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Country Profile

Country name: Dubai

Geography: Dubai, with an area of 3,885 square kilometers, is the second largest member of UAE . Other members include Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. Dubai is situated on the banks of the Dubai Creek, a natural inlet from the Gulf, which divides the city into the Deira district to its north, and Bur Dubai on its south, the city ranks as the most important port and commercial center in UAE.

Religion: Islam is the official religion of the UAE and there are a large number of mosques throughout the city. Other religions are also respected.

Climate: The UAE has a sub-tropical, arid climate. Rainfall is infrequent and irregular. Falling mainly in winter, it amounts to some 13 centimeters annually. Temperatures range from a low of about 10 degrees Celsius to a high of 48 degrees Celsius. The mean daily maximum is 24 degrees in January rising to 41 degrees in July.

Language: The official language is Arabic. English is widely understood and ranks alongside Arabic as the language of commerce.

Local Time: The UAE is four hours ahead of GMT.

Currency: The monetary unit is the dirham (Dh) that is divided into 100 fils. The dirham is linked to the Special Drawing Right of the International Monetary Fund.

Banks: Both the local banks and the many international banks represented by branches in Dubai provide the usual commercial banking services. Transfers can be made without difficulty as there is no exchange control and the dirham is freely convertible.

Clothing: Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year, but sweaters or jackets may be needed for the winter months, especially in the evenings. Compared with certain parts of the Middle East, Dubai has a very relaxed dress code. However, care should be taken not to give offence by wearing clothing, which may be considered revealing. At the pool or on the beaches, trunks, swimsuits and bikinis are quite acceptable.

Business Hours: The weekend has traditionally been Thursday afternoon and Friday, but some organizations now close on Friday and Saturday, working through Thursday afternoon instead. Government offices are open from 7.30am- 1.30pm (7.30am-12.00 noon on Thursday).

Water: Tap water is quite safe to drink but visitors usually prefer locally bottled mineral water and this is generally served in hotels and restaurants.

Medical Care: Dubai has many well-equipped hospitals. The Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services runs Dubai, Rashid, Maktoum and Al Wasl hospitals. Dubai Hospital is one of the best medical centers in the Middle East, with specialized clinics; Al Wasl is a specialized maternity and gynecology hospital. The department also operates a number of outpatient clinics, of which one is situated in Jebel Ali. In addition, there are a number of well-equipped private hospitals with in- and out-patient facilities.

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