Dubai is the second largest of the United Arab Emirates, after neighbouring Abu Dhabi. It is located on the Persian Gulf, between Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
To differentiate it from the emirate, the main city is sometimes known as Dubai City. Dubai is divided into nine sectors, and each of these is subdivided into communities. There are 132 communities, the borders of which are major roads. Dubai city is divided in two by the Creek, an inlet from the gulf that bisects the centre of the city. Around the Creek are some of the oldest parts of the town, and it is a fascinating mixture of ancient and modern. North of the Creek, the Deira area houses the spice, fish and gold souks. On the south side of the Creek is Bur Dubai, an area with a strong Indian influence. Many expatriates live in the Jumeirah area, where there is a good choice of international schools and high quality accommodation.
The city is one of the fastest growing in the world and major construction projects constantly add to it's impressive array of skyscrapers and high-tech buildings. The city's evolution from a collection of Bedouin settlements around the creek, to a modern city with over 500 skyscrapers and has been dramatic. The rulers of Dubai have taken their responsibilities for development seriously, resulting in a well-managed and carefully thought out city, designed to meet every modern need.
Dubai is unusual, in that it's population consists mainly of expatriates, the majority of whom come from south and South East Asia. UAE nationals are in a minority, at just 20% of the total population. There are some 100,000 Western European expatriates in Dubai, many of them British.
Dubai is one of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. The other members are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Umm al-Qaiwa and Ras Al Khaimah. The UAE is a country in it's own right, located between Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The country borders the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, giving it great strategic importance in the transport of crude oil.
90% of the country is desert, with mountains in the east. The land mass of the UAE totals some 77000 km2.
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