Published: Saturday, December 02, 2017    

By Sana Panjwani and Yara Boraie

As we celebrate National Day, Oasis Living dug up a pile of intriguing titbits about the place we call home. How many did you know?

This month sees the UAE celebrate its 46th National Day, just four years shy from its Golden Jubilee. Yet in spite of its young age, the UAE has grown and progressed at a rapid rate, quick to make its mark on the world. Oasis Living decided to round up 46 facts – from historical to downright wacky – to celebrate this most unique of nations.

1. The UAE is a federation made up of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain and Fujairah

2. 80 per cent of the UAE's population consists of expats, with over 200 nationalities such as Egyptian, Filipino, American, British and Pakistani.

3. Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate in the UAE taking up 87 per cent of the area while Ajman is the smallest taking up less than one per cent.

4. 75 per cent of the UAE's population is under 64 years old, making it one of the fastest growing, and youngest, populations in the world.

5. It takes 36 workers three months to clean up the 160-storey Burj Khalifa.

6. UAE customers purchased US $11.64 billion in US goods in 2010, making it the largest export markets for US goods in the Middle East.

7. Sara Al Qaiwani, the frst ever Emirati opera singer, performed with Carnegie Hall in 2011.

8. Women in the UAE account for about 70 per cent of all university graduates in the country and fll around two thirds of government jobs.

9. Dubai is the busiest foreign US Navy port of call and Abu Dhabi is home to the Joint Air Warfare Center, where UAE and US pilots regularly train together.

10. In 2009, the UAE became the frst country in the Middle East to host the FIFA Club World Cup tournament.

11. Prior to the Thirties, pearling was Abu Dhabi’s most important industry and primary source of income. Men would be gone for the summer months when the water wasn't freezing. The women would be left behind with a designated man to look after and protect them

12. Pearl divers of the past would dive for 12 to 14 hours and up to 10 miles before sunrise and till sunset.

13. By the end of this year, Ras al-Khaimah will be home to the highest and longest zip line in the world.

14. The flag of the United Arab Emirates contains the Pan-Arab colours red, green, white, and black, which symbolise Arabian unity.

15. One of the popular dishes in the UAE includes stuffed camel, also mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the biggest dishes served in the world.

16. In 1998, Sharjah's Heritage District, containing 17 museums, was crowned the Cultural Capital of the Arab World.

17. Sir Bani Yas, a natural island located off the coast of the UAE’s Western Region, was originally home to Arabia’s largest wildlife reserve and boasts the archaeological fnd of the oldest pre-Islamic Christian site in the UAE.

18. Dubai Mall is home to a 155-million year-old dinosaur fossil, the Diplodocus Longus, a permanent display on exhibit in the heart of the mall.

19. According to the Guinness book of World Records, the UAE is home to the most date palm trees in the world, over 42 million.

20. One of the most fascinating architectural achievements in the UAE are its man-made islands in Dubai such as The Palm Jumeirah, an island so big, it’s like a mini city with many hotels, homes, and even a monorail. The other two notable man-made islands are the World Islands (an on-going project), made to look like the world map and the island on which the Burj Al Arab hotel stands.

21. The UAE will soon be home to the world’s most sustainable eco-city, Masdar City, currently being built in Abu Dhabi. When completed, it will have 40,000 residents with wind and solar energy as the main sources of power.

22. The UAE is currently working on a 2117 Mars project which aims to build the frst city on Mars.

23. Abu Dhabi's Capital Gate Tower leans four times further than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

24. Sharjah is the only emirate within the UAE that shares borders with all the emirates in the UAE.

25. The Dubai police fleet includes a Lamborghini, Ferrari and Bentley. This is to allow them to catch speeders who can outrun other cars.

26. The construction of Dubai’s Palm Islands required 94 million cubic meters of sand. That’s enough to fll the Empire State Building 2.5 times.

27. The iconic Chrysler Building in Manhattan is owned almost entirely by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

28. 25 per cent of the world’s operational cranes are located in Dubai.

29. Ferrari owns the largest indoor theme park in Abu Dhabi. Its rollercoaster, the Formula Rossa, is the world’s fastest, reaching 150mph in 5 seconds.

30. Fujairah is home to the oldest mosque in the UAE, Al Badiya Mosque, built in the 1440s.

31. Fujairah is the only emirate to not have a coastline on the Persian Gulf.

32. The Arabic name ‘Ras Al Khaimah’ translates to ‘top of the tent’, referring to its location in the northern most part of the UAE.

33. In the next few years, the UAE will be one of the frst countries to sport a Hyperloop One – near supersonic railway – system. It’s frst track will connect Abu Dhabi and Dubai, cutting commute time down to 12 minutes.

34. Indians are the largest ethnic group in the UAE, making up 40 per cent of the population.

35. The 75km Dubai Metro track is the longest fully automated metro network in the world.

36. November 2013 saw the UAE win the right to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai. This will be the frst time this event has been held in the Middle East.

37. As of September 2017, the UAE holds 186 world records in total, with 139 held by Dubai. Records include feats such as producing the most mechanical energy by pedalling on static bicycles in one hour, building the largest standing lantern, and even putting together the largest flower arrangement (in the shape of Emirates Airlines' A380!)

38. The UAE doesn’t just buy planes, it also helps build them. Parts for the Boeing 787 Dreamliners are manufactured at Al Ain’s aerospace hub, with Strata supplying composite materials for the aircraft.

39. Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi was found to be the safest city in the world by Numbeo, a website that curates and collates data to develop the world's largest user-contributed database about cities and countries worldwide.

40. Dubai ranks third in cities with the highest number of skyscrapers, Hong Kong being first.

41. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi houses not only the third largest chandelier in the world but also the largest carpet.

42. Sheikh Ahmad Bin Hasher Al Maktoum, a member of the ruling family of Dubai, remains the UAE’s greatest ever Olympian. He has proudly represented the nation at three Olympic Games, winning gold in the double trap event in Athens in 2004. He is also the frst Emirati athlete to win an Olympic medal for the UAE.

43. Dubai Mall has 3.9 million square feet of retail space, making it the biggest shopping mall in the world. It boasts the longest acrylic tunnel in the world under the mall’s aquarium. And the building used more steel than contained in the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

44. The Junsui Lounge in the Burj Al Arab, Dubai, features a ceiling made of 29,000 Swaroski crystals.

45. The UAE has a literacy rate of 93 per cent.

46. The Palm Jumeirah is made of enough sand to fll Wembley Stadium in the UK 23 and half times.

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