Abu Dhabi

No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we build, or how many bridges we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind the progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities can protect these foundations and who can progress and develop with them.

Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan

Any individual State however prominent cannot successfully face the challenges of the modern era except by enlightened scientific and cultural prosperity.

H. H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan

The civilized, advanced nation we seek to build and the sustainable development we are keen to achieve both require concerted efforts from all sectors of the community and from all public and private entities and organizations. They require consistent and harmonious work in order to achieve our goals and promote and underpin our nations status with its distinct role regionally and internationally.

H. H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan

The success of our Union thrived because it is a unique national model that distinctively reflects the needs of citizens rather than copying previous global models.

H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Meaning ‘Land of the Gazelle’ in Arabic, Abu Dhabi was founded when a young antelope led a wandering tribe to fresh water, on an island with no more than 300 palm (‘barasti’) huts, a few coral buildings and the Ruler’s fort. This simple island settlement has since been transformed into the modern, cosmopolitan city of Abu Dhabi and the high-rise capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven Emirates situated on the Arabian peninsula. The Emirate of Abu Dhabi has a population of 2.9 million and holds 9% of the world’s oil reserves and 5% of the world’s gas reserves. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE. However, today, 50.3% of Abu Dhabi’s total GDP is non-oil & gas related.

Parts of Abu Dhabi were settled as far back as the 3rd millennium BC, and its early history fits the region’s nomadic, herding and fishing patterns. The Arabian Gazelle is known locally as ‘Dhabi’, and gave its name to the country’s capital, Abu Dhabi (Father of the Gazelle) by the early Bani Yas tribe hunters who discovered the island when tracking a gazelle and found a rare freshwater spring.

The Abu Dhabi Plan is a reflection of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s legacy; a strategic blueprint that has been designed to guide the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s growth and development enabling Abu Dhabi to achieve its vision of a secure and confident society that aims to develop a competitive, sustainable and globally open economy.

Today the city is the country’s centre of political and industrial activities, and a major cultural and commercial centre, due to its position as the capital. Abu Dhabi accounts for about two-thirds of the roughly $400-billion United Arab Emirates economy.

Abu Dhabi houses federal government offices, is the seat of the United Arab Emirates Government, home to the Abu Dhabi Ruling Family and the President of the UAE, who is from this family. Abu Dhabi’s rapid development and urbanisation, coupled with the relatively high average income of its population, has transformed the city into a large and advanced metropolis.

The stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – One of the world’s most impressive landmarks

This architectural marvel, with a capacity for an astonishing 40,000 worshippers, features 80 domes, over 1,000 columns, gold plated chandeliers and the world’s largest hand woven carpet.







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Al Ain Oasis: UAE’s first curated UNESCO World Heritage site

The historic oasis sprawls across 3,000-acre and provides a unique insight into the region’s inhabitants who began taming the desert 4,000 years ago. With the construction of an educational Eco-Centre and an extensive system of shaded pathways that wind through some 147,000 date palms, the site houses up to 100 different varieties of vegetation. The site is shaped by a complex shared water supply, based on both wells and ‘falaj’, the UAE’s traditional irrigation system. Al Ain Oasis has plenty of working examples of the falaj that have been used for centuries to tap into underground wells.

Qasr Al Muwaiji: The birthplace of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan – the Father of the Nation

Qasr Al Muwaiji was built in the time of Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa the First (r. 1855-1909) by his son, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Khalifa. Later it became the home and administrative base for the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, when in 1946 he became the Ruler’s Representative in the Al Ain Region. His eldest son, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was born at Qasr Al Muwaiji two years later, and spent much of his youth there, learning from his father.

Located at the western approach to Al Ain city, Qasr Al Muwaiji has played an important role in the history of the United Arab Emirates and represents a fine example of early 20th century mud-brick architecture. When Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan became Ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1966, both he and his son, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, moved to Abu Dhabi. Beginning in the 1970s, the compound underwent several phases of restoration, culminating in a major regeneration project that has again made Qasr Al Muwaiji an important public space in Al Ain.

Qasr Al Hosn: The ancestral home of the Royal Family Al Nahyan and the symbolic heart of Abu Dhabi

Qasr Al Hosn has been home to the ruling family, the seat of government, a consultative council and a national archive; it now stands as the nation’s living memorial and the narrator of Abu Dhabi’s history. Qasr Al Hosn is part of a larger historic complex that also includes the National Consultative Council building and the Cultural Foundation.

Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest and most significant building in Abu Dhabi, holding the city’s first permanent structure; the watchtower. Built in the 1790, the commanding structure overlooked the coastal trade routes and protected the growing settlement established on the island. Transformed into a museum in 2018, Qasr Al Hosn is a national monument that encapsulates the development of Abu Dhabi from a settlement reliant on fishing and pearling in the 18th century, to a modern, global metropolis, with displays of artefacts and archival materials dating back to as far as 6000 BC.

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