For such a tiny place, Dubai thinks big. Here’s some things you may not know about this growing city.

 

Everybody knows that Dubai boasts the world's most luxurious hotel, the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. But the emirate has recently set off the world's most spectacular fireworks display in a 6 minute extravaganza which lit up the sky across 400 locations and along 100km shoreline of shoreline. In total 400,000 fireworks were set off during this event last year. 

 

It's all about the fastest, biggest, tallest, largest and highest

Dubai can also say it has the largest vertical maze on the planet: this 55 story puzzle runs up the ‘Maze Tower’ in Dubai's financial district. In addition, Dubai was the setting for the world's highest base jump, and displayed the longest ever gold chain…an astonishing 5.5 kilometres long. 

The emirate also has ambitions to open the biggest theme park on the planet. $55 billion in investment has already been raised and it's thought the project could be completed by 2020.

 

Dubai has the largest immigrant population in the world

Dubai's population is young, with the average age of residents only 27 years old. There are also far more men than women, an oddity that's explained by the high percentage of expats currently living there - Dubai accepts more male immigrant workers than female ones, which explains the imbalance. Around 70-80% of the population is thought to consist of foreign nationals and expatriates. Most are from Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh and the Philippines. Around 3% are Western in origin. Dubai is often criticised for the way it treats immigrant workers, with stories of passports withheld by employers and other human rights concerns.

 

It's really wealthy

Dubai's wealth doesn't just come from oil revenues, it has also grown its income from industries such as real estate, airlines and ports. The handy location, midway between the Far East and Europe, has also been financially advantageous for this small state, which has positioned itself as a global trade hub. Whilst the property bubble burst in 2008, Dubai is slowly recovering as other industries continue to prosper and the emirate remains a transport hub for the world. 

 

It's liberal… and it isn't

Dubai is considerably more liberal than its near neighbours in the Arabian peninsula. In nearby Saudi Arabia, women aren't permitted to hold driving licenses; in Dubai many own their own businesses. However it's still very conservative compared to many parts of the developed world, and many aspects of life are more restricted than in the West. Whilst alcohol consumption is tolerated, it's unwise to drink publicly, alcohol sales are severely restricted and the legal drinking age is 21. Public displays of affection are not tolerated in public. Homosexuality and sexual relations outside marriage are both criminal offences that can lead to deportation. There's also no concept of bankruptcy. If you get into debt in Dubai and can't pay, you can expect to face imprisonment.

 

They like mobile phones

Only a few years ago it was revealed that Dubai's 1.7 million residents possessed over 3 million mobile phones between them.

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