Last month I spent a few days in Dubai. It was my third trip to this Emirate and I have to say, the more I get to know it, the more enjoyable I find this place.
Yes, it’s artificial, over-the-top and a bit strange to see such a modern, air-conditioned city in the middle of the desert. But, spending some time in Dubai with a friend who lives in the city made me see much more of it than just the tourist attractions and I have to admit, it is a city where you could lead a very comfortable life!
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.
Dubai is unique and therefore I wanted to share some crazy facts about this city with you:
1. The Burj Al Arab hotel uses enough gold to cover the Mona Lisa painting 46,265 times
The interior of the Burj Al Arab is decorated with around 1,790 square meters of 24-carat gold leaf. With that you could cover 46,265 Mona Lisa paintings.
2. One out of every 4 cranes in the world is located in Dubai
Dubai is still growing fast. So fast that roughly 24 percent of all cranes are located in Dubai.
3. 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.
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4. The police force in Dubai spends more on each of their super cars than it costs to send a child to college in the USA
Dubai’s police force uses super cars to impress tourists and show how “classy” the city is. This includes cars such as the Ferrari FF ($500,000), Lamborghini Aventador ($397,000) and an Aston Martin One-77 ($1.79 million).
New York University, the most expensive college in the U.S., costs about $248,000 for four years.
5. Roughly 85 percent of Dubai’s population is foreign
It is estimated that around 15 percent of Dubai’s population are Emiratis, while the other 85 percent are expatriates.
Most of the workers building Dubai’s hundreds of skyscrapers immigrated to the United Arab Emirates from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. As a result, they now comprise over 50% of the city’s population.
The class divide is big, with many of the immigrant workers living and working in horrible conditions while Emiratis have their rent, education and medical bills paid for and upper class foreigners earn extremely attractive salaries.
6. 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 US 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.
7. Dubai is building a climate controlled “city” 2.25 times the size of Monaco
Dubai is planning to build a completely climate controlled city which will be 4.45 km² in size with air-conditioned boardwalks connecting the various sections. Monaco has an area of only 2.02 km².
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8. Until recently Dubai had no addresses, no zip codes, no area codes and no postal system
Due to the rate at which Dubai has been growing, it never developed a standard address system. Instead of an address line on a mailing label, there was a space where residents could draw a map or write out specific instructions such as: “After you pass the white mosque, it’s the first street to the left, blue door.” It wasn’t until 2015 that Dubai started assigning so called Makani numbers (a unique 10 digit code) to all buildings to help identify them.
9. You pay no income tax in Dubai
Apart from an often very attractive salary you also won’t have to pay any income taxes when you make your money in Dubai. This attracts a lot of people who come to Dubai with the idea of saving a good amount of money in a short amount of time. Too bad it is also very easy to spend a lot of money in Dubai…
10. Dubai loves gold
There are ATMs in Dubai that dispense gold bars and 40% of all physical gold traded in 2013 occurred in Dubai. Altogether, that gold weighed more than 354 elephants.
Dubai: larger than life
Dubai’s goal seems to be to constantly have the biggest and best of everything. Its hotels are the most luxurious of any other place on earth, including the best hotel in the world: The Burj Al-Arab. Dubai built the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, which can be seen from 95 km away and is 163 stories high. On top of that, the city has the largest indoor mall in the world, the biggest aquarium, the biggest automated fountain, the tallest hotel, the longest automated rail network and the largest indoor ski park…
If you ever get the chance to visit this truly unique city, go! Whether you end up liking it or not, it will leave a unique impression.
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Also read: In Pictures – Where to Travel to Next