Territory

Wonders of the United Arab Emirates

Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab
Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab. / Jason Mrachina, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

Arab countries keep the wondrous spirit of One Thousand and One Nights alive – and none does it better than the United Arab Emirates. This small country surprises the whole world with the realization of incredible ambitions. Cities of Emirates, especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi serve as showcases of latest achievements in engineering and architecture.

Visitors easily may get carried away with the wonders of modern times – but the United Arab Emirates are much richer than this. The country has diverse archaeological heritage and, happily, the rich Pre-Islamic heritage is not neglected. In Emirates is found the oldest known human settlement outside Africa, prehistoric trade cities, and even a stray outpost of early Christianity – monastery and church on Sir Bani Yas Island.

Map with the described wonders of the United Arab Emirates

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of the United Arab Emirates

Geological wonders

Moreeb Dune

Abu Dhabi

One of the largest sand dunes in the world, 120 m tall, with 50 degrees steep slope.

Moreeb Dune
Magharet Qasir Hafeet

Abu Dhabi

450 m long cave, up to 96 m deep. Adorned with flowstones, stalagmites and other cave formations.

Masafi Falls

Fujairah

Waterfall formed by spring that flows into Wadi Siji.

Biological wonders

Bu Tinah

Abu Dhabi

Coral reef and seagrass beds. The site contains one of the few natural forests in the United Arab Emirates – a natural mangrove grove. The waters of this reef are very rich with sea life, including the world’s second-largest population of dugongs – some 600 animals.

Mangrove forest in Bu Tinah, United Arab Emirates
Umm Al Nar fossil finds

Abu Dhabi

Find of the fossils of a very unusual bird – Bennu heron (Ardea bennuides), a giant heron that went extinct during the times of prehistoric Mesopotamian civilizations (2500 – 2000 BC). This bird was larger than people.

Archaeological wonders

Hafeet graves (Mezyad graves)

Abu Dhabi

Group of more than 500 prehistoric graves – circular buildings (beehive tombs), constructed during the Bronze Age, 3200 – 2700 BC. Largest structures are 4 m high.

Hafeet graves (Mezyad graves)
Mleiha

Sharjah

This settlement from the late Iron Age abandoned around the 4th century AD. Contains ruins of the fort and some other buildings, monumental tombs (including one Bronze Age tomb from the 3rd millennium BC). The city had market districts, here have been found ancient inscriptions with Aramaic and Musnad (South Arabian) writing.

Mleiha Fort
Hili Grand Tomb

Abu Dhabi

Reconstructed grave – circular tower (beehive tomb) with a diameter of 12 m.

Hili Grand Tomb
Al-Dour (Ed-Dur)

Umm al-Quwain

Remnants of a once large trading port that operated in 200 BC – 200 AD. Thousands of graves as well as a small fort with round towers and temple of the Semitic god Shamash.

Al-Dour

Architecture wonders

Burj Khalifa

Dubai

World’s tallest building, 829.8 m tall skyscraper with 163 floors. Constructed in 2010. In the building are some 35,000 people at any time.

Burj Khalifa
Burj al Arab

Dubai

Landmark building – sail-formed skyscraper hotel, constructed in 1999. The building is located on a man-made island and is 321 m tall, with 60 floors. Impressive is the 180 m tall atrium lobby. One of the most expensive hotels in the world.

Burj al Arab, United Arab Emirates
Sheikh Zayed Road

Dubai

City highway with one of the most impressive displays of supertall skyscrapers in the world.

Highrises along the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai
Capital Gate

Abu Dhabi

Unique, inclined skyscraper with 18-degree incline. 160 m high, 35 stories, constructed in 2011. The furthest leaning tower in the world.

Capital Gate in Abu Dhabi
Palm Jumeirah

Dubai

World’s largest man-made archipelago, with 520 km long coastline, mostly covered with villas. The group of islands forms a 5 by 5 km large shape of a palm tree. Connected to the mainland with the monorail. Similar projects include Palm Jebel Ali – 50% larger than Palm Jumeirah and The World – group of artificial islands forming a world map.

Palm Jumeirah with Dubai in the background
Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi

The eighth-largest mosque in the world, constructed in 2007 as one of the most beautiful religious structures in the modern world. The building has 82 domes rising up to 85 m high. Tallest minaret is 107 m high. White color dominates the design, very impressive is the floral design of the marble courtyard.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi
Al Badiyah Mosque (Al Bidyah)

Fujairah

Oldest known mosque in the United Arab Emirates. The exact time of the construction is unknown, but it was built in the 15th century (1446 AD?) or earlier. Small but sophisticated structure with four domes. Still in operation.

Al Badiyah Mosque, United Arab Emirates
Juma Mosque (Hatta)

Dubai

Old mosque, built in 1780.

Juma Mosque in Dubai
Al Bastakiya (Al Fahidi)

Dubai

Possibly the best-preserved part of old Dubai. The historical part of the city with the characteristic causeways, wind towers, and other architectural forms from the late 19th – early 20th century, developed by Persian merchants.

Bastakia
Fujairah Fort

Fujairah

Massive castle, built in 1670 from mud brick. Fully renovated in 2000.

Fujairah Fort
Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House

Dubai

A historical house in Dubai, built around 1894 as the seat of Al Maktoum family. Now the building serves as a museum.

Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House
Emirates Palace

Abu Dhabi

One of the most luxurious hotels in the world, constructed in 2006. Many rooms are furnished with gold and marble.

Emirates Palace
Al Shindagha

Dubai

Large district with hundreds of historical houses. Here in the first half of the 20th century lived rulers of Dubai.

Al Fahidi Fort

Dubai

The oldest existing building in Dubai, built in 1787 – 1799.

Al Fahidi Fort
Umm Al Quwain Fort

Umm al-Quwain

Old fort that guarded the entrance in Umm Al Quwain. Now serves as a museum.

Umm Al Quwain Fort
Al Heil Castle

Fujairah

Picturesque castle near mountains, former headquarters of the local ruler, constructed in 1735.

WorldYellow Recommended books

CultureShock! United Arab Emirates


With over three million copies in print, CultureShock! is a bestselling series of culture and etiquette guides covering countless destinations around the world. For anyone at risk of culture shock, whether a tourist or a long-term resident, CultureShock! provides a sympathetic and fun-filled crash course on the do’s and don’ts in foreign cultures. Fully updated and sporting a fresh new look, the revised editions of these books enlighten and inform through such topics as language, food and entertaining, social customs, festivals, relationships, and business tips.

Top 10 Dubai & Abu Dhabi


Dubai and Abu Dhabi have so much to offer, and you can experience it all, from unique shops, malls, and souks to the finest restaurants and cafes. Luxuriate at the best golf courses, hotels, and spa resorts, or embrace adventure on exciting desert excursions, at local sporting events, or at lively bars and clubs. In addition to traditional historic palaces and mosques, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have amazing modern architecture, and your Top 10 Travel Guide will be your partner in experiencing it all.


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