United Arab Emirates: Attractions and Landmarks  cover

United Arab Emirates: Attractions and Landmarks


Arab countries keep the wondrous spirit of One Thousand and One Nights alive - and none do it better than The United Arab Emirates.
This small country surprises the whole world with the realization of incredible ambitions. Cities of Emirates, especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi serve as showcases of latest achievements in engineering and architecture.

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United Arab Emirates: Attractions and Landmarks

United Arab Emirates

Arab countries keep the wondrous spirit of One Thousand and One Nights alive - and none does it better than The United Arab Emirates.

This small country surprises the whole world with the realization of incredible ambitions. Cities of Emirates, especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi serve as showcases of latest achievements in engineering and architecture.

High-rise Buildings Pierce the Clouds

High-rise Buildings Pierce the Clouds

Highrises Along The Sheikh Zayed Road In Dubai


(CC BY 2.0)

United Arab Emirates (cont.)

Visitors easily may get carried away with the landmarks of modern times - but The United Arab Emirates is much more than this.

The country has a diverse archaeological heritage and, happily, the rich Pre-Islamic heritage is not neglected. The oldest known human settlement outside of Africa is found in Emirates along with prehistoric trade cities and even a stray outpost of early Christianity: a monastery and church on Sir Bani Yas island.

Natural Landmarks

Natural Landmarks

Mangrove Forest In Bu Tinah

Image by Aenaon

Natural Landmarks (cont.)

-Al Wurayah Falls (Al-Vurraya) - Fujairah. Picturesque falls in the exotic Wadi Al Wurayah canyon, partly fed by springs.

-Bu Tinah - Abu Dhabi. Coral reef and seagrass beds. Site contains one of the few natural forests in United Arab Emirates - a natural mangrove grove. Waters of this reef are very rich with sea life, including the world's second largest population of dugongs - some 600 animals.

-Magharet Qasir Hafeet - Abu Dhabi, Jebel Hafeet. 450 m long cave, up to 96 m deep. Adorned with flowstones, stalagmites and other cave formations.

Natural Landmarks (cont.)

-Masafi Falls - Fujairah. Waterfall formed by a spring that flows into Wadi Siji.

-Moreeb Dune - Abu Dhabi. One of the largest sand dunes in the world, 120 m tall, with a steep 50-degree slope.

-Umm Al Nar fossil finds - Abu Dhabi. Archaeological find of very unusual bird, the Bennu heron (Ardea bennuides), a giant heron that went extinct during the times of prehistoric Mesopotamian civilizations (2500 to 2000 BC). This bird was larger than people

Man Made Landmarks

Ancient and prehistoric settlements

-Al-Dour (Ed-Dur) - Umm Al Quwain. Remnants of a once large trading port that operated in 200 BC - 200 AD. Thousands of graves as well as a small fort with round towers along with the temple of Semitic god Shamash.

-Fayah (Jebel Faya) - Sharjah. World's oldest known settlement of modern humans outside of Africa inhabited from the Middle Paleolithic (125 thousand year old stone tools found at the site) till the 18th century. Contains a Neolithic tomb and a group of tombs from the 4th century BC.

Man Made Landmarks (cont.)

-Mleiha - Sharjah. Settlement from the late Iron Age, abandoned circa 4th century AD. Contains ruins of a fort and some other buildings, monumental tombs

(including one Bronze Age tomb from the 3rd millenium BC. City had market districts where ancient inscriptions with Aramaic and Musnad (South Arabian) writing have been found.

-Umm an-Nar - Abu Dhabi. Ruins of ancient settlement and necropolis with hundreds of characteristic beehive tombs. This fishing and trading port was inhabited in 2600 to 2000 BC.

Other Archaeological Landmarks

-Hafeet graves (Mezyad graves) - Abu Dhabi. Group of more than 500 prehistoric graves - circular buildings (beehive tombs), constructed in the Bronze Age, 3200 to 2700 BC.

The largest structures are 4 m high.

Hili Grand Tomb - Abu Dhabi. Reconstructed grave with a circular tower (beehive tomb) with a diametre of 12 m.

-Petroglyph sites in Dadnah, Hassat al-Risoom, Wadi Al-Hayl, Wadi Al-Shanah, Wadi Saham, Wadi Wurayah - Fujairah. Important sites with prehistoric cliff etchings, for most part depicting animals, humans.

Urban Planning

Urban Planning

Palm Jumeirah With Dubai In The Background

Nico Crisafulli

(CC BY 2.0)

Urban Planning (cont.)

-Al Shindagha - Dubai. Large district containing hundreds of historical houses. Rulers of Dubai lived here in the first half of the 20th century.

-Bastakia - Dubai. Possibly the best-preserved part of old Dubai. Historical part of the city with the characteristic causeways, wind towers and other architecture forms from the late 19th - early 20th century, developed by Persian merchants.

-Masdar City - Abu Dhabi. Planned city that relies entirely upon renewable energy and creates no pollution. City will serve as a clean technology development centre. Buildings in the city have unusual, innovative design.

Urban Planning (cont.)

-Palm Jumeirah - Dubai. World's largest man made archipelago, with a 520 km long coastline, mostly covered with villas.

This group of islands forms a 5 by 5 km sized shape of a palm tree and is connected to the mainland with monorail. Similar projects include Palm Jebel Ali - 50% larger that Palm Jumeirah, and The World – a group of artificial islands forming a world map.

-Sheikh Zayed Road - Dubai. City highway with one of most impressive displays of super tall skyscrapers in the world.

Fortifications, Castles

Fortifications, Castles

Qasr Al-Hosn In Abu Dhabi

Image by Xander Veldhuijzen

(CC BY-SA 2.5)

Fortifications, Castles (cont.)

-Al Fahidi Fort - Dubai. Oldest existing building in Dubai, built in 1787 - 1799.

-Al Heil Castle - Fujairah. Picturesque castle near mountains, former headquarters of the local ruler, constructed in 1735.

-Fujairah Fort - Fujairah. Massive castle, built in 1670 from mud brick. Fully renovated in 2000.

-Qasr Al-Hosn - Abu Dhabi. Fort, the oldest stone building in Abu Dhabi. Watchtower was built circa 1761, expanded into fort in the late 18th century, when it became a residence of sheikh.

-Umm Al Quwain Fort - Umm Al Quwain. Old fort which guarded the entrance in Umm Al Quwain. Now serves as a museum.

-Al Badiyah Mosque, United Arab Emirates



Al Badiyah Mosque

Image by سبأ

(CC BY-SA 3.0)

Mosques (cont.)

-Al Badiyah Mosque (Al Bidyah) - Fujairah. Oldest known mosque in the United Arab Emirates. Time of the construction is unknown, but it was built in the 15th century (1446 AD?) or earlier.

It is a small but sophisticated structure with four domes, and still in operation.

-Juma Mosque (Hatta) - Dubai. Old mosque, built in 1780.

-Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Abu Dhabi. Eighth largest mosque in the world, built in 2007 as one of the most beautiful religious structures in the modern world.

Building has 82 domes rising up to 85 m high. Tallest minaret is 107 m high. White color dominates the design, very impressive is the floral design of marble courtyard.

Modern Structures

Modern Structures

Burj Al Arab


(CC BY 2.0)

Modern Structures (cont.)

-Burj al Arab - Dubai. Landmark building - sail-formed skyscraper hotel, built in 1999. Building is located on man made island and is 321 m tall, with 60 floors. Impressive is the 180 m tall atrium lobby. One of the most expensive hotels in the world.

-Burj Khalifa - Dubai. World's tallest building, 829.8 m tall skyscraper with 163 floors. Built in 2010 and expected to hold 35,000 people at any time.

-Capital Gate - Abu Dhabi. Unique, inclined skyscraper with 18-degree incline. 160 m high, 35 stories, constructed in 2011. The furthest leaning tower in the world.

Modern Structures (cont.)

-Emirates Palace - Abu Dhabi. One of most luxurious hotels in the world, built in 2006. Many rooms are furnished with gold and marble.

Other structures

-Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House - Dubai. Historical house in Dubai, built circa 1894 as the seat of Al Maktoum family. Now the building serves as a museum.

-Sir Bani Yas monastery - Abu Dhabi. Ruins of Christian Nestorian monastery, in used from 600 AD to circa 750 AD. Includes 7th century Christian church.