Dubai (/duːˈbaɪ/ doo-BY; Arabic: دبي Dubay, Gulf Arabic: Arabic pronunciation: [dʊˈbɑj]) is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, it is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the country.
Dubai is a global city and business hub of the Middle East. It is also a major global transport hub for passengers and cargo. Oil revenue helped accelerate the development of the city, which was already a major mercantile hub, but Dubai’s oil reserves are limited and production levels are low: today, less than 5% of the emirate’s revenue comes from oil. A growing centre for regional and international trade since the early 20th century, Dubai’s economy today relies on revenues from trade, tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services.
Dubai has attracted world attention through large construction projects and sports events, in particular the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. As of 2012, Dubai was the most expensive city in the Middle East. In 2014, Dubai’s hotel rooms were rated as the second most expensive in the world.
Many theories have been proposed as to the origin of the word “Dubai”. One theory suggests the word was used to describe the souq, which was similar to the souq in Ba. An Arabic proverb says “Daba Dubai” (Arabic: دبا دبي), meaning “They came with a lot of money.” According to Fedel Handhal, a scholar on the UAE’s history and culture, the word Dubai may have come from the word daba (Arabic: دبا) (a past tense derivative of yadub (Arabic: يدب), which means “to creep”), referring to the slow flow of Dubai Creek inland. The poet and scholar Ahmad Mohammad Obaid traces it to the same word, but to its alternative meaning of “baby locust” (Arabic: جراد) due to the abundant nature of locusts in the area before settlement.
Main articles: History of Dubai and Timeline of Dubai
Bronze and iron alloy dagger, Saruq Al Hadid archeological site (1100 BC)
The history of human settlement in the area now defined by the United Arab Emirates is rich and complex, and points to extensive trading links between the civilisations of the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia, but also as far afield as the Levant. Archaeological finds in the emirate of Dubai, particularly at Al-Ashoosh, Al Sufouh and the notably rich trove from Saruq Al Hadid show settlement through the Ubaid and Hafit periods, the Umm Al Nar and Wadi Suq periods and the three Iron Ages in the UAE. The area was known to the Sumerians as Magan, and was a source for metallic goods, notably copper and bronze.
The area was covered with sand about 5,000 years ago as the coast retreated inland, becoming part of the city’s present coastline. Pre-Islamic ceramics have been found from the 3rd and 4th centuries.
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