The independent states in the United Arab Emirates are: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain.
There are no railways across the sand, although the Emirates are served by six international airports, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi a refuelling stop for many London to Australia passenger flights.
Large duty-free shopping centres have been set up at the modern airports.
Sharjah is the third largest Emirate and offers visitors interested in culture more than twenty museums, several art galleries and beautifully restored heritage areas.
Sharjah is about 15km from Dubai and around 200km from Abu Dhabi.
Known as the Venice of the Gulf, Dubai was the former residence of the British political agent for the old Trucial States, between 1954 and 1971.
The Dubai Museum is housed in the Al-Fahidi Fort, built around 1800, and serves to display the traditional way of life in the Emirates.
Dubai, city of merchants, cultural crossroads, second largest of the seven United Arab Emirates. A country where the dust of the desert is clearing to reveal the potential for one of the most significant international cities of the 21st century.
Wedged between Europe and Asia, buttressed by Africa, Dubai’s encouraging tax regimes, state-of-the-art telecommunications and sympathetic business environment have produced a country that is building energetically on the advantages which location, centuries-old trading savvy and oil wealth have given it.