Not long ago, Dubai was a small fishing village on the Persian Gulf surrounded by desert dunes. Then in 1966 it struck oil, and the boom was on. Dripping in excessive wealth and engineering bravado, the ever-growing city has completely transformed into a bustling modern metropolis in just a few decades. It boasts some of the tallest and most opulent buildings in the world, and has embarked on some of the most ambitious construction projects ever imagined. Check out some of these mind-blowing before and after images of Dubai’s colossal transformation.
Here are some interesting and surprising facts about Dubai:
The Economy Isn’t Driven by Oil
We all know Dubai is a wealthy nation, but it’s not all about oil. The oil industry accounts for just 6% of Dubai’s economy. Tourism and real estate are what really makes the money here.
Its Nickname is the “City of Gold”
About 40 percent of the world’s gold traded through Duba in 2013. The city has 800 jewelry shops, and the Gold Souq is the center of the gold trade. Some hotels are literally covered in gold leaf. They even have vending machines that dispense gold bars there.
There Are Over 20 Golf Courses in Dubai
Just because you’re in the desert doesn’t mean you can’t golf. It takes 4 million gallons of water per day to keep one golf course green.
Robot Jockeys Ride Camels
Camel racing is a popular sport in Dubai. Traditionally, small children rode atop the animals, but today kid-sized robots do the job.
The City Has Grown So Fast, the Mail System Can’t Keep Up
There is no standard address system, zip codes or area codes in Dubai. Its rapid growth happened faster than the postal system could handle. Most correspondence is sent to PO boxes or offices.
There Are A Lot of Expats in Dubai
Dubai’s population is around 2 million people, but only about 15 percent of them are Emirati citizens. The rest are expats and migrant workers from all around the globe. Many are Asians from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines brought in for construction labor. Western nationals make up a tenth of the population, enticed there by high-paying jobs. The wealth disparity among these various factions is shocking.
There is Low Crime in Dubai
The strict penalties of Muslim law make people mind the law here. Violent crime is rare, and the zero-tolerance drug policy is pretty effective. Foreign residents and tourists will be deported or imprisoned if they commit a crime, so it’s actually one of the safest cities in the world.
Dubai Likes to be the Biggest and Best
Dubai boasts the world’s tallest man made structure, the Burj Khalifa, which also houses the world’s highest restaurant, highest mosque, highest outdoor observation deck, highest nightclub. The airport’s Terminal 3 is the largest terminal anywhere. They have the world’s biggest mall which houses the largest aquarium anywhere. The tallest hotel on the planet, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, is the tallest hotel in the world. Dubai will spare no expense or extravagance to be the tops.
The Construction Boom Just Wont Quit
The recession put a pause on the construction boom a few years ago, but now it seems to be back on and more robust than ever. Construction cranes are everywhere.