds fastest
growing city.
Dubai is a product of the vision of Dubais ruler, His
Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,
resulting in one of the modern wonders of the world.
Living in Dubai provides many advantages. Articles
written and documentaries shown across the world
feature Dubai as the place everyone wants to be:
consider the thrills one derives from the glamour and
the daily exercise of sharing life with various cultures
and religions, and from taking part in helping shape an
unfnished city project.
Whether you choose to look at its gleaming surface
of amazing skyscrapers, or discover its deeply-rooted
heritage and tradition, Dubai holds endless surprises
for its visitors and residents alike. It boasts sunshine
and good weather more than half the year and offers
activities for the whole family, from shopping to camel
racing, from dune-bashing to snorkelling.
This fascinating work in progress where cranes,
luxury hotels, the worlds largest shopping centre and
tallest tower can be found side by side is an intriguing
and happening place. It is not unusual to hear famous
celebrities have bought a residence in Dubai or have lent
their names to a specifc project.
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Get the most oUt of living in... dubai
Based around on-the-ground realities, Living in... Dubai covers the citys history, its culture, the best way to prepare a
move, the subtle nuances of daily life and social attitudes, the availability of housing, the different education systems
as well as tried and tested recommendations for select shopping, dining and entertainment options. To fnd this
information you can:
nbrowse through the detailed contents to fnd at a glance the information you need
on how to get a visa, how to chose a moving company, whats on in Dubai entertainment-
wise, and much more;
nexplore each chapter and Now you know! interest boxes, which are laid out
in a user-friendly way;
nuse the directory for quick reference. The Whats On directory is a reputable source of
up-to-date information and addresses for your shopping, leisure, entertainment, and travel;
nrefer to the full map of Dubai at the end of this book to get the bigger picture of your
new city, and to each snapshot of the main areas as a guide for moving around town; to fnd
your restaurant, hotel or any other location, go to the maps general listings to locate your
place of interest in the map grid.
Note that:
nthe procedures outlined are accurate and updated to date of publication, but may be
subject to change;
nlocation names in Dubai might have different spellings: Jumeira, Jumaira, Jumeirah, for
instance, are location names spelt differently but refer to the same district in the city. This
is a mirror of reality, more than a mistake or error per s, as in Dubai even road signs are
spelt differently according to the source (like RTA) providing the service and information.

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0_Prelims.indd 9 2/25/09 4:28:56 PM
10 living in... dubai
Shindagha in the old days
1_History.indd 10 2/25/09 1:58:17 PM
11 living in... dubai
history /// 1
the DevelOpment Of Dubai: frOm
beDOuin village tO luXury DestinatiOn
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12 living in... dubai
Early History
The history of Dubai is largely linked to that of the United
Arab Emirates. The frst area where proof of civilization
was found in the UAE is at Tell Abraq, located in the
Emirate of Umm al-Qaiwain, north of Dubai. This dates
back to approximately 3800 BC, although the peak of
occupation at Tell Abraq seems to have begun around
2500 BC. The Hellenistic settlements around Dubai, the
remains of which can still be seen at the Jumeirah site
can be traced back to 3,000 years ago.
In the eighteenth century two major tribal federations,
the Bani Yas and the Qawasim, were the main forces
controlling the area later known as the Trucial States.
The Bani Yas, whose seat of government was moved to
the port of Abu Dhabi in 1793, had Bedouin origins. The
Qawasim then controlled what is today known as the
Northern Emirates.
The beginning in Dubai was extremely poor and diffcult.
The city relied heavily on two main industries: pearling and
fshing, which started as far back as the sixteenth century,
and were the basis for trade and commerce.
forEign occupation
The doors of the Gulf opened frst to foreign trade with
the Portuguese, followed by the Iranians and the Indian
subcontinent. The Portugueses main interest was
establishing trading posts in order to boost commerce,
unlike other people such as the British and the French,
whose primary aims in the region were colonization and
the control of governments.
Although the British, who were established in Bahrain,
never colonized what is now known as the United Arab
Emirates, they made sure that their relationship with the
sheikhdom was a good one, and were known to have had a
certain degree of infuence on the rulers.
Since the very beginning Dubai had managed to
position itself as a serious trade entity whose fair in
commerce was not to be ignored especially when it came
to dealing with Persia and the Indian subcontinent. The
business of commerce and trade between Dubai and India
lead to the formation, for the frst time, of a maritime
connection between the two countries.
formation of tHE trucial statEs
The Qawasim were known to excel in maritime commerce
and trading. It was crucial for them to protect their
interests by keeping at length any outside interference.
At the time the main port on the coast was located in Ras
al-Khaimah (situated in the Northern Emirates, under the
rule of the Qawasim).
The British had enjoyed a strong presence in the area,
notably with the previous establishment of the East India
Company ships (18001820s). The friendship between
the Al Bu Said family (who ruled Muscat at the time) and
the British led to heavy fghting between the Qawasim
and the British when the latter accused the Qawasim of
allowing pirates to operate out of Ras al-Khaimahs port.
The battle resulted in the destruction of all the ports in
the Northern Emirates with the exception of Dubai and
Abu Dhabi. This prompted British General Keir, who had
led the expedition against the Qawasim, to convince every
sheikh in the region that the signing of peace agreements
among themselves was crucial.
The power and infuence that the Qawasim until then
had on some sheikhs came to an abrupt halt. A direct
consequence of this power struggle resulted in the birth
of the Trucial States.
The Trucial States comprised at the beginning of Abu
Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah and Sharjah. A decade later,
the Bani Yas federation followed the same steps as the
Qawasim. As a consequence, Dubai, headed by the Al
Maktoum family, separated from Abu Dhabi in 1833.
Later on, as confict in the desert between the sheikhs
national antHEm of
tHE unitEd arab EmiratEs
The national anthem of a country represents the foundation the
country was built on. It is a crucial element in order to understand
better the culture of what is soon to become ones new home.
Long live my country long live our United Emirates
We pledge our lives to your service
Our religion is Islam our guide is The Quran
We defend you with all that is dear to us
My homeland
My country
May the Almighty protect you from all evil
We swear to build you and be loyal to your causes
Our devotion is pure and unequivocal
May peace reign everlasting in your meadows
Your fag fy high above Nations
My Emirates, you are the symbol of the Arab Nation
For you, we sacrifce all that is dear to us
Oh my Homeland!
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intensifed, the British felt that the additional creation
of a military force was necessary. This led to the birth of
the Trucial Oman Scouts, who consisted mainly of local
soldiers headed by British offcers. Their responsibility
was mainly to maintain the peace.
crEation of tHE uaE
The British infuence and protection had also extended
to Bahrain and Qatar. Having been in the area for quite
a while, the United Kingdom decided that their treaty
between the seven Trucial States as well as Bahrain and
Dhows in Dubai Creek in the old days
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Qatar should be terminated by the end of December
1971. Bahrain decided to take the plunge and was
the frst to claim its independence in August of 1971,
followed by Qatar in September of the same year after
the unsuccessful attempt of the nine states involved to
form the Arab Emirates. It was then only natural for the
remaining seven states to become fully independent
before the expiration of their treaty with the British. As
Dubai and Abu Dhabi were the main players, a union
between the two was formed.
On December 2, 1971, at the Dubai Guest House Palace,
Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain and Fujairah joined
Dubai and Abu Dhabi to form the United Arab Emirates
(UAE) under the presidency of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-
Nahyan. Ras al-Khaimah was the last to join in early 1972.
The two major players who took charge in engineering
the road to the future on the formation of the United Arab
Emirates were His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al
Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi at the time (the Nahyan family is
still today the ruling family of Abu Dhabi), and His Highness
Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, then Ruler of Dubai
and father of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, the current
Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of
UAE. They both had a clear vision of what they wanted to
achieve, and each of them was successful in his own way.
Dubai was the frst among the seven emirates to grant
the British-owned oil companies concession agreements
giving them exclusive rights to the oil that lay beneath
the desert and sea bed. This was a major and daring step
on Dubais part as there was no oil discovered when that
happened. Oil in the region was found frst in Iran. Sheikh
Rashid was a pioneer as he was frst in deciding to build
up his Emirate. Upon his death, his son Sheikh Maktoum
bin Saeed Al Maktoum who succeeded him ensured the
continuation of his program. During the rule of Sheikh
Maktoum, his brother Sheikh Mohammed, who was then
the crown prince, took an effective and constructive
part in the development of the emirate and started to
introduce his own ideas. Sheikh Mohammed succeeded his
brother and continued the task of building Dubai, which
was truly a challenge well refected today.
pearl fishing /// Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al
Maktoum, father of Sheikh Rashid, had started with the
fshing industry and the exploitation of pearls. Many of
the leading commercial families in Dubai today trace their
trading routes back to the pearling industry, although
they managed to diversify their business by selling their
boats in the 1950s.
Pearl fshing was quite diffcult. The situation worsened
when Sheikh Saeed faced an unexpected challenge with
Japan entering the pearl trade by producing cultured
pearls. It became very expensive for Dubai to sell pearls
rulErs of dubai
Maktoum bin Buti (1833-1852)
Saeed bin Buti (1852-1859)
Hasher bin Maktoum (1859-1886)
Rashid bin Maktoum (1886-1894)
Maktoum bin Hasher (1894-1906)
Buti bin Suhail (1906-1912)
Saeed bin Maktoum (1912-1958)
Rashid bin Saeed (1958-1990)
Maktoum bin Rashid (1990-2006)
Mohammed bin Rashid (2006-Present)
The Al Maktoum family descends from the Al Bu Falasah section of the
Bani Yas, a highly respected and authoritative tribal federation, which
inhabited a small fshing village at the mouth of the Creek.
Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest building in Dubai
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Sheikh Zayed Road in the 1980s
Sheikh Zayed Road today
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