The emirate of Dubai was a tiny settlement in the desert 50 years ago. Most of us are familiar with its stunning transformation from a quaint fishing village to a vibrant luxury metropolis. But apart from this metamorphosis, there is far more to the emirate than meets the eye.
For example, did you know that the Palm Jumeirah can be seen from space? Want to know more unique things about Dubai? Here are some unusual Dubai facts to wow everyone with.
Dubai History Facts
The emirate wasn’t always the impressive metropolis that it is today. A look at some interesting facts about the history of Dubai can shed more light on its meteoric rise:
- The first settlement came to present-day Dubai in 3000 BC. To put this into perspective, this was reportedly the same century that the Stonehenge was being constructed!
- Dubai was under the regime of the Sassanids dynasty until the 7th century
- Until the 1700s, the city’s economy depended on pearling and fishing. The city’s pearl exports were traded in places as far as Rome and Venice
- Dubai became independent of Abu Dhabi in 1833
- In 1894, Indian and Pakistani traders were invited to settle in the city and were granted tax exemptions as an incentive. This resulted in a huge influx of expats which ultimately upgraded Dubai’s economy at a time when the city relied mostly on fishing and pearl diving
- Dubai cemented its status amongst the most progressive cities in the world after it discovered oil in 1966 and made its first oil shipment in 1969.
- Other than Abu Dhabi, Dubai has veto power to decide on matters of national significance.
Facts about Dubai Architecture
Dubai has no shortage of architectural wonders. From the iconic Burj Al Arab to the Palm Jumeirah, here are some amazing Dubai facts about the city’s buildings.
Over 1,700 sq.mt. of the Burj Al Arab is decorated with pure gold which is enough to cover more than 46,000 Mona Lisa paintings
Almost 1,790 sq.mt. of 24-carat gold leaf was used to embellish the interiors of the Burj Al Arab. This is enough to cover more than 46,000 Mona Lisa paintings!
39% of the Burj Al Arab is uninhabitable
The 7-star Burj Al Arab is one of the tallest hotels in the world. However, a whopping 39% of its structure has been designed purely for aesthetic appeal and does not have accommodation facilities.
Burj Khalifa’s elevators move at 10 metres per second
The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is much more than the tallest building in the world. It’s an impressive engineering marvel which never fails to impress. Consider the fact that it takes only a minute for the elevator to reach the observation deck on the 124th floor of the building, making it one of the fastest elevators in the world!
Burj Khalifa is so tall that some residents have to wait longer to break their fast
The 200 plus-storey Burj Khalifa is half a mile tall and has many apartments. Residents who live on or above the 150th floor, therefore, can see the sun for longer. Consequently, Muslim residents cannot break their fast at the same time as the rest of the people in the city during the holy month of Ramadan!
Dubai’s artificial Palm Jumeirah islands used enough sand to fill 2.5 Empire State buildings
Over 94 million cubic metres of sand went into the creation of the city’s reputed Palm Jumeirah islands. In comparison, only 37 million cubic metres went into the Empire State Building!
Palm Jumeirah is visible from space
Palm Jumeirah is the world’s largest man-made archipelago. It’s so large that it can be seen from space. The entire area covers 5.27 sq.m. which is roughly equal to the size of 600 football stadiums put together. Moreover, the fact that it took only six years to create is a marvel in itself.
Dubai had no zip codes or a postal system until recently
Dubai never established a standard address system due to the speed at which it grew. The closest it got to identifying buildings was to assign each of them Makani numbers (unique 10-digit codes). This didn’t happen until 2015.
Dubai is home to the largest vertical maze
This is one of the more amazing Dubai facts you probably didn’t know of. Al Rostamani Group Maze Tower in Dubai holds the record for the largest vertical maze. The 55-storey building is located in the Dubai Financial District and has a massive surface area of 3,947 sq.mt. Its maze-like structure was achieved through an intricate line of balconies that are shaped like the puzzle.
Check out this list of Dubai’s world records for more of the emirate’s exciting achievements.
Other interesting facts about Dubai
The Dubai Police’s fleet of cars is truly impressive
A fleet of police supercars may sound outlandish but it seems to fit perfectly with the image of Dubai. Dubai Police cars include models from snazzy brands like Aston Martin ($1.87M), Ferrari FF ($624k), Lamborghini Aventador ($421k) and others.
They also hold the record for fastest police car, the Bugatti Veyron, which was purchased for a cool $1.6M.
Dubai produces enough oil to fill 4.4 Olympic-sized swimming pools
The city produces around 50,000 to 70,000 of oil per day, enough to fill 4.4 Olympic swimming pools.
There were only 13 cars registered in Dubai in 1968
Today, there are more than two million cars registered in the emirate, quite a sizeable difference from the mere 13 in 1968!
There are ATMs that dispense gold bars in Dubai
Tax exemptions make it cheaper to buy gold in Dubai than anywhere else, as buyers are only required to pay for the value of the gold items they buy. To make it even easier to purchase the valuable commodity, the UAE has introduced gold dispensing ATMs. There are two gold ATMs in Dubai, one at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah and the other in the Atlantis Hotel.
Dubai uses robots as camel racers
Dubai’s traditional sport is camel racing. For humane reasons, the city has long since eliminated the practice of using children as jockeys by replacing them with robots.
The cost of fuel and water is roughly the same
The price per litre for petrol and water are around AED 2! In fact, if you end up ordering imported water at a fine dining restaurant, it can go up to even AED 20!
In Dubai foreigners outnumber locals by almost 85%
A large part of Dubai’s population is dominated by expats. Emiratis make up only about 12-13% of the total population of this highly welcoming, cosmopolitan state.
The oil and gas industry makes up less than 5% of the city’s revenue
While there is a popular perception that Dubai is an oil-rich state, the largest contributors to Dubai’s economy are trade, tourism, real estate and the construction industry. Oil and gas make up a smaller portion of the total revenue.
That’s a wrap of our interesting Dubai facts. Do you know of any other unique and strange facts about Dubai that we may have missed out? Tell us in the comments below.
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