<p>Photo: Abra driver</p>

The driver of an abra, a traditional wooden boat that ferries passengers across Dubai Creek, takes a break.

Photograph by Lana Slezic/Panos

From sleepy trading port to global gateway in 25 years, the Middle East metropolis of Dubai has sprung up out of the desert sands. Once centered on bustling Dubai Creek, from where old dhows (boats) still sail to Iran, Dubai now sprawls south toward the United Arab Emirates’ capital, Abu Dhabi. While oil revenues fueled its early development, now trade and tourism power this city-state’s phenomenal growth rate. Travelers come for sun, sand, shopping, and a touch of the exotic, and Dubai delivers. While it might not have the ancient sites of Cairo or Damascus, Dubai just gets on with making history as one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

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