To celebrate the 48th UAE National Day we’ve rounded up 48 interesting facts to help you get to know this country a little bit better.
1. The UAE is a federation made up of 7 emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain and Fujairah.
2. The falcon is the UAE’s national symbol.
3. An Emirati teenager from Abu Dhabi Abdullah Al Maainah designed the UAE flag. He has since gone on to become the UAE ambassador for numerous foreign countries, most currently serving as the UAE ambassador to Chile.
4. The UAE flag contains the pan-Arab colours which symbolizes the unity between the Arab nations.
5. Fujairah was the very last Emirate to Join the Trucial States and later, to become part of the UAE.
6. Ajman is the smallest emirate in the UAE and is home to beautiful beaches and museums.
7. Dubai International Airport has the fastest Wi-Fi speed of any airport in the world!
8. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi has the world’s largest hand-woven carpet, made by the Iran Carpet Company.
9. Ras al Khaimah is home to one of the top date farms in the UAE, offering no less than 18 different types of dates.
10. H.H. Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, is the 18th ruler of the emirate from the Al Qasimi family, which dates back to AD 1600.
11. The UAE’s national animal is an Arabian Oryx.
12. Before the discovery of oil in the 1970s, pearl diving and fishing were the most prominent and essential industries and a primary source of income for the people in UAE.
13. Ras Al Khaimah is home to the highest mountain in the UAE, Jebel Jais. Standing tall at 1,910 metres, it is ideal for both mountain climbing and mountain biking with impressive views from the summit.
14. The Falcon Hospital in Abu Dhabi examines and treats more than 11,000 falcons a year. The fun part is, the falcons even get pedicures! Their talons get trimmed not polished. This is done to prevent infection they might get by the overgrown nails.
15. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi has the world’s third-largest chandelier made from stainless steel, brass and 24-carat gold.
16. The UAE played an important role in the trade and empire building of ancient India, the Safavid Empire in Iran and the Empires of East Africa because of its large monopoly on international trade and commerce.
17. In 1907, the UAE’s first school – Al Tamimiya School – was set up in Sharjah.
18. The UAE’s formation in 1971 came to be after a peaceful declaration of independence from Great Britain, who ruled the country as a British protectorate since the early 1900s. While other countries under the colonial rule of Great Britain struggled violently for independence, the UAE gained their independence through peaceful agreements.
19. Kcal was founded in the UAE in 2010 and it has been our home ever since.
20. For centuries, Persians from Iran, Baloch from modern-day Pakistan and Africans from places like Sudan have moved and settled in what is now the UAE, becoming citizens and therefore Emirati while still keeping certain traditions or recipes from their ancient past.
21. Sharjah translates to “rising sun”.
22. The Burj Khalifa can be seen from 95km away.
23. Until 1998 slot machines were permitted in certain hotels in Fujairah but residents wrote to the Sheikh to have the machines removed as some locals had become addicted and were losing their entire month’s wages on the machines and couldn’t support their families.
24. The dried date fruit, from the local palm trees of the UAE, is one of the most well-known and popular points of pride for local Emirati families. Cultivated for thousands of years, many families still own large date farms and continue to pass down the tactics of how to collect and harvest these special dates.
25. People living on or above the 80th floor of the Burj Khalifa have to wait 2 extra minutes before breaking their fast during the holy month of Ramadan because they are able to see the sun longer than those on the ground.
26. The Emirates National Auto Museum in Abu Dhabi is home to the world’s largest truck weighing in at 50 tonnes!
27. The Arabic name ‘Ras Al Khaimah’ means ‘top of the tent’, referring to its location in the Northern most part of the UAE.
28. The United Arab Emirates donated a laptop to every high school student in Joplin, Missouri, after the city had been devastated by a tornado.
29. The city of Dubai holds the Guinness World Record for the longest driverless metro system with a total of 46.35 miles of track. The temperature in the station is also maintained at a constant 20°C!
30. In 2016 Emirates Airlines flew 90,000kg of biscuits to the United Kingdom to help with the biscuit shortage.
31. Sir Bani Yas Island is one of the regions largest nature reserves and has over 10,000 free roaming animals.
32. 58,000km of steel bars were used to build the Atlantis hotel. Laid end to end that’s 9 times the length of the Great Wall of China
33. Roads in the UAE are specifically designed to allow sand to easily blow over the surface and not gathering on the road.
34. Sharjah International Book Fair, which started in 1982, is the 4th largest book fair in the world.
35. In 1968 the Al Maqta Bridge was the first bridge built in the capital connecting the mainland to Abu Dhabi island; 33 years later an identical bridge was built next to the original to help easy the flow of traffic.
36. Fujairah is only the Emirate that is located by the waters of the Indian Ocean, and not on the Persian Gulf coast.
37. The national anthem Ishy Bilady (Long Live my Nation) was composed by Egyptian singer and composer Mohamad Abdel Wahab who also composed Tunisia’s national anthem.
38. The UAE flag can be placed on street lights during National Day holidays but it is forbidden for any other flag to be hung on the same street.
39. The Burj Al Arab used 1790 square meters of 24-carat gold leaf.
40. There are no natural rivers in the UAE.
41. In 1968 Dubai’s number plates stopped at 13.
42. Sharjah was also the first emirate in the UAE to promote women’s rights and introduce education for women in 1942.
43. Dubai is home to the world’s longest gold chain, it stretches 4.2km.
44. The Al Badiyah Mosque located in Fujairah is the oldest mosque in the UAE. It was built in the 1440s and is still active as both a tourist attraction and a place of worship.
45. Ras Al Khaimah has a rich history dating back to the Bronze Age which makes it one of the few places in the world that has been continuously settled for over 7,000 years.
46. The island of Al Sinniyah has the world’s third largest colony of the migratory bird Socotra Cormoran
47. More than half of the population of Dubai is aged between 25-34, so it’s a youthful city that is geared very much towards those in this age bracket. Only 15% of Dubai’s population is over 45!
48. Archaeologists have discovered that there were nomadic people living in the areas that now make up the UAE since before the time of Christ, who were mainly camel herders and might have lived off of the meat and milk of these animals as well.Written by Lauren Jacobsen, Nutrition Director