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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Things You Didn't Know About the UAE - Incredible Facts about this Glamorous Country
Joanna James Joanna James
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Things You Didn't Know About the UAE - Incredible Facts about this Glamorous Country

Everyone has seen or heard about Dubai, but did you know is it just 1 of 7 states that make up the United Arab Emirates? Here are a few things most people didn't know about this beautiful kingdom.


The UAE is made up of 7 Emirates

The United Arab Emirates was officially formed in 1971 as a federation of 7 emirates. The initiation of the federation started when the ruling sheikh of Abu Dhabi met with the ruling sheikh of Dubai to form a union between the two emirates. After which the invitation was extended to six other emirates - Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah, Ajman, Ras al Khaimah, Qatar and Bahrain. However, Bahrain and Qatar pulled out of the union due to disagreements and chose to seek Independence on their own. The largest of the Emirates, Abu Dhabi, is the federal capital of the UAE.


The peninsula was once a Savannah-like ecosystem

The uncovering of an 8 million-year-old crocodile skull at an excavation site in the Al Gharbia desert has helped scientists to discover more about the region during the Miocene Epoch period, which took place 5 to 23 million years ago. According to their findings, the Arabian Peninsula resembled grassland and was home to horses, elephants, monkeys, and even hippos.


90% of the water consumed is desalinated seawater

Water is scarce in this desert region - the UAE has no freshwater rivers and barely any fresh groundwater and little to no rain. To combat the ever-increasing demand for water, over 70 desalination plants have been constructed over the emirates to produce clean water for its residents. Scientists are researching alternative methods including renewable energy, to solve the water scarcity. In the meantime, community programs are encouraging locals to reduce their water consumption and preserve natural resources.


There are over 200 islands near the coast of Abu Dhabi

There over 200 natural and man-made islands located off the coast of Abu Dhabi, out of which, many are quite large and developed. Many of the smaller islands have ties to the regions former pearl trade, as the islands were used as base points for boats and pearl merchants. There several popular islands that combine tourism with conservation, like Sir Bani Yas Island, Activities on the island include a massive wildlife park with its own conservation and breeding program for endangered species, along with modern facilities and holiday accommodation such as Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort.


Dubai police drive Lamborghinis and Ferraris

The Dubai police have added a lineup of Lamborghinis and Ferraris to its fleets of cruisers. The Italian cars are used more for promoting the image of the police force than actually catching bad people in high-speed car chases. The cars are generally seen cruising around tourist areas and at special events.


Dubai is home to the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East

Situated inside the Mall of the Emirates, the Ski Dubai resort boasts fresh snow year-round and offers ski slopes, zip lines, tobogganing hills, and many more ice activities to help deal with the blistering weather outside. Since its opening, 5 more ski resorts have opened around the UAE.