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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Situated on the Arabian Peninsula between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, the United Arab Emirates are like a fairy-tale from the One Thousand And One Nights. In just a few years the region has been catapulted from the Middle Ages into the 21st century and 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. It 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.
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 86 percent of the United Arab Emirates and in the 1960s, 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. The oil boom has now been followed by tourism in this fairy-tale holiday paradise that is full of desert romance.