The city of Dubai is located in the Persian Gulf nation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE consists of seven different emirates or principalities, the largest of which contains the capital city, Abu Dhabi. The UAE is an Islamic nation, where the religion of Islam is heavily integrated into the governments of each emirate. Dubai is the most populous city in the UAE, with over 2 million inhabitants. Unlike many other places in the Middle East, petroleum and energy only represent a small percentage of the city's revenues, and it is known instead for its real estate and financial services industries, as well as tourism and trade.
The city has attracted attention from the whole world because of its bold and innovative real estate projects. Most notable among these is the construction of the Burj Dubai — Arabic for “Dubai Tower” — which is billed as the world’s tallest man-made structure, at nearly twice the height of New York City’s Empire State Building. This building is rumored to have undergone several increases in its planned height since its inception. It is constructed of steel and reinforced concrete.
Little is known about the emirate's origins, but it has long been an important location because of its geographical proximity to trade routes leading to and from India. Only in the latter part of the 20th century did it start on its way to becoming the important economic center that it is now. Electricity and telephone services, as well as aviation, were established there in the 1950s. The discovery of oil there in 1966 led to a 300% population increase over the next decade.
On 2 December 1971, the emirate joined with six other Arab emirates to form the UAE. In 1973, a uniform currency was adopted. Latent hostility from border disputes with Abu Dhabi was settled in 1979 when a formal compromise was reached.
Dubai has a very hot climate, which is sometimes accompanied by humidity. The warmest month on average is August, with an average high temperature of 106°F (41.3°C). It lies directly within the Arabian Desert, and the landscape is dominated by sand, with wild grasses and some palm trees. Although the official language is Arabic, English is widely spoken and understood in the city. Islam is the official state religion, but non-Muslim groups are permitted to worship and own houses of worship in there, subject to certain conditions.