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Top 12 Facts About Dubai

Dubai, a small desert town only 50 years ago, has developed into a vibrant city that is a business and cultural focal point in the Middle East and a popular tourist destination. Dubai is known for luxury shopping, modern architecture and a lively nightlife scene. Burj Khalifa, with its 830m the tallest building in the world, dominates the skyscraper-filled skyline. Real Estate and tourism drive the economy, and there seems to be a never-ending development of innovative and over-the-top projects. Read these 12 facts about Dubai that are too crazy to digest

1. You'll probably only meet one 'local' person

Emiratis tend to keep to themselves, away from the main tourist drag, so it's highly unlikely you'll get chatting on the beach - indeed, most tourists only encounter one Emirati on their holidays: when they get their passport stamped at the airport. Border control is staffed almost entirely by Emiratis (indeed, most bureaucratic roles are reserved for "nationals"), but this isn't the ideal place to strike up a conversation about local life.

2. It's not as tall as you think

At last count, Dubai has 1,344 completed skyscrapers – that’s small fry compared with Hong Kong (6,606) and New York (6,180), according to construction data from The city is indeed home to the world’s tallest tower (Burj Khalifa – more of which later), which peaks at 828 metres. In 2006, a quarter of the world’s cranes were working on Dubai building sites, but those days are over – after the 2008 financial crisis, the crazy construction rate has slowed.

3. Its police cars are epic

One of the 10 Crazy Facts About Dubai has to be about the many supercars on Dubai’s roads, its law enforcers couldn’t just pootle around in Fords like the British constabulary. To keep up with the crims, they turn to Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Bentleys – of course. They added a McLaren to their fleet in December 2013, and a Bugatti Veyron in 2014. Powered by a 691 horsepower mid-mounted V12 engine, the force’s Lamborghini Aventador can go from zero-to-60 in less than 3 seconds, and has a top speed of 217 miles per hour. Its BMW i8 makes mincemeat out of fleeing villains, going zero-to-60 in 4.2 seconds.

4. It owes a lot to Abu Dhabi

Burj Khalifa, the world’s biggest skyscraper, looms high above the rooftops of Dubai – but it wouldn’t have been completed without the financial help of Abu Dhabi, Dubai’s neighbouring emirate. Until just before it opened in 2010, the tower was actually called Burj Dubai (literally “Dubai Tower”), but it was renamed in honour of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan, the Emir of Abu Dhabi and President of the United Arab Emirates. Dubai, which had been deep in the throes of a financial crisis, had just been bailed out by Sheikh Khalifa to.

5. It should have had a Steven Gerrard Tower

For all of the architectural follies that have been built in Dubai (man-made islands, record-breaking towers, et al), there are countless other outlandish designs that haven’t made it past the drawing board. International Chess City (a cluster of 32 black and white skyscrapers, designed to look like chess pieces) was proposed, but didn’t make the cut. The Steven Gerrard Tower met a similar fate. Dynamic Tower, whose floors were designed to spin (yikes), was never built either.

6.The locals are rich, but occasionally forgetful

In case you were in any doubt that Dubai’s residents are minted, take a look at its lost-and-found statistics. In 2015, a passenger left AED146,000 (£35,000) in cash in a Dubai Airport toilet cubicle (it was returned to her) – and in the first four months of 2016 a whopping AED42,171 (£9,000) cash was left in the airport’s lost property. According to Dubai Police, two diamond rings worth AED150,000 (£33,400) were also handed in to the airport authorities. And in October 2016, a taxi driver handed in a gold ingot that had been left in his cab. It was worth AED3.5million (£780,000), and was later reunited with its owner.

7. There are far more men than women

According to dubai facts and information, of the 2.5 million-strong population, 1.7 million are male – that’s almost 70 per cent. Females account for just over 30 per cent of Dubai’s population, according to official census statistics. The higher proportion of men is attributed to the fact that most of the city’s expats are males, who have left their families behind in their home countries. Dubai residents are a sprightly bunch, too. 58 per cent of the population is aged 25 to 44, with the majority of people aged 30 to 34. Clearly, the cut-and-thrust expat lifestyle is best suited to youngsters: just 15 per cent of the population is aged 45 or over.

8.Its Crown Prince is an action man

One of the most interesting dubai facts for kids is that the son of Dubai’s ruler, Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum – or Fazza, to his friends – is the handsome, media-friendly poster boy of the royal family. He’s widely respected by both the expat and national community, and counts skydiving, falconry, fishing and diving among his hobbies. He also publishes poetry in the region’s traditional Nabati style, which dates back to the 16th century. His Instagram feed isn’t the bling fest you might expect from an Emirati royal. Ok, so he clearly enjoys flying helicopters, hanging out in private jets and hanging out with Damian Lewis at Royal Ascot, but he also loves playing tennis, cuddling ponies and petting babies. Naaw. He’s even taken the London Underground with his dad.

9.It was built on pearl diving

Before tourism, Dubai made its money with oil. But before oil? Fishing, farming and pearl diving were the emirate’s main trades. In the early 20th century there were 300 pearl diving dhows (traditional sailing boats) based in Dubai Creek, with over 7,000 sailors on board. The men would be at sea from mid-May to early September, diving for up to 14 hours every day while the women looked after their families. This is one of the 10 most interesting facts about Dubai.

10. You can buy pretty much anything from a vending machine

The Gold to Go ATM in Dubai Mall allows you to buy anything from a 2.5-gram, 24-karat gold coin to a one-ounce gold bar. There’s even a computer inside the vending machine that changes the prices every 10 minutes in line with real-time fluctuations in the market. Bling not your thing? Take a visit to the Sharaf DG store at the Times Square Centre mall, where you can buy a laptop, tablet, camera or phone straight from a vending machine.

11. Dubai’s artificial Palm Islands use enough sand to fill 2.5 Empire State Buildings

Constructing Dubai’s Palm Islands required 94 million cubic meters of sand. The Empire State Building is only 37 million cubic meters.

12. In Dubai robots are replacing illegal child labor in camel racing

Camel racing is a very popular sport in Dubai, similar to what football is to the USA and hockey to Canada. Given the camel’s size, only children can participate in racing them. Instead of allowing Dubai residents’ children to participate, there has been a problem in the past with having children illegally trafficked into the country to race camels. The rest of the world eventually caught on to the issue and has since put a stop to it for the most part. Leave it to Dubai to come up with a solution. Now, child-sized robots are being built and are racing the camels. They cost anywhere from $300 to $10,000.

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