The emirate of Dubai is the second largest in the United Arab Emirates, after Abu Dhabi. The city of Dubai, which is situated in a sheltered bay within the Persian Gulf, is the emirate's main urban centre. Dubai started life as a small fishing town which over time grew into an important maritime trade port. However, from around the mid-1970s, when oil was discovered in the area, Dubai expanded in spectacular fashion to become one of the world's richest and most modern cities.
It is a leading economic hub, thanks in part to its strategic position between two other financial powerhouses: Singapore and London. Also well-known are its tourist resorts, vast numbers of high-end retailers and numerous high-rise buildings, including the world's tallest sky-scraper, the Burj Khalifa.
It is a city of contrasts, with flavours of both East and West, the desert and the city, the cutting-edge and the traditional. Indeed, the city's ancient and historic zones remain alive and well alongside its bright lights and futuristic nature. Visitors can get a feel for Dubai's roots by taking in traditional markets where they can find examples of native craftsmanship, or by visiting the Heritage Village, located at the mouth of Dubai Canal which splits the city in two and is a key transport thoroughfare. The Al Fahidi fort, which was built in the 19th Century, houses the Dubai Museum, where remains can be found of the various civilisations that inhabited the area, going back an astonishing 4000 years.
Indeed, it is well worth stepping outside the city's modern sphere and tasting this contrasting side of Dubai, with experiences of both worlds combining to make for a fascinating stay.
Football has always been the top sport in the Emirate of Dubai, which has several clubs that play in the top flight like Al Wasl, Al Ahli, Al Nasr, Al Shabab and Dubai Club. The city was previously one of the venues for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2003, where Al Maktoum Stadium and Al Rashid Stadium hosted several matches.