Situated on the Arabian Peninsula between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, the United Arab Emirates is a fairy-tale of the 'One Thousand and One Nights'. In just a relatively few years, the region has been catapulted from the Middle Ages into the 21st century and it is now an international financial centre within an ancient desert region. It contains seven sheikdoms that are united both politically and economically.
Dubai is a wonderful holiday paradise with a romantic desert and a long history in which the past unites with the present. Dubai is the second largest state in the United Arab Emirates and is situated on the north coast of the Arabian Peninsula.
Fifteen kilometres from Dubai is the tiny Emirate of Sharjah where life continues according to age-old Arabian tradition. Tourism was once popular on this former pirate coast but the Saudi king subsequently prohibited the consumption of alcohol and thus the tourists stayed away.
On the western side of the Hajar Mountains an oasis village developed that contains more than two hundred springs and wells. The oasis was once frequently occupied by Saudi Arabia but in 1974 the International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled against the Saudi occupation. Today, Oman and the United Arab Emirates share the nine oasis villages of the Buraimi Oasis and live together in peace.
Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven Emirates and means 'Father of the Gazelle', a name derived from an ancient legend. The 73,000 square kilometres of the Abu Dhabi region cover eighty-six percent of the United Arab Emirates and in the 1960ís the city had a population of 5,000 that has now grown to almost a million.
As the oil supplies gradually trickle away the sheiks are becoming increasingly cautious with their spending and the oil boom has now been followed by tourism in this fairy-tale holiday paradise that is full of desert romance.