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Welcome to Abu Dhabi

Welcome to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and a vibrant and fast-growing city that combines state of the art facilities and infrastructure, some of the biggest names in leisure and entertainment, as well as a glimpse into an ancient and endlessly fascinating past.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque
© The National

Here you will find the historic Qasr Al Hosn, the 200 year-old fortified palace that was once the home of the Rulers of Abu Dhabi and is now being restored to its former glory.

In what is already one of the world’s most talked about cultural events, the spectacular Louvre Abu Dhabi museum is due to open its doors in 2017, with a collection that encompasses Egyptian carvings to works by Leonardo Da Vinci and Picasso.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first of three museums that will create a new cultural district on Saadiyat Island, also home to the campus of New York University Abu Dhabi and some of the city’s best beaches.

In the heart of the city, bargain hunters can head to the gold shops on bustling Hamdan Street or enjoy the local restaurants that are testimony to the truly international flavour of Abu Dhabi.

Child riding a scooter in a park
© The National

In the evenings and at weekends, families stroll and cycle among the landscaped gardens and fountains of the Corniche, home to the city’s longest public beach, and a six kilometre link between the old souqs of Mina Zayed and the fabulous Emirates Palace hotel, where the walls, and even the cappuccinos, feature real gold leaf.

Yas Island, just a bus ride from the city, is home to the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix, but for year-long thrills, there is Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World, with the steepest and fastest roller coasters in the world.

Majestic architecture is also the signature of Abu Dhabi, from the huge coin-shaped Aldar headquarters, visible on your way into the city, to the sweeping curves of Zaha Hadid’s Sheikh Zayed Bridge, a gateway to the island of Abu Dhabi and watched over by the centuries-old Maqta guard tower.

Emirate Palace and Nation Tower c. TCA
© The National

Above all, there is the magnificent Zayed Grand Mosque, an oasis of tranquillity and reflection that is open to all faiths. The mosque, whose architecture echoes the global diversity of Islam, is named in memory of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, father of the nation; the first President of the UAE and the architect of the city that rises so spectacularly around you.