2020 Travels travel blog

Welcome to Dubai

Sights of Dubai

Sights of Dubai

Sights of Dubai

Sights of Dubai

Sights of Dubai

Sights of Dubai

Sights of Dubai

Sights of Dubai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The "Group"


Today we got to visit Dubai. Speaking for myself, I was more impressed with Abu Dhabi although both cities shared a common history and Dubai is also going “build them until we sink” crazy. Abu Dhabi just seemed to be a little cleaner and organized.

Our first stop on the tour was the Dubai Museum. This showed some of the history of the town and was fairly interesting. Our second stop was the open market for gold, silver and spices. You can haggle over the price of the “workmanship” of an item, but not the basic cost of the gold or silver. Our last (and longest) stop was the Dubai Mall.

Mall Note: Our guide also “mentioned” (numerous times) that their mall is the #1 largest mall in the world. Further research by yours truly discovered that the Dubai Mall is actually the second largest mall by total land area, and the 26th-largest shopping mall in the world by gross leasable area, tying with West Edmonton Mall and Fashion Island — both of which are older than it (interesting to note that the USA does not have a mall in the top 26 of the world). The Dubai Mall has a total retail floor area of 502,000 square meters. It is part of the 20-billion-dollar Downtown complex, and includes over 1,200 shops. In 2011, it was the most visited building on the planet, attracting over 54 million visitors each year. Access to the mall is provided via Doha Street, rebuilt as a double-decker road in April 2009.These were the actual stops for visiting, but we also stopped just to take photos of this or that. Of course, we took numerous photos as we drove through Dubai.

You can’t think of Dubai without bringing up the images of the Dubai Palm Jumeirah and Marina built in 2011. The Palm Islands are three artificial islands, Palm Jumeirah, Deira Island and Palm Jebel Ali, on the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Only Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali has been completed. This island takes the form of a palm tree, topped by a crescent, a beautiful sight that is best viewed from above. After completion, Deira Island will likely take a similar shape, Like Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali. each island will host many residential, leisure and entertainment centers and will add non-public beaches to the city of Dubai. Like Abu Dhabi, the buildings are great to look at and they are continuing to build more buildings to be ready for the 2020 Expo scheduled for October.

History Lesson: Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai. Located in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula on the coast of the Persian Gulf, Dubai aims to be the business hub of Western Asia. It is also a major global transport hub for passengers and cargo. Oil revenue helped accelerate the development of the city, which was already a major mercantile hub. Today, less than 5% of the emirate's revenue comes from oil. A center for regional and international trade since the early 20th century, Dubai's economy relies on revenues from trade, tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services.

During the 1970s, Dubai continued to grow from revenues generated from oil and trade, even as the city saw an influx of immigrants fleeing the Lebanese civil war. Border disputes between the emirates continued even after the formation of the UAE; it was only in 1979 that a formal compromise was reached that ended disagreements. The Jebel Ali port was established in 1979. JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone) was built around the port in 1985 to provide foreign companies unrestricted import of labor and export capital. Dubai airport and the aviation industry also continued to grow.

The Gulf War of 1990 had a negative financial effect on the city, as depositors withdrew their money and traders withdrew their trade, but subsequently, the city recovered in a changing political climate and thrived. Later in the 1990s, many foreign trading communities—first from Kuwait, during the Gulf War, and later from Bahrain, during the Shia unrest—moved their businesses to Dubai. Dubai provided refueling bases to allied forces at the Jebel Ali Free Zone during the Gulf War, and again during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Large increases in oil prices after the Gulf War encouraged Dubai to continue to focus on free trade and tourism.

Dubai is known for its skyscrapers and rich lifestyle. It is also a heaven for fashion and lifestyle, giving multiple shopping options. Dubai is also known for its tourism. The world's tallest building Burj Khalifa, the world's largest hotel Burj Al Arab Jumeriah, the world's largest mall The Dubai Mall (see my comments above), the world's largest artificial islands Palm Islands etc. are just some of it's masterpieces.

Dubai is thought to have been established as a fishing village in the early 18th century and was, by 1822, a town of some 700–800 members of the Bani Yas tribe and subject to the rule of Sheikh Tahnun bin Shakhbut of Abu Dhabi. 1833, following tribal feuding, members of the Al Bu Falasah tribe seceded from Abu Dhabi and established themselves in Dubai. The exodus from Abu Dhabi was led by Obeid bin Saeed and Maktoum bin Butti, who became joint leaders of Dubai until Ubaid died in 1836, leaving Maktum to establish the Maktoum dynasty. Dubai signed the General Maritime Treaty of 1820 along with other Trucial States, following the British punitive expedition against Ras Al Khaimah of 1819, which also led to the bombardment of the coastal communities of the Persian Gulf. This led to the 1853 Perpetual Maritime Truce. Dubai also – like its neighbors on the Trucial Coast – entered into an exclusivity agreement in which the United Kingdom took responsibility for the emirate's security in 1892.

In 1901, Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum established Dubai as a free port with no taxation on imports or exports and also gave merchants parcels of land and guarantees of protection and tolerance. These policies saw a movement of merchants not only directly from Lingeh, but also those who had settled in Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah to Dubai. The 'great storm' of 1908 struck the pearling boats of Dubai and the coastal emirates towards the end of the pearling season that year, resulting in the loss of a dozen boats and over 100 men. The disaster was a major setback for Dubai, with many families losing their breadwinner and merchants facing financial ruin. These losses came at a time when the tribes of the interior were also experiencing poverty. In a letter to the Sultan of Muscat in 1911, Butti laments, 'Misery and poverty are raging among them, with the result that they are struggling, looting and killing among themselves.” In the early days since its inception, Dubai was constantly at odds with Abu Dhabi. In 1947, a border dispute between Dubai and Abu Dhabi on the northern sector of their mutual border escalated into war. Arbitration by the British resulted in a cessation of hostilities.

Despite a lack of oil, Dubai's ruler from 1958, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, used revenue from trading activities to build infrastructure. Private companies were established to build and operate infrastructure, including electricity, telephone services and both the ports and airport operators. An airport of sorts (a runway built on salt flats) was established in Dubai in the 1950s and, in 1959, the emirate's first hotel, the Airlines Hotel, was constructed. This was followed by the Ambassador and Carlton Hotels in 1968. Sheikh Rashid commissioned John Harris from Halcrow, a British architecture firm, to create the city's first master plan in 1959. Harris imagined a Dubai that would rise from the historic center on Dubai Creek, with an extensive road system, organized zones, and a town center, all of which could feasibly be built with the limited financial resources at the time.

In 1962 the British Political Agent noted that "Many new houses and blocks of offices and flats are being built... the Ruler is determined, against advice [from the British] to press on with the construction of a jet airport... More and more European and Arab firms are opening up and the future looks bright." In 1962, with expenditure on infrastructure projects already approaching levels some thought imprudent, Sheikh Rashid approached his brother in law, the Ruler of Qatar, for a loan to build the first bridge crossing Dubai's creek. This crossing was finished in May 1963 and was paid for by a toll levied on the crossing from the Dubai side of the creek to the Deira side.

Throughout the 1960s Dubai was the center of a lively gold trade, with 1968 imports of gold at some £56 million. This gold was, in the vast majority, re-exported - mainly to customers who took delivery in international waters off India. The import of gold to India had been banned and so the trade was characterized as smuggling, although Dubai's merchants were quick to point out that they were making legal deliveries of gold and that it was up to the customer where they took it. In 1966, more gold was shipped from London to Dubai than almost anywhere else in the world (Only France and Switzerland took more), at 4 million ounces. Dubai also took delivery of over $15 million-worth of watches and over 5 million ounces of silver. The 1967 price of gold was $35 an ounce but its market price in India was $68 an ounce - a healthy markup. Estimates at the time put the volume of gold imports from Dubai to India at something like 75% of the total market.

After years of exploration following large finds in neighboring Abu Dhabi, oil was eventually discovered in territorial waters off Dubai in 1966, albeit in far smaller quantities. The first field was named 'Fateh' or 'good fortune'. This led to an acceleration of Sheikh Rashid's infrastructure development plans and a construction boom that brought a massive influx of foreign workers, mainly Asians and Middle easterners. Between 1968 and 1975 the city's population grew by over 300%. As part of the infrastructure for pumping and transporting oil from the Fateh field, located offshore of the Jebel Ali area of Dubai, two 500,000 gallon storage tanks were built, known locally as 'Kazzans', by welding them together on the beach and then digging them out and floating them to drop onto the seabed at the Fateh field. These were constructed by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, which gave the beach its local name (Chicago Beach), which was transferred to the Chicago Beach Hotel, which was demolished and replaced by the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in the late 1990s. The Kazzans were an innovative oil storage solution which meant super-tankers could moor offshore even in bad weather and avoided the need to pipe oil onshore from Fateh, which is some 60 miles out to sea. Dubai had already embarked on a period of infrastructural development and expansion. Oil revenue, flowing from 1969 onwards supported a period of growth with Sheikh Rashid embarking on a policy of building infrastructure and a diversified trading economy before the emirate's limited reserves were depleted. Oil accounted for 24% of GDP in 1990, but had reduced to 7% of GDP by 2004. Critically, one of the first major projects Sheikh Rashid embarked upon when oil revenue started to flow was the construction of Port Rashid, a deep water free port constructed by British company Halcrow. Originally intended to be a four-berth port, it was extended to sixteen berths as construction was ongoing. The project was an outstanding success, with shipping queuing to access the new facilities. The port was inaugurated on 5 October 1972, although its berths were each pressed into use as soon as they had been built. Port Rashid was to be further expanded in 1975 to add a further 35 berths before the larger port of Jebel Ali was constructed. Port Rashid was the first of a swath of projects designed to create a modern trading infrastructure, including roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.

Dubai and the other 'Trucial States' had long been a British protectorate where the British government took care of foreign policy and defense, as well as arbitrating between the rulers of the Eastern Gulf, the result of a treaty signed in 1892, the 'Exclusive Agreement'. This was to change with PM Harold Wilson's announcement, on 16 January 1968, that all British troops were to be withdrawn from 'East of Aden'. The decision was to pitch the coastal emirates, together with Qatar and Bahrain, into fevered negotiations to fill the political vacuum that the British withdrawal would leave behind. The principle of union was first agreed between the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and Sheikh Rashid of Dubai on 18 February 1968 meeting in an encampment at Argoub Al Sedirah, near Al Semeih, a desert stop between the two emirates. The two agreed to work towards bringing the other emirates, including Qatar and Bahrain, into the union. Over the next two years, negotiations and meetings of the rulers followed -often stormy- as a form of union was thrashed out. The nine-state union was never to recover from the October 1969 meeting where heavy-handed British intervention resulted in a walk-out by Qatar and Ras Al Khaimah. Bahrain and Qatar dropped out of talks, leaving six of the seven 'trucial' emirates to agree on union on 18 July 1971. On 2 December 1971, Dubai, together with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain and Fujairah joined in the Act of Union to form the United Arab Emirates. The seventh emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, joined the UAE on 10 February 1972, following Iran's annexation of the RAK-claimed Tunbs islands. In 1973, Dubai joined the other emirates to adopt a uniform currency: the UAE Dirham. In that same year, the prior monetary union with Qatar was dissolved and the UAE Dirham was introduced throughout the Emirates.

During the 1970s, Dubai continued to grow from revenues generated from oil and trade, even as the city saw an influx of immigrants fleeing the Lebanese civil war. Border disputes between the emirates continued even after the formation of the UAE; it was only in 1979 that a formal compromise was reached that ended disagreements. The Jebel Ali port, a deep-water port that allowed larger ships to dock, was established in 1979. The port was not initially a success, so Sheikh Mohammed established the JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone) around the port in 1985 to provide foreign companies unrestricted import of labor and export capital. Dubai airport and the aviation industry also continued to grow.

The Gulf War of 1990 had a negative financial effect on the city, as depositors withdrew their money and traders withdrew their trade, but subsequently, the city recovered in a changing political climate and thrived. Later in the 1990s, many foreign trading communities—first from Kuwait, during the Gulf War, and later from Bahrain, during the Shia unrest—moved their businesses to Dubai.[56] Dubai provided refueling bases to allied forces at the Jebel Ali Free Zone during the Gulf War, and again during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Large increases in oil prices after the Gulf War encouraged Dubai to continue to focus on free trade and tourism.

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