A roundabout in Sharjah is among the most fascinating places in the UAE, according to a recent Wikipedia study.
The report from adventure tour operator Explore Worldwide, which was carried out earlier this year, analysed 1.2 million articles from the public platform to reveal the world's most “interesting” places.
Wikipedia articles that detail an event or building in a specific place, such as ancient ruins or important landmarks, are all tagged with a “primary location” and Explore's data experts reviewed these codes to create the list.
These were all given an “interest weighting score” to reduce bias caused by the platform being a primarily English-based online encyclopaedia with ties to the US. This considers the internet access of each country, how widely spoken English is in each country and the activity of each nation's Wikipedia page, with additional restrictions applied to the US, Canada, UK and Australia.
While the UAE didn't make the top 10 overall, which was dominated by North America, Dubai ranked highest within the country data, it has been revealed.
In Dubai, it was the city's list of sky-high landmarks and buildings that have captured the globe's attention most, as well as its festivals and art galleries. It received an interest score of 274.
Sharjah was the second-most tagged Wikipedia location within the UAE, with a score of 262, thanks to its Smile, You're in Sharjah roundabout, a marketing slogan from the emirate that dates back to the 1970s. The Mahatta Fort and the Heart of Sharjah renovation project also ranked highly.
In third place came Abu Dhabi, with a score of 143, with articles of interest including those about various banking and financial landmarks in the capital, as well as Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Presidential Palace and Qasr Al Hosn, the city's oldest building.
Dhaka in Bangladesh came in sixth overall and second within Asia, with articles noting its vastness and the incredible growth of the city in the last 50 years.
Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore and Longyearbyen in Norway's Svalbard archipelago – the world's northernmost settlement – round out the top 10. The difference in interest scores between New York and Longyearbyen was 5,431 and 1,183.
“Immersing yourself in a place’s history, stepping into the actual buildings and seeing the grounds where historically significant events took place, is one of the most important parts of travel for us,” said Ben Ittensohn, regional director at Explore Worldwide. “So, to inspire some cultural wanderlust both in Europe and further afield, we’ve turned to the internet’s biggest encyclopaedia to reveal the places in the world that have the most Wikipedia pages associated with them.
“Whether it’s a wealth of museums or galleries, political history, sports teams, historical significance or beautiful parks and gardens, the destinations highlighted in our new study provide explorers with plenty of interesting sites and scenes to discover.”