Abu Dhabi was once a humble fishing village nestled between the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula and the glittering waters of the Arabian Gulf. From these small beginnings it has risen to be the capital and second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
It is not as in your face as its more grandiose neighbour, Dubai, meaning there is a somewhat less cosmopolitan feel to this spacious, green and easy-going capital. It is often called the ‘Arabian Jewel’ which is a deserved title given its pleasant mixture of modern luxury, fascinating heritage and beautiful coastlines.
One religious and architectural site worth seeing is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which was commissioned by the late UAE president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan with its design taking inspiration from across the Muslim world. Arab, Persian, Mughal and Moorish styles are fused into this gigantic structure that was built over a period of 11 years using materials and artisans from a multitude of countries. It is dominated by 82 domes and 4 minarets which stand over 100 feet tall. With a capacity of 40,000 people its beauty and vastness are a wonder to behold.
One historical site in the city is the Qasr al-Hosn palace which was built in 1761 and is the oldest stone building in Abu Dhabi. Often called the ‘White Fort’, due to its pristine white walls, this was the seat of the city’s governance until the 1960s. This former home of the ruling Al-Nahyan family is a reminder of the city’s history and provides a stark contrast to the thoroughly modern skyscrapers it now sits beneath.
Homage to the traditions of the region can be found in the Heritage Village. This open air museum allows you to walk through a reconstruction of a traditional oasis village and discover what life was like in Abu Dhabi’s past. Further to this, you can experience a taste of desert life in the Bedouin camp which is equipped campfire coffee pots and a real goats’ hair tent. Then head to the workshops which are dotted around the site to view and maybe have a go at the traditional metal work, pottery making and crafting of the Emirate.
A more modern attraction comes in the form of the world’s largest indoor theme park: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. This wild theme park is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. The Formula Rossa aims to recreate the Formula 1 cockpit experience by reaching speeds of 240km/h, making it the world’s fastest rollercoaster. It reaches this speed in less than 5 seconds, providing a G-Force of 1.7Gs and is truly a white knuckle ride. More can be covered such as the other attractions on Yas Island including Yas Waterworld, Yas Mall, Yas Marina Circuit & Golf Courses.
After visiting all the attractions a tourist can retire to one of the luxury hotels that populate the city or possibly head for relaxation on the beach. As it is situated on land jutting out into the ocean, Abu Dhabi is surrounded by a coastline of gloriously golden beaches. A lazy day at the beach accompanied with a dip in the deliciously warm waters of the Persian Gulf is a must for any trip. Snorkels are essential equipment so that the amazing marine life can truly be discovered.
From humble beginnings, Abu Dhabi has grown into a sprawling new world metropolis. A dynamic city that attracts tourists from all over the world, it offers glorious beaches and luxurious modern culture. Known as the Arabian Jewel, it also offers a look into the intriguing heritage of the United Arab Emirates. Today, the streets are lined with luxury hotels and you will get an unforgettable holiday with a trip to this rapidly advancing desert city.
Popular Attractions in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi has quickly grown into a city that continuously excites tourists from across the world. Found out more about a trip to the Emirate by calling Travelbag today on 0871 811 1597 Costs 11p/min + network extras.
Protection from the scorching Arabian sun is vital on any trip to the capital of the UAE. This means high factor sun cream is an absolutely necessary defence that should be supported with as many caps, collared shirts and sunglasses as you can carry.
The heat of the day will make any clothes that are tight and heavy an annoyance. Therefore, ditch the jeans and think about loose fitting trousers to go with loose linen or cotton shirts. The air conditioning in malls and restaurants will ensure that you are cool and won’t miss walking in public in beach wear. Make sure you pack some swimming gear so that you can take a dip (and possibly a snorkel) in the lovely waters of the Persian Gulf and of course in the hotel pool. If you are planning to visit any religious or cultural sites remember to pack some more conservative clothes so that you can respect the local customs while seeing the amazing sights.
As it is situated to on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, Abu Dhabi has a sub-tropical, arid climate. Year-round sunshine alongside beautifully blue skies and very little rainfall is to be expected.
In the summer the temperatures can reach well above 40°C in the day with it cooling off pleasantly during the evening and at night. Between November and April, the temperatures drop to an average of around 25°C in the day which makes those months very popular with tourists who want to avoid the blistering sunshine of other months of the year.
The most amount of rain falls between November and February, although it should be remembered that only 12cm of rain falls on the city per year. Regular sandstorms can hit the city from late May to early July.
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