The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven states that has grown from a quiet backwater to one of the Middle East’s most important economic centres. Though traditionally conservative, the UAE is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf, with other cultures and beliefs generally tolerated. Politically it remains authoritarian, however. Relations with neighbouring Iran have been tense because of an ongoing territorial dispute over Gulf islands. The UAE was one of only three countries to recognise Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Before oil was discovered in the 1950s the UAE’s economy was dependent on fishing and a declining pearl industry. But since oil exports began in 1962, the country’s society and economy have been transformed.

Dubai is one of the seven emirates the form part of the United Arab Emirates. It is located in an arid area surrounded by desserts, but also has exotic beaches, allowing it to be one of the major tourist attractions in the region.

Dubai culture centers around the Muslim religion, because about the entire population is Muslim and a small portion of Christians. The main event of the year is the festival of Ramadan is the Muslim celebration of the truth of the holy Quran. Other common festivals that take place in Dubai are the shopping festival and the international film festival. There is also a great cultural diversity with an Asian influence in schools, restaurants and cultural centers.

The economy in Dubai is made up of the oil and natural gas, estimated that Dubai produces 240 000 barrels of oil a day. It is also very important tourist participation, because Dubai is currently one of the most preferred tourist destinations in the world, excessive and lavish architecture has established itself as one of the most renowned cities of the Middle East and the world.

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