Dubai History and Culture
The city has a very ancient history, dating back to 2,500 BC.
The first settlements were made at the end of the Stone Age, a period when the climate favoured the existence of savannahs and pastures, but in the year 3000 B.C. the region acquired the characteristics of aridity.
At the beginning of the Iron Age, agriculture was intensified, date palms were cultivated and fishing was practiced.
Around the fourth century, the Sasanians settled in the region, but in 630 they were expelled when the practice of Islam began to spread.
Very little is known about pre-Islamic culture in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula, except that many of the ancient cities in the region were centers of trade between the eastern and western worlds. The remains of an ancient mangrove forest, dating back seven thousand years, were discovered during the construction of sewage pipes near Dubai Internet City. The area was covered with sand about 5,000 years ago, when the coast retreated inland, becoming part of the city’s current coastline. Before Islam, the people of this area worshipped the Bajir (or Bajar). The Byzantine and Sassanid empires were the great powers of the time, with the Sassanids controlling much of the region. After the expansion of Islam in the region, the Umayyad Caliph of the Eastern Islamic world invaded southeastern Arabia and expelled the Sassanids. Excavations conducted by the Dubai Museum in the Al-Jumayra (Jumeirah) region indicate the existence of several artifacts from the Umayyad period.
The earliest mention of Dubai dates back to 1095, in the “Book of Geography” by the Arab geographer Al-Andalus Abu Abdullah al-Bakri. The Venetian pearl merchant Gaspero Balbi visited the area in 1580 and mentioned Dubai (Dibei) for its pearl industry. The documentary archives of the city of Dubai only exist after 1799. In the early 19th century, the Al Abu Falasa (House of Al-Falasi) clan of the Bani Yas tribe settled in Dubai, which remained under the control of Abu Dhabi until 1833. On 8 January 1820, the Sheikh of Dubai and other sheikhs in the region signed the “General Treaty of Maritime Peace” with the British government.
However, in 1833, the Al Maktoum dynasty (also descended from the House of Al-Falasi) of the Bani Yas tribe took control of Abu Dhabi and seized Dubai from the Abu Falasa clan without resistance. With the signing of the “exclusive agreement” in 1892, Dubai received the protection of the United Kingdom against any attack from the Ottoman Empire. Two disasters struck the city in the 1800s. First, in 1841, a smallpox epidemic broke out in the city of Bur Dubai, forcing the population to move east of Deira. In 1894, a large fire in Deira destroyed most of the houses. However, the city’s location continued to attract merchants and traders from all over the region. The emirate of Dubai then reduced the tax burden on trade, attracting merchants from Sharjah and Lengeh Bandar, which were the main commercial centers of the region at the time.
However, border disputes between the emirates continued even after the formation of the united Arab emirates, and it was not until 1979 that a formal compromise was reached that ended hostilities and border disputes between the two states. Electricity, telephone services and an airport were created in Dubai in 1950 when the British moved their local administrative offices from Sharjah to Dubai. In 1966, the city joined the newly independent Qatar to create a new monetary unit, the Qatari Riyal, after the devaluation of the Persian Gulf rupee. In the same year, oil was discovered in Dubai, after which the city became a concession city for international oil companies. The discovery of oil led to a massive influx of foreign workers, mainly Indians and Pakistanis. As a result, the city’s population between 1968 and 1975 increased by more than 300%, according to some estimates.
Development reached its peak under Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who began erecting the buildings that exist today.
The country is Muslim, and although it is not mandatory, it is important that you respect the traditions and culture of your destination.
Avoid very short, low-cut, neckline clothing and always carry a handkerchief in your purse in case you decide to visit a temple.
In addition, alcoholic beverages are not permitted outside of bars, restaurants, and hotels. So be aware of the traditions of the city.