The UAE: Present and Past
Even during the times of the British protectorate, the UAE remained true to its values and traditions. Nowadays this state is an impressive combination of the old and the new. On the one hand, it is keeping up with the latest innovations, technologies and processes taking place in our globalized world. On the other hand, it respects and honors its traditions, cultural heritage and architecture. It’s a breathtaking mixture of skyscrapers, huge shopping centers, ancient stone buildings and natural landmarks some of which have even become UNESCO heritage sites such as Al Ain in Abu Dhabi, known as the Garden City.
The most prominent holidays celebrated in the UAE include Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr which marks its end, Ashura (Memorial day), New Year and Muslim New Year (El am Hejir), Mawlid (the birthday of the prophet Muhammad), Al-Eid Al Watani (the National Day), Eid-ul-Adha (the Sacrifice Feast).
The culture of the UAE is a mixture of Persian, Indian and East African traditions. It is especially noticeable in architecture – the wind-tower or the wind-catcher you can come across in the UAE is actually of Persian origin.
Sharjah is considered the cultural capital of the Emirates while Dubai is the true embodiment of the word “innovation.” It is home to the highest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, (828 m (2,717 ft) high without an antenna) with the fastest elevator. At the top of the skyscraper, there is a restaurant with a superb and breathtaking view. Downtown Dubai is also home to the well-known musical fountains. They are illuminated by 6.600 lights and offer the audience one of the most awe-inspiring shows in the world. Their construction cost 218 million dollars. One of the most luxurious and grand hotels are also situated in Dubai. Burj Al Arab was opened in 1999. It is 321 m high and had been considered the highest hotel in the world till 2008 when Rose Tower, a 72-storey hotel, was built in Dubai.
The Dubai Mall is one of the tourist’s favorite shopping centers. It contains a gigantic oceanarium with 33,000 sea creatures.
Nowadays the United Arab Emirates is a very favorable place for doing business, investments and residence. Preserving tradition and past history has always been one of the key priorities of the UAE. However, it does stand on the way of making advances in the fields of technology and innovation.