AskDefine | Define dubai

Dictionary Definition

Dubai n : port city in the United Arab Emirates on the Persian Gulf

Extensive Definition

Dubai (in , ) can either refer to one of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), or that emirate's main city, sometimes called "Dubai City" to distinguish it from the emirate.
The modern emirate of Dubai was created consequent with the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. However, written accounts documenting the existence of the city have existed at least 150 years prior to the formation of the UAE. Dubai shares legal, political, military and economic functions with the other emirates within a federal framework, although each emirate has jurisdiction over some functions such as civic law enforcement and provision and upkeep of local facilities. Dubai has the largest population and is the second largest emirate by area, after Abu Dhabi. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the only two emirates to possess veto power over critical matters of national importance in the country's legislature. Dubai has been ruled by the Al Maktoum dynasty since 1833. The emirates' current ruler, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is also the Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE.
A majority of the emirate's revenues are from trade, manufacturing and financial services. Revenues from petroleum and natural gas contribute less than 6% (2006) of Dubai's US$ 37 billion economy (2005). Dubai has attracted world-wide attention through innovative real estate projects and sports events. This increased attention, coinciding with its emergence as a world business hub, has also highlighted human rights issues concerning its largely foreign workforce.

Etymology

In the 1820s, Dubai was referred to as Al Wasl by British historians. However, few records pertaining to the cultural history of the UAE or its constituent emirates exist due to the region's vocal traditions in recording and passing down folklore and myth. The linguistic origins of the word Dubai are also in dispute, as some believe it to have originated from Persian, while some believe that Arabic is the linguistic root of the word. According to Fedel Handhal, researcher in the history and culture of the UAE, the word Dubai may have come from the word Daba (a derivative of Yadub), which means to creep; the word may be a reference to the flow of Dubai Creek inland.

History

Very little is known about pre-Islamic culture in the south-east Arabian peninsula, except that many ancient towns in the area were trading centers between the Eastern and Western worlds. The remnants of an ancient mangrove swamp, dated at 7,000 years, were discovered during the construction of sewer lines near Dubai Internet City. The area had been covered with sand about 5,000 years ago as the coastline retreated inland, becoming a part of the city's present coastline. Prior to Islam, the people in this region worshiped Bajir (or Bajar). The Byzantine and Sassanian empires constituted the great powers of the period, with the Sassanians controlling much of the region. After the spread of Islam in the region, the Umayyad Caliph, of the eastern Islamic world, invaded south-east Arabia and drove out the Sassanians. Excavations undertaken by the Dubai Museum in the region of Al-Jumayra (Jumeirah) indicate the existence of several artifacts from the Umayyad period. The earliest recorded mention of Dubai is in 1095, in the "Book of Geography" by the Spanish-Arab geographer Abu Abdullah al-Bakri. The Venetian pearl merchant Gaspero Balbi visited the area in 1580 and mentioned Dubai (Dibei) for its pearling industry.
In the early 19th century, the Al Abu Falasa clan (House of Al-Falasi) of Bani Yas clan established Dubai, which remained a dependent of Abu Dhabi until 1833. On 8 January 1820, the sheikh of Dubai and other sheikhs in the region signed the "General Maritime Peace Treaty" with the British government. However, the town's geographical location continued to attract traders and merchants from around the region. The emir of Dubai was keen to attract foreign traders and lowered trade tax brackets, which lured traders away from Sharjah and Bandar Lengeh, which were the region's main trade hubs at the time. Arbitration by the British and the creation of a buffer frontier running south eastwards from the coast at Ras Hasian resulted in a temporary cessation of hostilities. However, 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 hostilities and border disputes between the two states. Electricity, telephone services and an airport were established in Dubai in the 1950s, when the British moved their local administrative offices from Sharjah to Dubai. In 1966 the town joined the newly independent country of Qatar to set up a new monetary unit, the Qatar/Dubai Riyal, after the deflation of the Gulf rupee.
On 2 December 1971 Dubai, together with Abu Dhabi and five other emirates, formed the United Arab Emirates after former protector Britain left the Persian Gulf in 1971. In 1973, Dubai joined the other emirates to adopt a uniform currency: the UAE dirham. In the 1970s, Dubai continued to grow from revenues generated from oil and trade, even as the city saw an influx of Lebanese immigrants fleeing the civil war in Lebanon. The Jebel Ali Free Zone, comprising the Jebel Ali port (reputedly the world's largest man made port) was established in 1979, which provided foreign companies unrestricted import of labour and export capital.
The Persian Gulf War of 1990 had a huge impact on the city. Economically, Dubai banks experienced a massive withdrawal of funds due to uncertain political conditions in the region. During the course of the 1990s, however, many foreign trading communities — first from Kuwait, during the Persian Gulf War, and later from Bahrain, during the Shia unrest, moved their businesses to Dubai. The success of the Jebel Ali free zone allowed the city to replicate its model to develop clusters of new free zones, including Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Dubai Maritime City. The construction of Burj Al Arab, the world's tallest freestanding hotel, as well as the creation of new residential developments, were used to market Dubai for purposes of tourism. Since 2002, the city has seen an increase in private real estate investment in recreating Dubai's skyline

Geography

Dubai is situated on the Persian Gulf coast of the United Arab Emirates and is roughly at sea level ( above). The emirate of Dubai shares borders with Abu Dhabi in the south, Sharjah in the northeast, and the Sultanate of Oman in the southeast. Hatta, a minor exclave of the emirate, is surrounded on three sides by Oman and by the emirates of Ajman (in the west) and Ras Al Khaimah (in the north). The Persian Gulf borders the western coast of the emirate. Dubai is positioned at and covers an area of 4,114 km² (1,588 mi²).
Dubai lies directly within the Arabian Desert. However, the topography of Dubai is significantly different from that of the southern portion of the UAE in that much of Dubai's landscape is highlighted by sandy desert patterns, while gravel deserts dominate much of the southern region of the country. The sand consists mostly of crushed shell and coral and is fine, clean and white. East of the city, the salt-crusted coastal plans, known as sabkha, give way to a north-south running line of dunes. Farther east, the dunes grow larger and are tinged red with iron oxide. Experts also predict that the possibility of a tsunami in the region is also minimal because the Persian Gulf waters are not deep enough to trigger a tsunami. The mean humidity in Dubai is about 60% and is higher during the cooler winter months.

Governance and politics

Dubai's government operates within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, and has been ruled by the Al Maktoum family since 1833. The current ruler, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is also the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and member of the Supreme Council of the Union (SCU). Dubai appoints 8 members in two-term periods to the Federal National Council (FNC) of the UAE, the supreme federal legislative body. The Dubai Municipality (DM) was established by the then ruler of Dubai, Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum in 1954 for purposes of city planning, citizen services and upkeep of local facilities. DM is chaired by Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and comprises several departments such as the Roads Department, Planning and Survey Department, Environment and Public Health Department and Financial Affairs Department. In 2001, Dubai Municipality embarked on an e-Government project with the intention of providing 40 of its city services through its web portal (Dubai.ae). Thirteen such services were lauched by October 2001, while several other services were expected to be operational in the future.
Dubai and Ras al Khaimah are the only emirates that do not conform to the federal judicial system of the United Arab Emirates. The emirate's judicial courts comprise the Court of First Instance, the Court of Appeal, and the Court of Cassation. The Court of First Instance consists of the Civil court, which hears all civil claims, the Criminal Court, which hears claims originating from police complaints, and Sharia Court, which is responsible for matters between Muslims. Non-Muslims do not appear before the Sharia Court. The Court of Cassation is the apex court of the emirate and only hears disputes on matters of law. The Dubai Police Force, founded in 1956 in the locality of Naif, has law enforcement jurisdiction over the emirate; the force is under direct command of Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai.
Article 25 of the Constituion of the UAE provides for the equitable treatment of persons with regard to race, nationality, religious beliefs or social status. However, many of Dubai's 250,000 foreign laborers live in conditions described by Human Rights Watch as being "less than human." NPR reports that workers "typically live eight to a room, sending home a portion of their salary to their families, whom they don't see for years at a time." On 21 March 2006, workers at the construction site of Burj Dubai, upset over bus timings and working conditions, rioted: damaging cars, offices, computers, and construction tools. Judicial rulings in Dubai with regard to foreign nationals were brought to light by the alleged attempts to cover up information on the rape of Alexandre Robert, a 15 year old French-Swiss national, by three locals, one of whom was HIV positive and by the recent mass imprisonment of migrant laborers, most of whom were from India, on account of their protests against poor wages and living conditions. Prostitution, though illegal by law, is conspicuously present in the emirate because of an economy that is largely based on tourism and trade. Research conducted by the American Center for International Policy Studies (AMCIPS) found that Russian and Ethiopian women are the most common prostitutes, as well as women from some African countries, while Indian prostitutes are part of a well organized trans-Oceanic prostitution network. A 2007 PBS documentary entitled Dubai: Night Secrets reported that prostitution in clubs is tolerated by authorities and many foreign women work there without being coerced, attracted by the money.

Demographics

According to the census conducted by the Statistics Center of Dubai, the population of the emirate was 1,422,000 as of 2006, which included 1,073,000 males and 349,000 females. As of 1998, 17% of the population of the emirate was made up of UAE nationals. Approximately 85% of the expatriate population (and 71% of the emirate's total population) was Asian, chiefly Indian (51%), Pakistani (16%), Bangladeshi (9%) and Filipino (3%). In addition, 16% of the population (or 288,000 persons) lived in collective labour accommodation were not identified by ethnicity or nationality, but were thought to be primarily Asian. The median age in the emirate was about 27 years. The crude birth rate, as of 2005, was 13.6%, while the crude death rate was about 1%.
Although Arabic is the official language of Dubai, English, Hindi, Malayalam, Persian, Urdu, Tagalog and others are widely spoken.
Article 7 of the UAE's Provisional Constitution declares Islam the official state religion of the UAE. The government subsidizes almost 95 percent of mosques and employs all imams; approximately 5 percent of mosques are entirely private, and several large mosques have large private endowments.
Dubai has large Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh and other religious communities. Non-Muslim groups can own their own houses of worship, where they can practice their religion freely, by requesting a land grant and permission to build a compound. Groups that do not have their own buildings must use the facilities of other religious organisations or worship in private homes. Non-Muslim religious groups are permitted to openly advertise group functions; however, proselytizing or distributing religious literature is strictly prohibited under penalty of criminal prosecution, imprisonment, and deportation for engaging in behaviour offensive to Islam. revenues from oil and natural gas currently account for less than 6% of the emirate's revenues. Trade (16%), entrepôt (15%) and financial services (11%) are the largest contributors to Dubai's economy. Dubai's top re-exporting countries include Iran (US$ 790 million), India (US$ 204 million) and Saudi Arabia (US$ 194 million). The emirate's top importing countries are Japan (US$ 1.5 billion), China (US$ 1.4 billion) and the United States (US$ 1.4 billion). of gold ingots to India, where gold import was restricted. In a recent research, the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index™, Dubai was named as one of the world’s top 50 cities that are the hubs of the new worldwide economy. Dubai’s ranking positions the city as a leader in the Middle East, offering a strong business climate that supports further development. http://www.mastercard.com/us/company/en/wcoc/
Dubai is considered to be an important tourist destination and its port, Jebel Ali, constructed in the 1970s, has the largest man-made harbor in the world. Dubai is also increasingly developing as a hub for service industries such as IT and finance, with the establishment of a new Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The government has set up industry-specific free zones throughout the city. Dubai Internet City, combined with Dubai Media City as part of TECOM (Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media Free Zone Authority) is one such enclave whose members include IT firms such as EMC Corporation, Oracle Corporation, Microsoft, and IBM, and media organisations such as MBC, CNN, Reuters and AP.
The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) was established in March 2000 as a secondary market for trading securities and bonds, both local and foreign. As of Q4 2006, its trading volume stood at about 400 billion shares worth US$ 95 billion. The DFM had a market capitalization of about US$ 87 billion.

Transportation

Dubai International Airport (IATA: DXB), the hub for Emirates Airline, services the city of Dubai and other emirates in the country. The airport served a total of over 34 million passengers and over 260,000 flights in 2007. The Dubai International Airport ranked 17th among international airports for total cargo traffic in 2006. A third terminal and a new concourse are currently under construction and are both due to open in mid-2008. The new terminal will be dedicated to Emirates Airline and will fully support the new Airbus A380. The development of Dubai World Central International Airport, currently under construction in Jebel Ali, was announced in 2004. The first phase is expected to be completed by 2008, and once operational the new airport will host foreign airlines. Emirates (both the passenger and cargo operations) will remain in Dubai International Airport.
Dubai has a large bus system that services 69 routes and transported over about 90 million people in 2006. The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) announced in 2006 that an additional 620 new buses will be added to its fleet of 170 double decker buses. Although the main mode of transportation in Dubai is by private vehicle, Dubai also has an extensive taxi system.
A $3.89 billion Dubai Metro project is under construction for the emirate. The Metro system is expected to be partially operational by 2009 and fully operational by 2012. The metro will comprise two lines: the Green Line from Al Rashidiya to the main city center and the Red Line from the airport to Jebel Ali. The Dubai Metro (Green and Blue Lines) will have 70 kilometers of track and 43 stations, 33 above ground and ten underground. One of the more traditional methods of getting across Bur Dubai to Deira is through abras, small boats that ferry passengers across the Dubai Creek, between abra stations in Bastakiya and Baniyas Road.
In July 2007, the Salik road toll network was installed on Sheikh Zayed Road and on Al Garhoud bridge; the tolling stations are fully automated and collect toll of AED 4 (US$ 1.08) per transit.

Culture

Dubai has a diverse and multicultural society. The city's cultural imprint as a small, ethnically homogenous pearling community was changed with the arrival of other ethnic groups and nationals — first by the Iranians in the early 1900s, and later by Indians and Pakistanis in the 1960s. Despite the diversity of the population, only minor and infrequent episodes of ethnic tensions, primarily between expatriates, have been reported in the city. In 1994, Hindu and Muslim labourers clashed over the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India, which resulted in the detainment and deportation of hundreds of Indian and Pakistani workers . Major holidays in Dubai include Eid al Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, and National Day (December 2), which marks the formation of the United Arab Emirates. Annual entertainment events such as the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) and Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) attract over 4 million visitors from across the region and generate revenues in excess of US$ one billion . Large shopping malls in the city, such as Deira City Centre, BurJuman, Mall of the Emirates and Ibn Battuta Mall as well as traditional souks attract shoppers from the region.
The diversity of cuisine in Dubai is a reflection of the cosmopolitan nature of the society. Arab food is very popular and is available everywhere in the city, from the small shawarma diners in Deira and Al Karama to the upscale restaurants in Dubai's many hotels. Fast food, South Asian, Chinese cuisines are also very popular and are widely available. The sale and consumption of pork, though not illegal, is regulated and is sold only to non-Muslims, in designated areas. Similarly, the sale of alcoholic beverages is regulated. A liquor permit is required to purchase alcohol; however, alcohol is available in bars and restaurants within four or five star hotels. Shisha and qahwa boutiques are also popular in Dubai.
Hollywood and Bollywood movies are popular in Dubai. The city hosts the annual Dubai International Film Festival, which attracts celebrities from Arab and International cinema. Dubai has an active music scene, with musicians Amr Diab, Diana Haddad, Tarkan, Aerosmith, Santana, Elton John, Pink, Shakira, Celine Dion and Phil Collins having performed in the city. Madonna is rumored to play live in November for ₤7.5 million.
Football and cricket are the most popular sports in Dubai. Five teams — Al Wasl, Al-Shabab, Al-Ahli, Al Nasr and Hatta — represent Dubai in UAE League football. Current champions Al-Wasl have the second-most number of championships in the UAE League, after Al Ain. Cricket is followed by Dubai's large South Asian community and in 2005, the International Cricket Council (ICC) moved its headquarters from London to Dubai. The city has hosted several India-Pakistan matches and two new grass gounds are being developed in Dubai Sports City. Dubai also hosts both the annual Dubai Tennis Championships and The Legends Rock Dubai tennis tournaments, as well as the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament, all of which attract sports stars from around the world. The Dubai World Cup, a thoroughbred horse race, is held annually at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse.
Dubai is known for its nightlife. Clubs and bars are found mostly in hotels due to the liquor laws. The New York Times listed Dubai as its travel choice for partying in 2008.

Education

The school system in Dubai does not differ from that of the United Arab Emirates. As of 2006, there are 88 public schools run by the Ministry of Education that serve Emiratis and expatriate Arabs as well as 132 private schools. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) was established in 2006 to develop education and human resource sectors in Dubai, and license educational institutes.
Approximately 10% of the population has university or postgraduate degrees. Many expatriates tend to send their children back to their home country or to Western countries for university education and even to India for technology studies. However, a sizable number of foreign accredited universities have been set up in the city over the last ten years. Some of these universities include the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani), Heriot-Watt University Dubai, American University in Dubai (AUD), the American College of Dubai, SP Jain Center Of Management, University of Wollongong in Dubai and Institute of Management Technology, Dubai. In 2004, the Dubai School of Government in collaboration with Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Medical School Dubai Center (HMSDC) were established in Dubai.

Media

Dubai has a well established network of print, radio, television and electronic media which service the city. Multiple international channels available through cable, while satellite, radio and local channels are provided via the Arabian Radio Network and Dubai Media Incorporated systems. Many international news agencies such as Reuters, APTN and MBC and network news channels operated out of Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City. Additionally, several local network television channels such as Dubai One (formerly Channel 33), EDTV and Dubai TV provide programming in English and Arabic. Dubai-based FM stations such as Dubai FM (93.9), Dubai92 (92.0), Al Khaleejia (100.9) and Hit FM (96.7) provide programming in English, Arabic and South Asian languages. Dubai is also the headquarters for several print media outlets. Al Khaleej, Al Bayan and Al Ittihad are the city's largest circulating Arabic language newspapers, while Gulf News and Khaleej Times are the largest circulating English newspapers.
Etisalat, the government owned telecommunications provider held a virtual monopoly over telecommunication services in Dubai prior to the establishment of other, smaller telelcommunications companies such as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC — better known as Du) in 2006. Internet was introduced into the UAE (and therefore Dubai) in 1995. The current network is supported by a bandwidth of 6 GB, with 50,000 dialup and 150,000 broadband ports. Dubai houses two of four DNS data centers in the country (DXBNIC1, DXBNIC2). Internet content is regulated in Dubai. Etisalat uses a proxy server to filter internet content that is deemed to be inconsistent with the values of the country, that provides information on bypassing the proxy, dating, gay and lesbian networks, sites pertaining to the Bahá'í faith, and sites originating from Israel. Additionally, VoIP services such as Skype that challenge Etisalat's monopoly over international calling as well as multimedia sharing and social networking websites such as Flickr, Lastfm, Hi5 and Orkut are blocked.

External links

sisterlinks Dubai
dubai in Arabic: إمارة دبي
dubai in Franco-Provençal: Doubayi
dubai in Azerbaijani: Dubay
dubai in Bengali: দুবাই
dubai in Central Bicolano: Dubai
dubai in Bosnian: Dubai
dubai in Bulgarian: Дубай
dubai in Catalan: Dubai
dubai in Czech: Dubaj
dubai in Danish: Dubai
dubai in German: Dubai
dubai in Estonian: Dubai emiraat
dubai in Spanish: Dubái
dubai in Esperanto: Dubajo
dubai in Basque: Dubai
dubai in Persian: دبی
dubai in French: Dubaï
dubai in Galician: Dubai
dubai in Korean: 두바이
dubai in Hindi: दुबई
dubai in Croatian: Dubai
dubai in Ido: Dubai
dubai in Indonesian: Dubai
dubai in Icelandic: Dúbæ
dubai in Italian: Dubai
dubai in Hebrew: דובאי
dubai in Swahili (macrolanguage): Dubai
dubai in Luxembourgish: Dubai
dubai in Lithuanian: Dubajus
dubai in Hungarian: Dubaj
dubai in Malayalam: ദുബൈ
dubai in Marathi: दुबई
dubai in Malay (macrolanguage): Dubai
dubai in Japanese: ドバイ
dubai in Norwegian: Dubai
dubai in Norwegian Nynorsk: Dubai
dubai in Occitan (post 1500): Dubai
dubai in Piemontese: Dubai
dubai in Polish: Dubaj
dubai in Portuguese: Dubai
dubai in Romanian: Dubai
dubai in Russian: Дубай (эмират)
dubai in Simple English: Dubai
dubai in Slovenian: Dubaj
dubai in Serbian: Дубаи
dubai in Finnish: Dubai
dubai in Swedish: Dubai
dubai in Tagalog: Dubai
dubai in Tamil: துபாய்
dubai in Telugu: దుబాయ్
dubai in Thai: ดูไบ
dubai in Vietnamese: Dubai
dubai in Turkish: Dubai
dubai in Urdu: دبئی
dubai in Contenese: 杜拜
dubai in Dimli: Dubai
dubai in Chinese: 杜拜
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