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Dubai culture and specifics of the city

By Diana Wills Published 12/14/2007 | Travel

In the past, many westerners were weary of visiting Dubai due to its strict Muslim laws and customs. The Dubai of today is both liberal and tolerant and provided that tourists are respectful of local traditions, Emirate citizens will be willing to overlook and forgive any indiscretion occurring as a result of ignorance. General guidelines include dressing modestly in public, only consuming alcohol in designated areas and being considerate of local religious practices. Keep in mind that non-Muslims are typically not allowed into mosques under any circumstances, so avoid wondering into any no matter how great the temptation may be. Those expressing an interesting in Islamic religious practices are entitled to scheduled, guided tours of the Jumeriah Mosque, which is explicitly the only exception to the former rule.

Dubai culture today is very different from what it used to be a decade or two ago. The narrow widening creek divides the city into two parts, the Southern part called Bur Dubai has a traditional culture in Dubai and the Northern area, Deira is more business center with big amount of buildings, factories, hotels and different Dubai property and thats why Deira has a busy and bustling culture. The Al Shindagha tunnel which runs under the creek connects the two halves of the city.

The Dubai culture is a cosmopolitan one. With the influx of great number of foreign population which includes, Persians, Indians, Baluchis etc, the culture in Dubai has become a global one. With Islam as its official religion, Culture in Dubai is essentially a Muslim one but the presence of Hindus, Christians, Sikhs etc cannot be ignored and their presence has left an undeniable mark on the Culture in Dubai.

Dubai is a cosmopolitan city and visitors can dress however they like. Still, a good amount of respect for local customs is appreciated. In deference to local customs and norms it is a good idea for visitors not to wear very short, tight clothing, at least until such time as they are comfortable with the city. UAE nationals usually wear their traditional dress. For men this is the dishdasha or khandura, a white full-length shirt-dress. It is worn with a white or red checked headdress known as a gutra. In public women wear the black abaya, a long black robe that covers their normal clothes. They also wear a headscarf.

The official language of the country is Arabic, however most people in and out of the workplace communicate in English. There are so many different nationalities in Dubai, English finds common ground with most people. The majority of road and shop signs, restaurant menus etc. are in both English and Arabic.

After visiting Dubai and knowing it better we can understand why the tourist industry is the fastest growing sector within Dubai's economy. The number of tourists visiting Dubai has increased dramatically over the last 10 years, especially with regards to visitors from Western Europe, and the government hopes to attract 10 million tourists a year by 2010. With this in mind, huge investment is being made to develop the city's hotel, leisure and recreational infrastructure. Foreign investors considering property in Dubai as profitable investment, principally from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, continue to flock to Dubai, and local investment from Abu Dhabi remains strong.

Also Id like to mention that Dubai doesn't seem to know what it wants. You will see a traditional Mosque then round the corner, literally, and be in the largest prostitute center in the world (I would challenge even bigger than Las Vegas). This is not to say it is bad necessarily, just you can't figure out what this place is about. The layout of the city is broken into two parts, Diera and Bur Dubai. It is split by the creek although the creek is a good sized river. Along the creek you will find by far the most amazingly modern buildings anywhere (all on Diera side). It is very unique in that sense. Flip over to the other side of the creek and it is more traditional (along the creek only). Heading into Bur Dubai, you have two parts: Karama and Bur Dubai. If you hit Bank Street, you will find banks (duh) from everywhere. Come here to do your business. You can also find good restaurants and coffee houses (Starbucks has invaded this part of the world too) with decent (decent only) coffee.

http://www.dubai.org.uk/