<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.

Dubai Photos and Quiz

Dubai Experiences

  • Photo: The Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia

    Your Photos of the Middle East

    See images submitted to My Shot of the people, landscapes, and cities that make the Middle East such a beautiful and historic region of the world.

  • Picture of Dubai viewed from the top of the Burj Al Khalifa

    I Heart My City: Lynda's Dubai

    Explore this local's home base of safaris, souks, and sun.

  • <p>Photo: Wakeboarder in Persian Gulf</p>

    Dubai Must-Dos

    Our experts recommend the top attractions in and around Dubai—with advice on how to get the most out of your visit.

  • <p>Photo: City of Dubai</p>

    Sudden City

    A feverish dream of the future springs from the sands in Dubai.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Join Nat Geo Travel's Communities

2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

  • Picture of a volcano on Reunion Island

    Who Will Win?

    Browse photos of nature, cities, and people and share your favorite photos.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Get Social With Nat Geo Travel