United Arab Emirates
A silent splendor of the desert, the bright azure of the Persian Gulf and the magnificence of the Hajjar mountains wonderfully combine with the architectural creations of the modern civilization. Since ancient times the Arab lands were considered a symbol of success and prosperity, a center of merchandise and the world wide trade. Today United Arab Emirates offers the most fashionable resorts providing a truly royal holiday! The glittering skyscrapers, ultra-modern shopping malls, luxury hotels with stunning interior design and highest level of service will impress even the most sophisticated connoisseur of leisure.
The Emirates is a paradise for the gourmets! Virtuosos of the culinary art offer the taste of the best dishes of the worldwide cuisine. But to taste the oriental romance it’s better to be on board of the traditional «Dhow» cruise.
As the sports capital of the Middle East, United Arab Emirates welcome guests for the most prestigious sport events in the world. Especially honored here is “The Sport of Kings”. Here are held the most expensive equestrian competitions with a prize fund of over 15 million dollars. The Emirates also has an honorable place on the world map of golf offering unique opportunities for tourists who prefer to have a stay- active holiday. The capital of the U.A.E. was recognized as one of the best venues for Formula 1 racing.
Religion and Traditions
The state religion is Islam but here they are very respectful to Christianity as well. Keep in mind that the Sharia laws are quite strict and they are respected by all the Muslims, especially during the month of Ramadan. During the Muslim month of fasting you are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in public places before the sunset. This rule does not apply to tourists who eat during the daytime in their hotels.
The official language is Arabic. In business communication are also used English, Hindi, Farsi and Urdu. Almost in all hotels there is Russian speaking staff.
In the Emirates there isn’t transition to «summer» time, so in summer the time in the UAE is the same as in Moscow, while in winter- the difference with Moscow is + 1 hour.
About 5.1 million people, 25% only locals. The rest come from other countries in the Arab world, Europe, India and Southeast Asia. The local population enjoys considerable privileges and rights comparing to the visitors. The average life expectancy in the UAE according to the Ministry of Health is now 76 years for the women and 74 years- for the men. In 1968 the life expectancy of the Emaratis did not exceed 58 years.
The public sector works five days a week, from Sunday to Thursday, the weekend is Friday and Saturday. Many private companies work six days a week.
Dry, subtropical climate. The annual rainfall is less than 100 m. m. The water temperature rarely drops below 19 degrees Celsius. At the time when the Mediterranean holiday season ends, in the UAE- it just begins. The best time for holiday is from October to May, but thanks to the air-conditioning in the hotels and the cooling water in the swimming pools, you can relax perfectly even during the summer.
The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven independent emirates:
- Abu Dhabi
- Umm Al- Quwain
- Ras Al-Khaimah
Each of the emirates has its own ruler – a Sheikh, the state-level management is carried out by the Supreme Council. The total area of the country is 85,000 sq.km. On the north-west the country is bordered by Qatar, on the south- by Saudi Arabia and on the east- by the Sultanate of Oman. The coast is brushed by the waters of Persian and Oman Gulfs.
The U.A.E. currency is called Dirham. The exchange rate of Dirham to the US Dollar is 3.65 Dirhams for 1 US Dollar. 1Dirham = 100 fills. In circulation there are banknotes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 Dirhams. Also coins of lower denomination are in use- 1 Dirham, 50 and 25 fills.
The import and export of local and foreign currency is not restricted. The permitted duty-free import is up to 2,000 cigarettes or 400 cigars, meaning up to 2 kg of tobacco. Alcohol import: 2 liters of wine and 2 liters of spirits. The import of drugs, weapons, pornography, video products and books that are contradictory to Islam is prohibited.
In the UAE they celebrate both secular and religious (Muslim) holidays.
January 1 — New Year’s Eve
December 2 — National Day of the U.A.E. (since 1971)
Al- Hijra — The Islamic New Year
Ashura — The commemoration of the Prophets and Messengers of Allah
Mouloud — The birth of the Prophet
Leilat al-Meiraj – The ascension of the Prophet
Eid Al-Fitr – The Feast of breaking the fast (after the end of the fast), one of the two major Muslim holidays
Eid Al-Adha – The Feast of sacrifice, the biggest Islamic holiday
The dates of the religious holidays are determined by the lunar calendar.
We advise you to take in consideration the following rules:
- Gambling is banned in the country.
- Ladies should not wear revealing clothes and tan topless.
- Do not take pictures of local women, especially of those who are praying.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol leads to criminal liability.
- Do not refuse coffee or tea offered to you by an Arab.
- At the entrance to the mosque you should remove your shoes.
- It’s advisable to always carry a photocopy of your personal documents.
- Transporting alcohol from an emirate to another emirate is considered illegal.
There are restrictions for women younger than 25 years to enter the country. Israeli visas are no longer an obstacle to enter the UAE. A problem may occur only upon arriving in the emirate of Sharjah./li