Dubai, United Arab EmiratesArea:
301,323 sq km (116,341 sq miles).

8,264,070 (2010)

Abu Dhabi.

Federation of seven autonomous emirates. The highest federal authority is the Supreme Council of Rulers comprising the absolute rulers of the seven emirates. Decisions reached by the council must have the agreement of at least five members, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the two largest members. The council appoints a president to act as head of state. There are no political parties.

The UAE sits at the top right hand corner of the Arabian Peninsular bordered by Oman in the east and Saudi Arabia in the south. All of the Emirates bar one sit on the on the Persian Gulf opposite Iran, and cover a distance spanning 650 km (404 miles) along the coastline. Fujairah is the only Emirate that sits on the Gulf of Oman. The UAE covers an area of 83,600 sq km (32,300 sq miles), Abu Dhabi covers 87% of the country’s land mass, which has a consistent terrain of mainly desert. This is home to native animals such as gazelles and the Arabian oryx, which was reintegrated into the area 40 years after it was hunted to extinction. Whilst 80% of the land mass is desert, other ecological terrain includes mountain areas and marine coastal areas.

The highest recorded point in the country is an unnamed peak stretching 1,910m (6266ft) high near the Jabal Bil Ays in Oman (but within the UAE border). The lowest point is at the Persian Gulf. The country only has 3.8% forest and woodlands due to the arid conditions. In an oasis is it common to find date palms, acacia and eucalyptus trees. Sand storms are common in the UAE, and this can cause traffic on the roads due to the poor visibility.

Off the coast of Fujairah the waters are rich in calcium carbonate, and make the ideal breeding ground for coral reefs such as alveopora coral, African pillow coral, brain coral, raspberry-rice coral and more. The marine life in the area is rich due to these diverse coral formations and species in the area include Arabian carpet sharks, areloate groupers, black-finned melon butterfly fish, blacktip reef sharks, parrot fish and even whale sharks, which can be spotted by snorkellers and divers between the months of April and July.

Head of State
President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan since 2004.