A Travellerspoint blog

Architectural Marvels, Adrenaline, and Enchantment

Dubai, United Arab Emirates


View Around the World! - Part 3 & Around the World! - Part 2 on Where2FromHere's travel map.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates situated in the southeastern region of the Arabian Peninsula, sharing borders with Oman and Saudi Arabia. The seven emirates comprise Abu Dhabi (the capital), Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah. Formed in 1971 following the British withdrawal from the Persian Gulf, the UAE has since emerged as a significant regional player, renowned for its modern infrastructure and oil wealth. Interestingly, while Abu Dhabi possesses the majority of the country's oil reserves, Dubai has transformed into a global hub for business and tourism. As an Islamic nation, the UAE boasts a rich cultural heritage that draws influence from Arab, Persian, and Bedouin traditions, with Arabic serving as the official language, although English is widely spoken. The country has become a popular tourist destination, offering luxury hotels, expansive shopping malls, thrilling desert adventures, and unique attractions such as the Palm Jumeirah, where we were fortunate enough to spend the night.

Dubai is renowned for its modern, innovative, and architectural designs that often push the boundaries of engineering and aesthetics. The city's skyline is dominated by towering skyscrapers, many of which feature unique and unconventional shapes, making them appear as though they belong to a future era.

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Some iconic examples of Dubai's futuristic architecture that were my favorites include:

  • Burj Khalifa - The world's tallest building, with a sleek, neo-futuristic design. The Burj Khalifa is not only an architectural marvel but also a symbol of Dubai's ambition, innovation, and vision for the future. It has become an iconic landmark. Jeff and I had watched a You-tube video on its construction which showed what an amazing feat it was to build.

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  • Dubai Frame - A giant, gold-plated picture frame structure offering panoramic views of the city. The Dubai Frame offers visitors a journey through time, with its three main sections representing Dubai's past, present, and future. At the ground level, there's an exhibition gallery showcasing Dubai's transformation from a small fishing village to a modern metropolis. The sky bridge features a glass-floored walkway, providing a chance to look down to the ground 150 meters below. On the other side of the sky bridge, there's a virtual reality exhibition that showcases Dubai's vision for the future, including cutting-edge technology and ambitious projects.

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Museum of the Future - A striking, doughnut-shaped building covered in Arabic calligraphy, showcasing cutting-edge technology and innovation. While in Dubai, we learned what a visionary Shiekh Mohammad was and what it's meant to this country. Below are photos of the museum as well as the words of wisdom of his highness Sheikh Mohammed.

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" The secret to the renewal of life, the evolution of civilizations, and the development of humanity is simple: innovation"

and

"The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. It isn't something you await, but rather create."

and, my favorite ...

" We many not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity leave a legacy long after we're gone."

We had the pleasure of making a few notable stops before heading to our hotel, which was conveniently located on the iconic Palm Jumeirah. We began by visiting the Sheikh's palace, an impressive structure that showcased the opulence and grandeur of the UAE's royal family. Just across the street, we took a moment to admire the beautiful mosque, its architecture a testament to the country's deep-rooted Islamic heritage. Next stop was at the renowned Atlantis Dubai. While there we witnessed the new Atlantis Royal, a sister property that promises to elevate the already high standards set by its two predecessors.

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Our evening was filled with exciting new experiences and sensations. As we explored the area, we came across herds of camels being readied for the upcoming camel races. The real excitement, however, began just before sunset when we ventured into the desert to visit the sand dunes. Our guide first had to deflate our vehicle's tires to 18 psi to prepare for the thrilling ride ahead. Jeff and I had the "fortune" of being seated in the back, which made for an incredibly jolting and exhilarating experience, [far more intense than any bumpy ride in the dunes of Michigan, Jason!]

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As dusk settled over the desert, we found ourselves in a secluded spot, completely captivated by the incredible performance of a trained Peregrine Falcon. The falconer commanded the bird to soar at breathtaking speeds, pursuing a decoy prey. After a brief chase, the falcon was allowed to capture its target and was rewarded with a treat weighing approximately 10% of its body weight. This awe-inspiring display of the falcon's agility and the falconer's skill left us in awe of the ancient art of falconry. [Jeff may be more convinced than ever to become proficient at this!]

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To close out the day, we were taken to another camp for dinner and entertainment which included more camels,Arabian dancers as well a fire act.

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Overall, the United Arab Emirates was a fascinating country to visit. It's hard to image that within just a matter of several decades this country has transformed itself from a desert region into a modern, thriving nation known for its innovation, tourism, and economic opportunities.

Posted by Where2FromHere 09:56 Archived in United Arab Emirates

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