DUBAI Dubai is a fairy-tale holiday paradise with romantic desert scenery and a long history. Like an ancient kingdom from the ‘One Thousand And One Nights' it's the second largest state in the United Arab Emirates located on the northern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The trading of dates, goats, pearls and fish brought the city much prosperity and it gradually developed into the largest trading centre in the Near East. Maritime life has always played a significant role in the lives of those who live on the Arabian Gulf. With its triangular sails and a design that has remained unchanged for thousands of years, the dhow still sails these waters. Hundreds of them lie at anchor close to the old town on the banks of Dubai Creek. No other city in the United Arab Emirates possesses so many fascinating contrasts. But the past is gradually merging with the present and portrays a new and harmonious image. Dubai's impressive silhouette is in stark contrast to the desert sand and sparkling sea. The Deira district owes its prosperity to the various souks that were established there in the 19th century. At this time Dubai was already an important trading city with almost seven thousand inhabitants. The number of stalls in the souk rose to more than three hundred and a modest tax was imposed for the coffers of the local Sheikh. Amid the desert surroundings in front of the city gates is the Nad Al Sheba Camel Course where the intrepid creatures of the desert are trained during the winter months, the jockeys being young boys from Somalia and Pakistan. Dusty gravel roads lead into the Hajar Mountains, part of the splendid mountain landscape in the eastern section of the Emirates. Dubai's skyline has a new landmark, the Burj Al Arab, the only hotel in the world to have been awarded no less than seven stars! Built on a Man made island its design is that of a sail bent by the wind. Dubai: the height of luxury amid the desert sand - a glittering fairytale of the 21st century.