The UAE is considered one of the most developed countries in the world and a regional economic. With their towering skyscrapers and shimmering lights, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the epitome of development and luxury, so it's hard to imagine that two of our favorite cities in the region were once vast spaces of desert, quaint buildings, and fishing communities. A little digging brought us incredible photos of the two cities before it was all glitz and glamour.


Abu Dhabi, 1970

Abu Dhabi, 1958
Photo: Marion Naifeh

Al Maqta Bridge, Abu Dhabi, undated

Abu Dhabi Corniche, 1950s

Dubai Marina, undated

Al Maqta Bridge, Abu Dhabi, undated

Bedouins in Dubai, 1960s

Al Naif Souq, Dubai, 1960s

Dubai Clock Tower, 1960s

Dubai Waterway, 1960s
Dubai 1990