The United Arab Emirates often abbreviated as UAE or shortened to The Emirates is a federation situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia.
The capital is Abu Dhabi, which is also the country's center of political, industrial and cultural activities. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the UAE's president from the nation's founding until his death on November 2, 2004, followed by the election of his son, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as the new UAE’s president.
The UAE is a federation of seven emirates; Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al-Qaiwain. The President of the United Arab Emirates is its head of state, and the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates is its head of government.
Its oil reserves are ranked as the world’s sixth-largest and the UAE possesses one of the most-developed economies in West Asia. The climate of the U.A.E generally is hot and dry. The hottest months are July and August, when average maximum temperatures reach above 48 °C (118.4 °F) on the coastal plain.
The United Arab Emirates has a diverse and multicultural society and the UAE is relatively liberal. While Islam is the main religion, the UAE has been known for its tolerant practices. Christian churches can be found alongside mosques and this courtesy has seemingly been extended to Hinduism and Sikhism as there is a place tucked away inside a residential style building which houses a Hindu temple and a Sikh gurudwara. There are a variety of Asian-influenced schools, cultural centers and restaurants. Increasing numbers of European centers, schools, and restaurants can also be seen in the UAE.
The traditional food of the Emirates has always been rice, fish, and meat. Seafood has been the mainstay of the Emirati diet for centuries. Popular beverages are coffee and tea, which can be supplemented with cardamom, saffron, or mint to give them a distinct flavor. Muslims are prohibited from eating pork, so it is not included in local menus. If pork is available, it is clearly labeled as such.
Many emirates have established museums of regional repute, most famously Sharjah with its Heritage District containing 17 museums, which in 1998 was the Cultural Capital of the Arab World.
Abu Dhabi has embarked on the path to become an art center of international caliber, by creating a culture district on Saadiyat Island. There, six grand projects are planned: the Sheikh Zayed National Museum by Foster + Partners, the modern art museum Guggenheim Abu Dhabi to be built by Frank Gehry, the classical museum Louvre Abu Dhabi by Jean Nouvel, a maritime museum by Tadao Ando, a Performing Arts Center by Zaha Hadid, and a Biennale Park with 16 pavilions.
The United Arab Emirates is a part of the Khaliji tradition, and is also known for Bedouin folk music. During celebrations singing and dancing also took place and many of the songs and dances, handed down from generation to generation, have survived to the present time. Young girls would dance by swinging their long black hair and swaying their bodies in time to the strong beat of the music. Men would re-enact battles fought or successful hunting expeditions, often symbolically using sticks, swords or rifles. Recently Emirati music has ventured into Hip Hop with Desert Heat becoming the first Emirati Hip Hop Group in the UAE.
Football is the national sport of the United Arab Emirates. Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the UAE, largely because of the expatriate population from the Indian subcontinent. Other popular sports include camel racing, falconry, endurance riding, and tennis.