About United Arab Emirates

Though with a long history, the UAE as a country was formed in 1971. Over the centuries, the Turks,  the Mangols and Ottomons influenced the region. Due to the area's geographic significance, in the early 19th century, the British and the Portugese came towards the Arabian waters. By 1820, the British had a Naval presence in the Arabian waters and a general treaty was signed between the local rulers to denounce piracy. The Emirates in 1892 accepted British protection. This area back then was known as the Tricial Coat, and it retained its name till the British departure in 1971. The UAE was established in 1971.

After the withdrawal of the British in 1971, Bahrain and Qatar chose Independence. The United Arab Emirates came into existance from the Trucial coast with Ras Al Khaimah joining the union in 1972 to establish the UAE that we know today.

The UAE today is comprised of seven Emirates, namely Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ral Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. The capital city of UAE is Abu Dhabi, a larger part of which is actually an Island linked to the mainland by bridges. While still largely barren land, the capital city may some day become the place of the UAE central government to accomodate government offices, federal ministries as well as foreign embassies.

The UAE population in the recent years has grown rapidly due to expats settling in from other parts of the world. Per World Bank statistics, UAE population was just 322,439 a year after the country was formed in 1972. Thirty years later, the population increased to 3.2 million. After 40 years, the population has grown by 28 times the 1972 figure and currently recorded at around 9.2 million.

The UAE time is four hours ahead of GMT or Universally co-ordinated time. The local time in UAE is not altered for daylight savings as in Europe or North America.

The monetary currency of UAE is a Dirham (Dhs) divided into 100 fills. The currency notes come in denominations of Dhs 5 (brown), Dhs 10 (green), Dhs 20 (light blue), Dhs 100 (pink), Dhs 200 (yellow-brownish), Dhs 500 (blue) and Dhs 1000 (brownish purple). Since the Dhs 200 and Dhs 5 note look alike, close attention needs to be paid so as not to be confused while handing out the currency note.

The coins are silver in color the most common ones you come across are Dhs one dirham and .50 fils. The Dirham has been pegged to the US Dollar since 1980 at a mid rate of 1 USD to Dhs 3.6725.

The total land area of the UAE is approximately 83,600 sq. km with around 1381 km of coastline. The area of UAE is not mountainous with the highest point known as "Jebel Jabir" at 1572 m. "Jebel" means a mountain or hill in Arabic. The UAE coordinates are 24*00 North 54*00 East.

The UAE flag incorporates the pan arabic colors of green, white, black and red, symbolizing Arabian Unity. All of the Emirates have their own flag except Fujairah.

The UAE business hours are from Sunday to Thursday. Friday is an official holiday with schools and govt. buildings closed. Typically the UAE business week is from Sunday to Thursday, but some businesses require a six day work week.

The hospitality and leisure industries are open seven days a week including petrol stations. Larger shops and malls are open throughout the day and into the evening until 10:00 PM or till midnight. During Ramadan, according to the UAE law, all companies are obligated to shorten their work day by two hours. A typical day in the middle east is from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM or 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM with a break of one hour for lunch. Most govt. offices are open from 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM, Sunday thru Thursday. Embassies and Consulates operate similar hours but make designate specific timings for specific tasks, so its best to call before you go.

The UAE borders Saudi Arabia and the the Sultanate of Oman.

The UAE generally experiences two seasons, hot and very hot. During the summer season, temperatures can rise to triple digits and high humidity levels. Temperatures can rise from 41 degrees C (106 degrees Fahrenheit) up to 48 degrees Centigrade (118 degrees Fahrenheit). Though very hot, the UAE is mostly centrally air conditioned in malls, restaurants, offices and bus stations. Rainfall is very seldom with a 25 days average per year and that too, not for longer period of time.   TO BE CONTINUED