Dubai is known as the 'Pearl of the Arabian Gulf' and spans 3885 km² – 5% of the total land area of The United Arab Emirates excluding the islands.
The modern emirate of Dubai was created with the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. However, written accounts documenting the existence of the city have existed at least 150 years prior to the formation of the UAE.
Dubai shares legal, political, military and economic functions with the other emirates within a federal framework, although each emirate has jurisdiction over some functions such as civic law enforcement and provision and upkeep of local facilities. Dubai has the largest population and is the second largest emirate by area, after Abu Dhabi.
Today, Dubai is one of the few cities in the world that has undergone such a rapid transformation - from a humble beginning as a pearl-diving centre - to one of the fastest growing cities on earth. Dubai’s tourism, trade and logistics hub has earned itself the reputation of being the ‘gateway between the east and the west.’ It is also considered as the dynamic nucleus of the Arabian Gulf region.
Dubai has recently attracted world attention through many innovative large construction projects and sports events including Dubai World Cup, Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to name a few.
Dubai's attractiveness not only lies in its trade. Like the rest of the U.A.E., it has also been actively promoted as a tourist destination. Today there are several landmarks that have become global icons. The Burj Al Arab Hotel - the only one in the 7-Star category globally, the world's tallest tower - The Burj Khalifa, located in downtown Dubai, the world's biggest shopping centre - The Dubai Mall, the World - a set of man-made islands that are shaped like countries, the three Palm developments, the list goes on. Dubai is without a doubt a destination of the 21st century. This meteoric growth has not gone unnoticed, and each year thousands of expats arrive to claim a slice of the action.
In addition, the country’s deep-rooted cultural heritage has been a powerful attraction for tourists. Dubai has also become a much sought-after venue for conferences, regional and international exhibitions and hosts a range of popular annual sporting activities and entertainment attractions.