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DUBAI - JUNE 5: Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on June 5, 2013 in Dubai. Emirates Palace was originally conceived as a venue for government summits and conferences in the Persian Gulf, and only later was turned into a hotel
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A city known for its dedication to the ultimate indulgence

One destination in particular instantly springs to mind at the mention of the United Arab EmiratesDubai, the glittering metropolis which sprung from the desert sands and today reaches high into the clouds and out into the gulf on magnificent man-made islands. To the average traveler, United Arab Emirates means glitzy shopping malls, luxury resorts, endless leisure attractions and unfathomable wealth, but there are seven Emirates in total and Dubai is, although glorious, only the tip of the iceberg.

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History of U.A.E

Abu Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain are the other Emirate Sheikhdoms, each with their own distinct traits. Ras Al Khaimah is a popular beach haven, known for its watersports and adventurous mountain trails, whilst Sharjah is a center of Emirati art and culture, home to archaeological sites and a number of museums. The capital, Abu Dhabi is constantly looking towards the future whilst the drifting sands of the Empty Quater remain unchanged by the hands of time. Due to the international airport hub, Dubai is many travelers’ first taste of travel to the Middle East and most who travel to the United Arab Emirates find there is a real east-meets-west atmosphere.

Many elements of cultural and religious life are different from the West, but at the same time, you can find all the usual western chains and the pull of consumerism is ever-present. If you travel to the United Arab Emirates you’ll have a rich array of experiences on offer in an easily accessible area. Go shopping at the world’s largest mall in Dubai and look towards the sky in awe at the gravity-defying Burj Khalifa before exploring mountain top forts in Ras al Khaimah and visiting the vast marble-clad Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, a true architectural wonder.

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Culture In U.A.E

Concrete jungles with glistening skyscrapers are the images that spring to mind when you think of the United Arab Emirates, but there are actually many pockets of beautiful and untouched natural landscapes to explore on a trip to the United Arab Emirates. Mythical deserts, palm-fringed oases, and rugged mountains can be found throughout the diverse Emirate states. Each of the Emirates has, to some extent, its own desert areas, the perfect places to get in touch with Bedouin culture.

DUBAI - JUNE 5: Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on June 5, 2013 in Dubai. Emirates Palace was originally conceived as a venue for government summits and conferences in the Persian Gulf, and only later was turned into a hotel

As an Islamic country, religion plays a vital element in the lives and culture of Emiratis. The weekend begins on Friday, as it is the holiest day of the week, and visitors on a trip to the United Arab Emirates will hear the five-times-daily call to prayer which sets the pace for day-to-day life in the United Arab Emirates. Traditional, modest clothing is widely worn amongst both Emirati men and women and is an important part of the culture. Many elements of Emirati culture are very different from what we expect in the west; gender roles, class systems and family life are all governed by religious traditions as the United Arab Emirates’s judicial system is based on Sharia law.

Arabic is the official language, although you’ll find that English is widely spoken and understood, particularly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Amongst the glitz and glamour of the United Arab Emirates’s gravity-defying cityscapes, elements of traditional Arabic culture still exist if you know where to look for them. Sharjah has a great number of heritage sites where you can step back in time. Alternatively, a desert excursion to an authentic Bedouin camp is a popular activity for travelers on a tour of the United Arab Emirates who want to see the age-old traditions of these indigenous communities. Dubai’s Old Town is another must-visit for those interesting in knowing more about the culture of the United Arab Emirates. Here, visitors can cross Dubai Creek on a traditional abra boat, shop for bargains in the glittering gold souks and dine on delicious Arabic food for a fraction of the price found elsewhere in the city.

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Delving into the country’s religious roots and history, our private guided Israel tours will help you unlock this nation’s storied past through the first-hand knowledge of a local private guide. Witness life steeped in religious devotion through the traditions of Muslims, Christians, and Jews, which can be found in the call of the muezzin, the Orthodox prayers at the Western Wall, and in the ancient walls and pathways of Jerusalem and Nazareth.

Whether you’re looking for ancient history, lively cultural experiences at Tel Aviv’s bars and beaches, or a relaxing dip in the Dead Sea, a Destination Expert will plan and create a trip to Israel that caters to your interests and tastes.

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Banks of Nile river in Aswan, Egypt

Egypt is famed for its ancient civilization; the name alone evokes images of pharaohs and giant pyramids. A transcontinental country, linking North Africa to the Middle EastEgypt is bordered by Libya, Suda, Israel, and the Gaza Strip and has coastlines on the abundant Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Its capital is Cairo, where visitors can experience the splendor and mystery of the Great Pyramids, perhaps Egypt’s most iconic sight. Other important cities include the port city of Alexandria, located on the northern coast, and Aswan, a city on the River Nile, known for its archaeological sites such as the Philae temple complex. From the dusty, dry lands of the Sahara Desert to the sunny shores of the Red Sea, world-renowned for its coral reefs, Egypt is a country of contrasts. The national language is Arabic, spoken by the majority of the 95 million inhabitants. Much of the population is concentrated in cities, towns and rural communities along the fertile Nile Valley and Nile Delta, the only arable land in the country. On a holiday to Egypt you can expect to be greeted by warm hospitality; locals will often invite visitors to share strong Arabic coffee with them.

The Great Sphinx of Giza with the great pyramid of Kufu in the background. Giza, Egypt
History of Egypt

Undoubtedly, Egypt boasts one of the longest histories in the world, spanning back to at least the 4th millennium BC. Sometimes cited as the ‘Cradle of Civilisation’, the country appeals to travelers for its ancient monuments, which are most abundant around the fertile Nile Valley, and include treasures such as the Giza Necropolis, the Valley of the Kings and the iconic Great SphinxAncient Egypt, the famous epoch in history, still immortalized today in literature and film, is heralded for its amazing progression in language, writing, architecture, organized religion, agriculture and government, with the earliest known hieroglyphics estimated to date to around 3200 BC, and the first pyramid structures thought to have been built in around 2700 BC. The first unified Ancient Egyptian kingdom began in 3150 BC and reigning dynasties continued for almost 3000 years, with different kingdoms and intermediate periods within this time frame. The most well-known pharaohs, such as Tutankhamun and Ramesses II were present in the period of the New Kingdom, between 1550 and 1070 BC. During this unique time in the country’s history, Egyptian culture, religion, and traditions flourished. Concepts and practices, such as the after-lifemummification and cosmic order were popular at the time and still ignite the imaginations of historians and everyday people in the present day. Fast-forward to today and Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country, although it was an early center of Christianity, before the 7th century. Despite a turbulent history of occupation, the nation declared independence from the British Empire in 1922, although the influence of the empire remained until the revolution of 1952. For travelers wishing to experience one of the world’s oldest civilizations, a package holiday to Egypt allows visitors to walk in the footsteps of the pharaohs and immerse themselves in the splendor of times gone by.

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Culture In Egypt

Egypt is a sightseers paradise, with a multitude of exciting sights to discover. At the top of most lists is the Giza Pyramid Complex, on the outskirts of the capital of Cairo. Here, visitors can explore the three great pyramids, the site of the workers’ town, where the builders and engineers of the pyramids lived, and the famous Great Sphinx. This complex is considered the oldest Ancient Wonder in the world, and, amazingly, the only one of the wonders still in existence today. Through sheer workmanship and labor, these great pyramids were constructed to house the remains of the famous Pharaohs and to store the items that were considered necessary for the deceased to successfully survive in the after-life. Located close to the Sudanese border, the temples of Abu Simbel are another of the remnants of Ancient Egypt considered to be an unmissable sight on a trip to Egypt. Constructed by Ramesses II, the temples are carved into the rock face and feature statues of gigantic human figures and intricate hieroglyphic carvings. Finally, the Valley of the Kings stands out as a must-see destination for the significant role its excavation has played in the understanding of the ancient Egyptian civilization. It was the main burial place of the most famous royal figures of the New Kingdom, and since its discovery at the end of the 18th century, and the subsequent discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun on the siteit has been shrouded in much mystery and intrigue. A tour of Egypt is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the country’s fascinating history and heritage and to experience the sheer scale and majesty of a number of the world’s most famous archaeological sights.

Banks of Nile river in Aswan, Egypt

Back in the era of the PharaohsEgypt led the way in the arts, creating the first synthetic color pigment, ‘Egyptian Blue’, and inventing various unique design codes and practices. Today, the country is one of the Arabic cultural trendsetters, and a leader in the cinema industry throughout the Middle East. Egypt also has a rich musical tradition, with influences from both the Mediterranean and Africa, and is famously the birthplace of belly dancing, the characteristic dance of the region. In literary fields, Egypt has stood out for producing the first Arabic language writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, the author Naguib Mahfouz, who was awarded the prize in 1988 for his numerous works, many of which are set in Egypt. Of course, with such an impressive history, the culture of the country has strong links to the past and these elements are proudly showcased in its grandiose cultural institutions, such as the colossal Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

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