Abu Dhabi reveals its assets in the world. Less media than its neighbor Dubai, the capital of the capital of the United Arabic Emirates is increasingly attracting attentions more and more, and become a destination of tomorrow with its mega projects turned towards the luxury and culture.
It seems the houses made of branches and leaves of palm trees far in the time left their places to glittering buildings. It is however only enough to go back fifty years behind, to find the fishing village of beads and wooden vessels, on the outskirts of the desert.
The discovery of oil in 60s and the vision of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan - ruler of Abu Dhabi and founding father of the United Arab Emirates (December 2, 1971) - has radically changed the situation. Abu Dhabi has done a giant leap into the third millennium.
Today, the traditional houses left the place to a field of skyscrapers and the skyline decorates the coast of the city. Starring: the ADIA Tower (Abu Dhabi Investment Authority), the highest building in the city, rises to 200 meters. In his foot “the corniche ", relaxing green space with picnic areas, games and walks, along the sea on 8 km.
At the end of the avenue: the impressive Emirates Palace, this 5-star hotel, self-proclaimed 7, of 394 rooms and suites opened in December 2005, spread over a park of 100 hectares. The building alone occupies 25 hectares.
To find traces of the past, it should be at the center of the city, between buildings with smoked glass, to visit the oldest monument of the city (1793): al Hosn Fort (Qasr al-Hosn), also known as the “white fort”, which was housing the source of water of Abu Dhabi at the origin.
Just at side, the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation hosts, in particular, the institute of arts and culture. Another vision of the past, the Heritage Village, located across from the Skyline, next souvenir shops, is an authentic replica of a Bedouin encampment and the traditional emirate lifestyle.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque: a white box of a thousand treasures and the most imposing religious and national landmark in Abu Dhabi to date. Melted in the urban landscape, a multitude of mosques cross the glances of the visitors regularly. Essential: the vast Sheikh Zayed Mosque, which opened its doors to travelers in early 2008.
Only place of worship open to non-Muslims, this huge white box, is one of the largest mosques in the world. It has many treasures. Realize by artisans from around the world, the building houses the largest carpet in the world (5,625 square meters), sewn and embroidered by hand for 2 years by 1200 Iranian weavers. To illuminate it: several chandeliers, the largest in the world composed from Crystal Swarovski.
Outside, the 1096 columns are adorned with over 20 000 pieces of handmade marble and semi-precious stone. Finally, the main dome is one of the largest in the world with a diameter of 33 meters and a height of 70 meters.
Abu Dhabi: the sea and the desert. The Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which alone covers over 85% of the UAE, also offers a great playground for tourists. The desert, the sea and 200 natural islands should satisfy fans of 4x4 safaris, skiing on sand, camels riding, and water sports. Lovers of small white balls will not be left as there are 3 golf courses including the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
Finally, the city will appeal to Shopping addicts (national sport of the Emirates). Two addresses essential: the Marina Mall and Abu Dhabi Mall, which is currently the largest mall in the Abu Dhabi Emirate. For jewelry, visit the Madinat Zayed Gold Souk in the business district.
It will be understood, Abu Dhabi guides its development towards tourism. In 2006, Emirates has welcomed over 1.3 million visitors. By 2015, it intends to attract 3 million.