The ruling families
The ruler and president of the United Arab Emirates is His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, the eldest son of the hugely popular Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who died in 2004.
The ruler of Dubai is His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sheikh Mohammed is also the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and continues building on the work of his brother, Sheikh Maktoum who died in January 2006.
Sheikh Mohammed is probably the best known of all the Al Maktoum family having an extremely high profile, not only because of his internationally renowned love for sport in general, and horse racing in particular, but also because of his charismatic personality and hugely ambitious projects aimed at promoting the profile of Dubai.
- Sheikh Mohammed's eldest son, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the deputy ruler of Dubai.
- His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum is the Chairman of Emirates Airline.
The official religion of the UAE is Islam and there are a large number of mosques situated throughout the city. Non-muslims are not permitted entry into mosques. There is one exception to this which is the beautiful Jumeirah Mosque situated on Jumeirah Beach Road.
The estimated population of Dubai is 1.7 million people of which about 80% are expatriates from various countries who are attracted by the tax-free working conditions, the booming economy and the relaxed, relatively crime-free lifestyle.
The UAE is 4 hours ahead of GMT during winter months and 3 hours ahead during daylight saving in the summer months.
The official language is Arabic, although English is the most commonly used language in all areas that incorporate tourism and commerce. Hindi, Farsi and Urdu are also widely used.