Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is well-known worldwide for huge construction projects, such as the Burj Khalifa, Palm Islands, and more. But you can still see falconry and camel racing; take a traditional dhow (boat) ride along Dubai Creek; smoke a shisha (a traditional water pipe) in a local cafe; tour the narrow lanes of the old Bastakiya district; haggle for the best deals in the gold and spice souks (markets); enjoy delicious loaves of unleavened bread baked traditionally in a tandoor; or be inspired by the Grand Mosque (which has the city's tallest minaret) or by the Jumeirah Mosque (a beautiful stone structure built in the Fatimid tradition).
When you're done reflecting on the past, however, Dubai quickly envelopes you in all the comforts - and luxuries - of modern civilization. Enjoy afternoon tea at the Burj al Arab Hotel; cheer on your favourite steed at the Dubai World Cup, which, with a US$6 million dollar prize fund, is the world's richest horse race; snow ski - in the desert?! - at Ski Dubai; shop for a fancy outfit at any one of a number of luxury-brand-name-filled shopping centres and show it off at one of Dubai's many nightclubs;
What made all of this possible? Oil, of course. But Dubai has diversified its economy beyond just oil and, today, oil and natural gas account for less than 6% of Dubai's revenues. Dubai has positioned itself as a major tourist destination and a major economic centre. The city has set up industry-specific zones such as Dubai Internet City, Dubai Knowledge Village, and Dubai Media City. And it has developed major business projects such as the Dubai International Financial Centre, The Palm islands, and The World Islands.
And we didn't even mention the beaches, the sailing, and the diving.
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