Abu Dhabi, often viewed as the Garden City, literally means the father of the gazelle and is named after one of the symbols of the UAE, the graceful gazelle. Abu Dhabi’s history stretches back to the third millennium BC with evidence of settlements from different civilizations dotted within the city and around the entire emirate. In 1761, water reservoirs are discovered on Abu Dhabi Island and Islamic settlements begin with the construction of the Qasr Al Hosn. Today Qasr Al Hosn is the capital’s oldest stone monument. With the discovery of oil in the 1960’s the then ruler Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan appoints Japanese architect Katsuhiko Takahashi to plan a modern city for the 40,000, population recorded at the time. Eventually the city skyline evolves to include sky scrapers, architectural wonders, palaces, malls and luxury hotels. The architecture of the city reflects the welcoming culture of Abu Dhabi and is a mix of Arab heritage, modernism and the epitome of luxury.
The city hosts landmarks such as the Arabian inspired Emirates Palace Hotel, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Founder’s Memorial the monument and centre dedicated to the memory of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Qasr al Watan Presidential Palace amongst others.
Under the directive of the then ruler Sheikh Shakhbut Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the foundation of the first church St Joseph’s Cathedral was laid in 1962 with land donated by the ruler. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan continued throughout his rule to donate lands for the construction of other houses of worship. In 2019, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan orders the building of the multi-faith “Abrahamic House” which not only hosts a mosque and a church but the country’s first official synagogue. A traditional Hindu Temple is also planned along with additional Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches.
The Heritage Village on the Abu Dhabi Corniche Breakwater offers a unique opportunity to learn about age old desert traditions and watch skilled craftsmen and women creating stunning pottering, weaving and metalwork. Visitors can also pick a perfect gift or two for those back home.
While Abu Dhabi Island certainly has a lot to offer, Yas Island is home to Ferrari World and Yas Links a world class golfing resort while Saadiyat hosts the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Abrahamic House and the future Guggenheim Museum and Sheikh Zayed Museum. Both islands are ideal for shopping with mega malls offering the latest trends and fashions from global brands.
Abu Dhabi Emirate includes around 200 islands and is the perfect playground for water sports of every kind. You can also enjoy a day dhow cruise, fishing and much more.