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United Arab Emirates: modern cities, desert and petroleum

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United Arab Emirates (Al-Imārāt al-‘Arabīya al-Muttahida), are hereditary absolute monarchies, is a federation of seven emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al Qaiwain, Ras al Khaimah and Fujayrah) situated in the Arabian peninsula, which border on the east with Oman, to the south and west with Saudi Arabia and to the north are washed from the Persian Gulf and to the north-east by the Gulf of Oman.

Crossed by the Tropic of Cancer, the area is almost entirely made up of a flat sandy desert, while the coast, dotted with islands, is almost everywhere low and sandy.


The only mountains are the mountains of Al-Hajar that are located along the border with Oman, they rise up to an altitude of over 1.000 meters, touching the highest point with the Jabal Yibir mountain (1.527 meters).

The oases produced dates, tomatoes and citrus fruits, it also practiced the breeding of sheep, goats, camels and cattle, along the coast fisheries has a discreet importance, including that of pearls.

The main economic resource is oil, extracted from many field and coastal submarine deposits, there are also important deposits of natural gas. The 70% of the oil is extracted from Abu Dhabi, 25% from Dubai and the remainder from Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah.

As regards industrial activities, the country has oil refining plants, chemical, metallurgical, mechanical and cement industries. The Emirates are also becoming an important financial center of the Persian Gulf area. Finally, tourism is also constantly growing. This in particular thanks to the shrewd and far-sighted local policy that has led, for example, the city of Dubai to become the main tourist destination in the Middle East.

The official portal of the United Arab Emirates government.

  • Area: 83.600 sqkm. (Arable 3%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 97%)
  • Population: 4.400.000 (2007 data) (Emirates Arabs 15%, emigrants 85%)
  • State Capital: Abu Dhabi.
  • Languages: Official Arabic. Spoken also English, Urdu, Hindi and Persian.
  • Religion: Muslim. The emigrants are Muslim 55%, Hindu 25%, Christian 10%, Buddhist 5%.
  • Currency: UAE dirham (AED)
  • Time: UTC +4 hours.

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