7 Interesting Facts About Dubai

Dubai is located in the United Arab Emirates and is the capital city of the Emirate of Dubai. It is a fascinating place that has transformed from a small fishing village into one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. From having just one skyscraper at the start of the 1990s, over 200 skyscrapers now fill the shimmering skyline. Dubai is also the holder of some impressive and wacky world records – from the tallest to the biggest to the fastest, you’ll find them all in Dubai. Curious to learn more? Here are some of the most interesting facts about Dubai, that you may not know.

7 Interesting Facts About Dubai

1. Dubai’s history spans thousands of years

Historians have traced Dubai’s history back to the early Minoan period – roughly from 3000 BCE to 500 CE. Abu Abdullah Al Bakri wrote The Book of Geography in 1095, and it contains the earliest mention of Dubai. However, tribesman Maktoum bin Butti led his people to the mouth of Dubai Creek in 1833 and declared the town’s independence from Abu Dhabi. Dubai, at this time, was a fishing village. It wasn’t until the discovery of oil in 1966 that Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum began the development of Dubai.

2. Dubai had one skyscraper in 1991

Dubai is famous for its soaring skyscrapers, but, in 1991, there was just one skyscraper in the city – the Dubai World Trade Centre. Constructed in 1979, it was, back then, the highest building in the Middle East. Today, just three decades later, 215 skyscrapers make up one of the fastest-growing skylines in the world.

3. Dubai holds some wacky world records

Dubai has been awarded more than 130 Guinness World Records. Dubai holds the record for the ‘tallest freestanding structure in the world’ – the Burj Khalifa – which is also home to the ‘world’s highest restaurant’. In Dubai, you’ll also find the latest water fountain. However, some of the more wacky records include the ‘fastest marathon in an American football kit’, the ‘largest tin of caviar’,  the ‘longest underwater live radio broadcast’ and the ‘most people to parachute from a balloon simultaneously’. It also holds the record for the ‘largest synchronized car dance’. For this feat, Nissan choreographed 180 vehicles to form an outline of a falcon.

4. Dubai is home to the world’s first seven-star hotel

The Burj Al Arab is located on a manmade island 280 metres (920 ft) off Jumeirah Beach. It is one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. Soaring 321 metres (1055 ft) high, when it opened in 1999 it was the world’s tallest hotel. Today it is the eight-tallest hotel and the tallest all-suite hotel in the world. Tom Wright designed the building to resemble a ship’s sail. Dubai is also home to six of the world’s top ten tallest hotels. Soaring 356 meters high, the four-star Gevora Hotel is the tallest in Dubai.

5. Dubai has the world’s fastest police car

You will never outrun, or out-drive, the police in Dubai. The police fleet here includes some very exotic motors, for instance, a Mercedes AMG GT 63 S, Lamborghini Aventador, Aston Martin One-77, a Bentley Continental GT, a Ferrari FF, and a Mercedes-Benz Brabus G-Wagon. However, the quickest cop car in Dubai, and indeed the world, is the Bugatti Veyron. This hypercar can reach speeds of up to 253 mph (407km/h).

6. In Dubai there is a big gender gap

Dubai’s ratio of males to females is skewed. A disproportionate number of the population of Dubai is male. In 2021, the government carried out a survey on the population and the figures revealed that in Dubai there are 2,378,000 men and 1,059,000 women. This makes the male population 2.25 times larger than the female population in Dubai. This ratio is decreasing. At one time there were three men for every woman.

7. Dubai’s metro system is pretty impressive

When it first opened in 2009, the Dubai Metro system spanned 74.6 kilometres (47 mi) and was the world’s longest driverless metro network. Since then, it has been expanded and now stretches some 89.6 kilometres (55.7 mi). However, it no longer holds that title, the automated lines of the Singapore MRT has stolen it. However, the Red Line of the Dubai Metro, which stretches 52.1 kilometres (32.4 mi), holds the title as the world’s longest driverless single metro line.

facts about dubai

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

View stories