The earliest significant settlements in the UAE date from the Bronze
Age. In the 3rd century BC, a culture known as Umm an-Nar's arose
near the site of modern Abu Dhabi and its influence extended well
into the interior and along the coast of what is now Oman.
The small trading states that emerged along the Persian Gulf coast
were later overwhelmed by Persian empires - the Achaemenid Empire
from the 6th to the 4th centuries BC, and the Sassanid Empire from
the 3rd to the 7th centuries AD.
These empires took over and controlled the extensive maritime trade
that the small states had already carried as far as China.
Traditional social rituals remain important, especially the Eid
al-Fitr and the Eid al-Adha, the festivals that mark the end of
Ramadan (the month of fasting) and the conclusion
of the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) on the Islamic calendar.
On special occasions, Emiris perform traditional dances to musical
accompaniment. The commitment to preserving traditional arts and
culture is evident both at the popular level and in the political