The United Arab Emirates or simply the Emirates is a country rich in history and culture at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. It makes an easy starting point for travels in the Middle East.
Even well into the 20th century, the UAE was not on anybody's tourist itinerary. But investment of fabulous oil and gas wealth, as well as a comparatively liberal interpretation of Islam (if you are a wealthy foreigner, that is), have changed that in a big way - megaprojects including artificial islands, gargantuan malls with everything on offer for those of wallets large enough, and the tallest building in the world have created a lot of buzz around the Emirates. The rapid expansion of the UAE's aviation industry in the 21st century, in large part due to the explosive growth of Dubai-based Emirates and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, has arguably turned the UAE into the center of the world. The less well known side of the UAE includes remote, magnificent desert dunes on the edge of the Empty Quarter and awe-inspiring wadis and mountains in the north-east emirates bordering Oman.
- Image by @danesduet