UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
(UAE, دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة
Dawlat al-ʾImārāt al-ʿArabiyyah al-Muttaḥidah)
United Arab Emirates Flag
- Location: Southwest Asia (Middle East)
- Capital: Abu Dhabi
- Language(s): Arabic
- Population: 8,454,334
- Total Area: 83,600 sq km
- Currency: UAE Dirham
- Curious Alcohol Fact: Alcohol is sold in six out of the seven Emirates –Sharjah is the notable exception.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 0.54 liter
- Most Popular Drink(s): Tea
The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates (Sharjah, Ras al-Khaymah, Umm al-Qaywayn, Al-Fujairah, Ajman, Abu Dhabi and Dubai). Each one of the emirates ruled by an emir who has absolute power in his domain. Located on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, the UAE is surrounded by the following countries in the region: Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabian in the peninsula and across the sea, Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain, Iran and Kuwait. Formerly called the Trucial States (or the Trucial Oman, Trucial Sheikdoms), the capital of the UAE is the city of Abu Dhabi. Very rich in crude oil reserves, the federation has some of the highest living standards in Asia. Like many of the other Persian Gulf nations, much of the UAE is covered by sprawling sandy deserts.
When it comes to the distribution of ethnic groups, I discovered a trend similar to that of neighboring Qatar. Just around 20% of the citizens are native Emiratis and the other chunk of the population is composed of workers mainly from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran and the Philippines. The state religion is Islam and more than 60% of the people are Muslims. Others are Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. The official language in the country is Arabic, although English is widely used. Among the immigrant community, you will hear Hindi, Urdu, Pashto, Persian and Balochi. Many nationals work in the nation’s lucrative oil industry and you can see development everywhere. Emiratis are warm people and they radiate the kind of hospitality that I received in other parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Hospitality is deeply ingrained in the Arab tradition, and as the guest, you will be spoilt silly.
To eat in the Emirates is to experience paradise right here on the planet. Traditional meals in the country are made from rice, meat and fish. Being close to the Persian Gulf, seafood also form an important component of the Emirati cuisine. Bread is also common and is widely taken as snack. One meal that you must never miss while in the Emirates is shawarma. Made from chicken, mutton, spices and vegetables, the charm of shawarma is one that no tourist can resist.
Tea and coffee are the most popular beverages and I have reached the conclusion that Arabs cannot be separated from these drinks. In the Emirates, you can enjoy tea spiced with mint, and truly speaking, nothing tastes better than a cup of spiced Arabian tea. For tourists looking for alcoholic drinks, you will find them in the hotels and bars in six of the Emirates, with the notable exception of Sharjah. However, in places where alcohol is sold, it is good for you to maintain decorum while sipping your beer –never drink in public.
If you have ever had of the city called Dubai, the next time you are in the UAE, you must pay a visit to this angelic city. There you will see the tallest building in the world, the tallest and most flamboyant hotel in the world, the only indoor ski city in the Arabian Peninsula and many more.
The most popular sports in the country is football and this also doubles as the national sport. Apart from football, Emiratis are also into the sports of cricket, falconry and camel racing. It must be emphasized that cricket is one of the most popular sports in the country.
- UAE is home to the legendary city of Dubai.
- UAE was once known as the Trucial States.
- UAE has one of the largest oil reserves in the country.
Story By World By Shotglass
©2012 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria) for story editing.