Archaeologists believe that the site of present-day Dubai was originally inhabited by a fishing community some 7,500 years ago. According to official records, the city of Dubai was founded in 1833 by an Arabian tribe from the Liwa oasis, the Bani Yas. The tribe was led by the Al Maktoum dynasty, whose descendants still rule the city today. Throughout history, Dubai has always been an attractive market for Iranian and Indian merchants

Modern Dubai is a futuristic city whose conspicuous opulence makes you forget that it is set right in the middle of a desert. Everything in Dubai seems larger than life, and this metropolis of 500-plus skyscrapers continues to develop at a mad pace, with grandiose developments being constantly undertaken.

Dubai is home to 1 million people and is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven United Arab Emirates. The Emirates became a federation in 1971 after imperial Great Britain left the region. Dubai is an undeniably cosmopolitan city: 93% of its population is foreign, yet paradoxically only those of Emirate origin are eligible for citizenship.

An exotic destination full of contrasts, Dubai's resolute modernity offers a unique mix of Western luxury and Arabian hospitality and long-held traditions such as souks, camel-racing and falconry. Likewise, incredibly varied regions rub shoulders with one another; mountains, dunes, luxurious residential neighbourhoods, Bedouin villages and cutting-edge shopping centres are all part of the mosaic that is Dubai. Sunshine, magnificent beaches and leisure facilities are sure-fire tourist magnets that attract visitors from all over the world.