Dubai is one of seven of the United Arab Emirates, located on the Arabian Peninsula on the southern shore of the Persian Gulf. It’s the most populous of the Emirates and the second-largest in area, after Abu Dhabi.

Dubai was formally established in the early 19th century by the Al Abu Falasa clan of Bani Yas, which maintained control over it until 1892 when Britain established it as a protectorate. Its location on the Persian Gulf made it valuable to the British as a trading hub. Today, oil wealth has turned Dubai into a dazzling playground, with a sci-fi skyline that keeps pushing its stainless steel spires ever higher toward the stratosphere and reflecting back in the blue waters of the Persian Gulf. Dubai now can claim the tallest skyscraper in the world, the Burj Dubai.

Dubai is a very cosmopolitan city. Oil industry jobs have brought in labor forces from abroad. Dubai now has the largest immigrant population of any city in the world. About 85 percent of the population is foreign born, about half of those are from India, many from Pakistan and many more from the Philippines, which gives the city strong cultural influences. There are authentic Indian and Filipino restaurants and shops in the Little India and Little Manila districts. The Jumeirah district of Dubai has its own Little Europe as well. Naturally Dubai offers a wide range of cuisines, from London fish and chips to Iranian, Lebanese, sushi and Asian noodles.

Historical attractions include Old Dubai, with the Dubai Museum, which includes ancient artifacts and modern high-tech displays. White-sand beaches with water activities are plentiful. Desert adventures are also offered. The new, spectacular Burj Khalifa is by far the tallest building, at 160 stories. At more than 2,700 feet in height, it’s far higher than the world’s second-tallest building, Taipei 101 in Taipei, which is 1,667 feet. The observation deck of the Burj Khalifa is on the 124th floor.

Unfortunately, Dubai is one of the countries that will not let you in if you have an Israeli stamp on your passport. So if that’s the case, either get a new passport or plan to travel somewhere else. In terms of air travel, Dubai is the home of the highly rated Emirates, which connects Dubai to more than 100 destinations. Hotels are plentiful, from the Ramada Dubai, offering rooms for well under $100 a night, to the Ritz-Carlton and many choices in between.

The climate is very hot, with a dry heat on the hottest days and a more humid heat on the less hot days. The cooler weather is September to May, when daily temperatures range from about 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, with cooler nights. From May to September, the heat is intense, with temperatures reaching as high as 113 degrees. It rarely rains, with some years seeing no more than a shower or two.