UAE, Located in the southwestern part of Asia UAE is a popular tourist destination over years. UAE consists of 7 emirates each of which has different traditions and unique cultures. UAE is rich in cultural heritage and customs. From the world-class city to the natural beauty of Rasal Khaima, UAE has got everything you need to see.
In this guide, we will explore the 7 emirates of UAE, their cultures, activities, places, etc. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler this guide will be got you covered in everything about the 7 emirates in UAE.
A Brief History Of UAE & The 7 Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is a federation that consists of 7 Emirates; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Umm- Al -Quwain, and Ras Al Khaimah. This federation was formed in December of 1971 which makes it a relatively young country.
But this region has an ancient history that runs back to the first settlement of people from North Africa making the Arabian peninsula their newfound home. The wide expanses of the desert were inhabited by the Bedouin Tribe who traveled far and wide for food water and, shelter.
The arrival of the Islamic prophet Muhammed’s envoys in 632 CE started the spread of Islam. The Ridda Wars successfully brought the entire Arabian peninsula under the single religious banner of Islam. The Pearling industry was the major source of income and employment which came to a decline in the 1920s due to the availability of cultured Japanese pearls.
The Portuguese, Dutch, and Britishers had cunning visions of controlling the trade networks and exerting their supremacy. But the significant movements that led to the formation of UAE were from the Britishers.
Various treaties were signed in the years spanning from 1820 to 1853. Individual emperors were met with and agreed upon maintaining peace in the Ocean.
The Perpetual Treaty of Maritime Peace signed in 1853 and other such truces led to the formation of Trucial States. On 16 January 1968, the Britishers expelled themselves from all these truces, leaving a political void.
This void fuelled various negotiations among the provinces. This union agreement was first done between Sheikh Zayad Bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Rashid of Dubai.
Heated Discussions were going on to make a nine emirates union, But the British Intervention at the meeting of October 1969 resulted in a walkout by Qatar and Ras-Al-Khaima. Later Bahrain also exits. The Union was agreed upon by six territories on the 18th of July 1971 and Ras-Al-Khaima joined on the 10th of February 1972.
Just within 50 years of the timespan the difference in status that UAE has created from once a Bedouin tribal settlement to one of the world’s most wealthy nations is commendable. Emirates has been ranked the second largest economy in the GCC next to Saudi Arabia.
The GDP of UAE in 2020 WAS $359 billion. Since 1971 the economy has grown 231 times to 1.45 trillion AED IN 2013. UAE is blessed with the seventh largest oil reserves in the world.
The country has a very low unemployment rate of less than 3% due to the extremely strict visa regulations on which the residence of migrant workers is dependent.
UAE also is the perfect nurturing ground for businesses due to a stable political and economic situation and a visionary government. With the most advanced and stunning infrastructure Tourism sector is flourishing due to brilliant man-made attractions.UAE also contributes a lot to philanthropic activities like contributing to several UN development funds like UNICEF, UNDP, and the office of the UN High Commission for Refugees.
7 Emirates Of UAE And Their Rulers (2023)
UAE has been made up of seven emirates and each of them has its own culture and sights to see.
We’ve included data about the 7 Emirates of UAE, as well as the Ruling family, present ruler, population, and the total area.
|Sl. NO||EMIRATE||RULING FAMILY||CURRENT RULER (2023)||POPULATION||AREA|
|1||Abu Dhabi||Al Nahyan||His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan||1,567,000||67,340 sq.km|
|2||Dubai||Al Maktoum||His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum||3,551,734||414 sq.km|
|3||Sharjah||Al Qasimi||His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi||1,831,000||2590 sq.km|
|4||Ajman||Al Nuami||His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuami||504,846||259 sq.km|
|5||Umm-Al-Quwain||Al Mualla||His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla||49,159||720 sq.km|
|6||Ras-Al-Khaimah||Al Qasimi||His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi||345,000||1684 sq.km|
|7||Fujairah||Al Sharqi||His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi||256,256||1450 sq.km|
1. Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is a land of cultural heritage with a lot of diverse tourist attractions. Located on the island of the Persian Gulf, This land was only inhabited in 1761 by the tribesmen of the Al Bu Falah Clan.
Abu Dhabi is the largest among the 7 emirates of the UAE. Their economy is dependent majorly on crude oil and overseas investment. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must-visit spot in Abu Dhabi. The Al Jahili Fort is the largest fort in the UAE which one shouldn’t miss out on. The Corniche and the Heritage Village are also tourist attractions. Jabel Hafit, the largest-ever peak in Abu Dhabi is also declared a heritage site by UNESCO due to its archaeological importance.
Zayed National Museum talks about the heritage of the Emirates and also drives you through the story of Sheikh Zayed the founder of the nation. Abu Dhabi is a center for various terrestrial and marine life research too.
And go ahead and get your Adrenaline boost at the camel racing of Al Wathba which happens on the weekend morning. Abu Dhabi was crowned the City of Music by UNESCO in 2021. This Emirates is ruled by the Al Nahyan clan with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the present ruler.
From an ordinary fishing village to a thriving pearl diving spot and now to a land of huge skyscrapers, beaches, and home to two of the world’s largest ports, Dubai is the land of fulfilling dreams and one of the favorite destinations for tourists.
Unlike popular belief, the major revenue of Dubai isn’t from crude oils but from trading, tourism, and other business infrastructures. Ruled by the Al Maktoum clan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the present ruler. Dubai is the 2nd largest among the 7 emirates of UAE.
The architectural splendor of Dubai is a major tourist attraction. The gigantic manmade islands of Palm Jumeirah; Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building since 2010; with the world’s highest mosque located on the 158th floor; Infinity tower with its astonishing 90-degree twist and the Jumeirah beach hotel overlooking the sunny beaches; Dubai is for sure to leave you mesmerized.
And if you are in the mood for adventures and thrilling leisure time then try Desert Safari, Camel riding, or Maybe special dining can be enjoyed while you are suspended from almost 165 feet in the air. One can go back in time with the Dubai Museum at Al Fahidi Fort which exhibits artifacts as old as 3000 BC.
Sharjah is the 3rd largest among the 7 emirates of UAE, Often cited as the cultural capital of UAE, Sharjah offers a perfect family tourist destination with its conservative atmosphere and edutainment centers.
In the early 18th century Sharjah was ruled by the Qasimi Dynasty which had the principal naval power back then. Sharjah is still ruled by the Qasimi Clan and His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi.
Now an integral tourist destination of the UAE, The Arabian Wildlife Centre is the only zoo with around 100 species of fauna in the Arabian Peninsula. With the children’s farm museum and botanical garden, it’s a must-visit site. The Al Noor Islands have received various accolades throughout the years for their splendid infrastructure.
With the Butterfly House, Book stalls, and cafe it is a memorable edutainment spot. The Sharjah Mosque is the largest in Sharjah is also a splendid site to see. The other places you shouldn’t miss out on would be the Al Qasaba, The Aquarium, and the shopaholics will for sure be enthralled at the Souk because it is a canopy of everything around the globe under a single roof.
Ajman is ruled by His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi of the Nuaimi Family.The smallest of all the Emirates, Ajman is a scenic beauty filled with beaches forts, museums, various heritage centers, and shopping complexes.
Back in the day, the main revenue of Ajman was Pearling and date palm plantations and the sailing boats they made for pearling called Dhows are still very much a part of their culture. one can still visit the largest Dhow yards here in Ajman. Al Zorah and Al Hamriya Beaches will leave you mesmerized by the pristine blue waters.
The largest mall in UAE, City Centre Ajman is a perfect shopping center and mall experience. The Ajman National Museum is a must-visit heritage site. It is one of the oldest functioning forts and was the line of defense back in the 18th century. Hikers would adore the Masfout, located on the craggy mountains of Hajar, it is a nice change from the cityscapes.
Fujairah is rich with a lot of heritage sites like Al Badaya the oldest mosque in UAE, the Fujairah Fort, the oldest and largest castle in UAE, and the Heritage Village which gives a glimpse into ancient Arabic lives. Due to the location of this Emirate, it’s a very important port and the only access UAE to the Indian Ocean. Fujairah is 5th largest among the 7 emirates of UAE and Ruled by the Sharqi family since the 1800s, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi is the current ruler.
5. Umm Al Quwain
A land rich in treasures and archaeological significance, Umm-Al-Quwain is the second smallest and least populous territory among the emirates.
His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mu’alla is the current ruler of this Emirate. Umm-Al Quwain also has the largest undisturbed coastal area in UAE. This place is special for its scenic beaches, forts, museums, and mangrove forests.
Archaeologists found the world’s oldest Pearl Town in the Sinniyah Islands. All the history Buffs wouldn’t want to miss out on the Al Sinniyah. Its also famous for its colony of Socotra cormorants, a migratory bird along with flamingos, herons, terns, etc.
Umm- Al-Quwain Fort, Ed Dur, Museum and Fort and Dhow Building Yard are historical sites that showcase the rich Arabian heritage.
And for adventurous people, the best spots would be the Motorplex, to witness the racing spirits or go ahead to the Marine Club to Untether your wild side for some Water sports. And for the kids, Aqua Dreamland is indeed a paradise for the little ones.
A port city, from ancient times, Ras-Al Khiama is blessed with nature’s bounty. Filled with mountainous terrain, plain deserts, and sandy beaches Ras-Al-Khaima is a gorgeous destination. The highest peak in UAE is Jebel Jais, which is located in Ras-Al-Khaima.
Various destinations hold high cultural and historical significance like Jazairat al Hamza the abandoned village. The only hill fort remaining in UAE, the Dhayya Fort; and The Pearl Museum of Ras-Al-Khaimah where one can relive the glorious Arabian past of pearling; Shimal is loaded with pre-Islamic artifacts; and the national museum which is a treasure trove for valuable artifacts. Experience the adrenaline rush by rope sliding through the world’s longest zipline in Ras-Al-Khaima. Ras-Al-Khaimah is the 4th largest among the 7 emirates of UAE.
Ras-Al -Khaimah is ruled by the Qasimi family. His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi is the present ruler of this Emirates.
The only emirates with no territory on the Persian Gulf, Fujairah is a serene and scenic beauty with dream destinations for snorkeling, rowing, surfing, yachting, fishing, parasailing, and swimming and is abundant with amazing spots for water activities like the Snoopy Islands, Khorfakkan Beach, or Dibba. The hikers would love the gorgeous view from the Rainbow and the Hajar Mountains.
With Deserts, Mountains, Mangroves, and Beaches, the United Arab Emirates is a spot blessed with nature’s best. Along with nature’s bounty innovative leaders with clear visions for development build up their nation to what we see today.
A splendid country that is more or less a fantasy land. The progress that the United Arab Emirates had within the last few decades is really impressive. Blessed with natural resources like crude oil, the income earned from them was effectively invested in various other resourceful investments which resulted in the flourishing of industries like construction, real estate, technology, finance, and tourism.
With political and economic stability the nation is a blooming field for various businesses which again led to the massive growth of the nation.
UAE is one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing economies and all of the 7 emirates in UAE power them. The colors of the flag indicate the values of prosperity, purity, mental strength, and bravery, These are the values that the nation upholds.
The rich heritage of Islamic culture and values are deep-rooted in the society. From the Nabati poetry to the finest Pearls, from the striking scent of Attar to the delicious Dates; We owe it to the United Arab Emirates, the land of Hospitality and growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
The emir of Dubai serves as Prime minister whereas the emir of Abu Dhabi serves as President. These titles are hereditary in nature.
Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan is considered the father of the nation. He successfully brought the 7 emirates of UAE under a single banner and hence the title.
UAE has astonished the world by collecting various records for being the biggest, largest, etc…Dubai alone has an astonishing 339 world records. And since the decision to establish an office was undertaken.
The lifeblood of UAE for millennia pearl diving came to an end in the early 1920s when cultured pearls were introduced by the Japanese. The Great Depression and the poor yields in pearl banks added to the end of a deep tradition.
Bedouin Poetry or Nabati Poetry has been a significant part of Arabian culture. These poems usually explore the themes of pride, chivalry, longing, and solidarity. The use of everyday language along with the expression of love for desert life and family still stays as a close part of Emirati heritage.