Emirates excursion: about how Elena Proklova and the chief Tatar of the UAE get acquainted with Islam
What has Elena Proklova seen on the shores of the Persian Gulf? Gold inlaid mosques, the Burj Khalifa skyscraper and the date bazaar
Yesterday, the famous Russian businessman Ismagil Shangareyev living in the UAE turned 60. Realnoe Vremya wishes him the very best. On the eve of the anniversary an honoured artist of Russia Elena Proklova, Larisa Ivanovna from the movie Mimino and Marcela from the film Dog in the manger, came to him. The entrepreneurship gave a tour for the actress in the Arab country. His author column written specially for our online newspaper he made in the form of a guide with the star.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi
First, we went to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
I would like to tell you about the person after whom the mosque is named. He is an amazing state figure. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became the head of the Emirates almost at the same time when in other Arab countries Saddam Hussein (Iraq), Muammar Gaddafi (Libya), Hosni Mubarak (Egypt) came to power. However, the Sheikh pursued the right policy: all forces in the country he directed not to assert his authority but he put the emphasis on the welfare of his people, the development of the economy, openness. Where are now those people and their country? But Sheikh Zayed lives in the memory of the people: for a short time he built a magnificent oasis in the desert, where people come from all over the world. Today the UAE is one of the safest countries in the world with fabulous sights, large businesses, great prospects.
The mosque itself is distinguished by inlaid with gold and stones walls, 9-tonne chandeliers of Swarovski crystals and a Persian carpet with the area at 5,627 square meters. Perhaps, this is the most beautiful mosque in the world.
The temple can simultaneously accommodate up to 40 thousand worshipers. The main hall admits 7 thousand believers. There are two prayer rooms for women near the main hall, each room admits 1,5 thousand Muslim women.
'The mosque itself is distinguished by inlaid with gold and stones walls, 9-tonne chandeliers of Swarovski crystals and a Persian carpet with the area at 5,627 square meters.' Photo: worldwidetours.ru
The actress tells the shahada
Elena told that she admires the Muslim civilization and she really likes our religion. Her future son-in-law is a Muslim, future grandchildren — Muslims, she is very glad about it. I told her about Islam in details, she was very impressed by our religion. And in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, she said the shahada: 'lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur-rasūlu-llāh' (an Islamic creed declaring belief in the oneness of God – editor's note). She sincerely asked Allah in Russian that she, her children and grandchildren all were well.
The actress said that the Muslim families are the most durable and strong. She made a discovery for herself: everything that in Islam is considered to be sinful is unacceptable from the point of view of medicine. She began to study our religion due to the fact that her future son-in-law is a Muslim. I must say that last year Proklova divorced. And she admitted: 'If I am destined to get married, I want my husband was a Muslim.'
Proklova admitted: 'If I am destined to get married, I want my husband was a Muslim.'
Perhaps, everyone heard about Dubai. We went to the highest building in the world — the Burj Khalifa skyscraper. The building is located in the heart of Dubai — Downtown. There we climbed to the terrace and met the sunset.
The tower is the epitome and, probably, the main symbol of modern Dubai. It was named in honour of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Today it is the highest building in the world, its height is 828 meters. The skyscraper was designed as a 'vertical' city, inside of which there is a luxurious hotel, over a thousand apartments and offices of international companies.
On the 124th floor (452 meters) there is one of the world's highest observation decks with a panoramic view at 360 degrees. Every year 'At the Top' receives two million visitors. Just below, on the 122nd floor, is 'the seventh heaven' of Dubai – the restaurant At.mosphere, and at the foot of the tower lies a picturesque lake with the famous Dubai fountain.
Yes, having descended from Burj Khalifa, we got to show of the world's largest 'singing fountains'. Elena and I took a good boat to be closer to the fountains. We became the participants of a water symphony. Proklova with a sinking heart watched this beauty. She was inspired by an extraordinary sight.
'Proklova with a sinking heart watched this beauty. She was inspired by an extraordinary sight.' Photo: travelermap.ru
'Singing' Dubai fountain is a great show of water, light and music. The height of the jets reach 150 meters, it is almost the height of a 50-storey building. The complex choreography of water is illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 colour projectors. Each show is accompanied by popular melodies of world classical, modern and Arabic music.
In the evenings, between the performances, on the lake there are mini cruises. The lake is surrounded by shopping malls Dubai Mall (which we also visited) and the Souk Al Bahar, the pavilion of contemporary art, and near it is the luxurious Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard – the major restaurant street of Dubai.
'North pearl' of the Emirates
One of the places where we went was the Ras Al Khaimah emirate, where the actress was choosing a cozy cottage for her daughter and future son-in-law who fully trust their mother and mother-in-law. We chose a very beautiful cottage, I think the relatives of Elena liked it. And the location was chosen not by chance. I believe that this emirate will soon catch up with other the world's best vacation spots by its popularity. Here there are being built many luxurious hotels, sports complexes, resort areas.
Ras Al Khaimah is an emirate in the North of the UAE, which is gaining popularity among the tourists and known as 'Northern pearl'. This part of the country is easily accessible by car or public transport. What is more, there is an incredible variety of options for leisure activities — you can combine diving with air tours, fishing with horse riding, swimming in the warm curative springs with a descent from ' ice' slides at the local aqua park.
The 'highlight' Ras al-Khaimah was the healing warm springs in Hatta. The mineral water flow from a 30-meter depth and can cure a number of diseases. Ras Al Khaimah is decorated with a beautiful coastline stretching over 60 kilometres, all rugged with creeks, bays, islands. The view at the beach is better to admire from the boat. It is in this emirate you can see real Bedouins. In the Bassata desert village, the tourists are offered to taste fresh flat bread, ride a camel and can be invited to the show of the falcons.
The actress was fascinated with my children. When we spent two weeks with her in the Emirates, she asked that I took my younger kids (my youngest son was 2.5 years) and grandchildren
Date diversity and 'tsar-fish'
One of the objectives to visit the Emirates of Elena was the dates: she wanted very much to try different types of dates to feel the difference in their taste. Then I took her to a date market in Sharjah. Here she saw not 10-15 but hundreds of varieties of the fruit! My companion was dazzled. This diversity impressed her greatly. Interestingly, on the market, many people recognized her, came, took the autograph, asked to be photographed with her.
Why did she want the dates? The thing is that on the threshold of the trip she read that the virgin Mary (Maryam) before the birth of Jesus ate three fruits to gain strength. These fruits added strength, and she successfully gave birth to the child.
Then from a medical dictionary, Proklova has learned that if you eat three dates a day it will be enough to maintain health because they contain all the trace elements necessary for human life. In fact, it is such micro storehouse of nutrients. Besides, the Quran and the medical literature say a lot about the dates. Elena, having bought the fruits in the bazaar, said: 'From today there will always be dates on my table.'
I would like to add that the actress was fascinated with my children. When we spent two weeks with her in the Emirates, she asked that I took my younger kids (my youngest son was 2.5 years) and grandchildren. They played all the time with them, taught something, nursed. It was so moving.
On our last day, we bought a gorgeous red fish hamur, known as 'tsar-fish'. Elena cooked it very deliciously. We were sitting, eating the fish and watching the sunset. So was our farewell dinner.