Vernacular architecture in the UAE was deeply influenced by traditional lifestyles, tribal customs, an invariably harsh environment and limited resources. Building materials were simple but were superbly adapted to the demands of lifestyle and climate. Easily portable camel or goat-hair tents provided shelter during tribal wanderings in the winter season. During the summer months spent in date palm plantations, home was an airy ‘arish woven from palm fronds. ‘Arish were also common in the coastal fishing, pearling and trading settlements. Inland more permanent houses were built of stone guss (mud mixture made into blocks) and were roofed with palm fronds. Fossilised coral, cut in blocks, bonded with sarooj (a blend of red clay and manure), or a lime mixture derived from seashells, and plastered with chalk and water paste, was used extensively in coastal regions. These materials have very low thermal conductivity and were therefore ideally suited for the hot and arid climate.
The importance of museums highlights in the fact that they are one of the main tourist attractions. They hold various heritages and civilization pieces that witness the historical development of UAE. These museums are cultural instrument that provides many benefits, such as documenting of the relationship between man and history, which help in strengthen belonging to the country, and determine its status internationally. In addition, the museums are a source of aesthetic culture and the contents of museums form as a universal language that all people can read and see. Some of the most important museums in the UAE are:
The United Arab Emirates is a country rich in heritage and culture. This section explores some of the traditions of the United Arab Emirates many of which are being preserved for future generations.
The United Arab Emirates is home to a rich cultural heritage that has been strongly influenced by the resourcefulness of its people who exploited the harsh environment of the region to the limit. This resilience, in the face of extreme hardship, was supported by society’s tribal structure, which has bound peoples together since successive waves of migration, beginning over 2,500 years ago, brought Arab tribes to the region. The varied terrain that these peoples inhabited, i.e. desert, oasis, mountains and coast, dictated the traditional lifestyles that evolved over the centuries. Under an age-old social structure each family was traditionally bound by obligations of mutual assistance to his immediate relatives and to the tribe as a whole. Among the tribe an individual's selfless hospitality was the source of his honour and pride. A common religion, Islam, also provided the cement that held the society together.
The United Arab Emirates has a long history, recent finds on the eastern side of the Hajar Mountains and in western Abu Dhabi having pushed the earliest evidence of Man in the Emirates back by hundreds of thousands of years. At this time, it is believed, the UAE may have played an important role in the migration of early Man out of Africa into Asia. Prior to this, the earliest known human occupation for which there is significant evidence dated from the Neolithic period, 5,500 BC or 7,500 years ago, when the climate was wetter and food resources abundant. Even at this early stage, there is proof of interaction with the outside world, especially with civilizations to the north. These contacts persisted and became wide-ranging, probably motivated by trade in copper from the Hajar Mountains, commencing around 3000 BC as the climate became more arid and fortified oasis communities focused on agriculture.