Five cool things about UAE
A taste of the high life
The UAE is proud host to the 828-metre high Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure in the world, and where better to get a bird’s-eye of downtown Dubai than from the top of this architectural marvel? After work started in 2004, it took more than 12,000 workers and engineers six years to finish the tower, which boasts the world’s highest publicly accessible viewing deck as well as the highest mosque, restaurant and swimming pool on the planet.
The Burj Khalifa is surrounded by other soaring edifices, such as the Princess Tower, the Diamond Tower and the Burj Al Arab, which rises from an artificial island some 100 metres off-shore and commands a view over the popular tourist destination of Jumeirah.
Getting to know UAE history
There are enough sites of historical interest scattered across the seven emirates to satisfy the most ardent history buff and archaeology addict. Your first stop should be the Dubai Museum, with its displays of life in the region before the discovery of oil as well as recently discovered antiquities, some of which date back to 3000 B.C. Abu Dhabi offers the visitor the architectural treasure of Al Hosn Fort and the Ajman Museum, while Ras Al Khaimah is famed for its collection of ancient fortresses and castles.
The UAE is known for its ambitious and breathtaking architecture, though perhaps no building is better known than Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the biggest Muslim house of worship in the world. One of the city’s premier attractions, the mosque is constructed from the finest marble and stone with stunning inlays of precious stones, crystal and ceramics.
Abu Dhabi is also home to the luxurious Emirates Palace Hotel. With its gleaming gold and marble interior the hotel plays host to major international musical festivals and concerts.
The sea off the country’s coast is sprinkled with real and man-made islands. The most famous of these is the Palm Islands project, consisting of three vast palm-tree-shaped archipelagos strung out down the coast, with a constellation of islands in the form of a world map nestling in between them. The three biggest artificial islands in the world, they house a number of landmarks and hotels, including an aquarium with over 65,000 sea creatures in shallow pools and an underwater maze with windows set into its passageways.
Siniya Island off the coast of Umm Al Quwain is the most famous of the country’s natural islands and the most popular off-shore tourist destination in the region. It is renowned for its natural beauty, abundant wildlife and a number of historical sites.