The emirate of Abu Dhabi is by far the largest and richest of the seven United Arab Emirates (UAE). The capital of the same name is also the capital of the UAE. The name Abu Dhabi means "father of the gazelle" in Arabic.
Population and area
In mid-2015, according to official estimates, almost 2,8 million people lived in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Around 1,2 million live in the capital, Abu Dhabi City. The metropolis was built on a 70 square kilometer main island in the mangrove belt of the Persian Gulf. Additional settlement space is provided by a ring of offshore islands, some of which have been artificially washed up. The second largest city in the 73.060 square kilometer emirate is al-Ain. Approximately 500.000 people live there. Mostly sandy desert stretches between the two cities.
Abu Dhabi skyline
The emirate was established more than 200 years ago. In 1791, members of the Bedouin tribe of the "Bani Yas" founded a settlement at a freshwater spring. Four years later, the Qasr Al Hosn fort was built to protect the settlement. The sheikdom achieved relative prosperity through pearl fishing and pearl trade. In 1833 the settlement already had 12.000 inhabitants. The advent of Japanese cultured pearls in the 1930s caused the pearl business in Abu Dhabi to collapse. The emirate became impoverished. In the 1950s there were no public schools in Abu Dhabi apart from a simple Koran school. At the beginning of the 1960s, what is now the magnificent capital of the emirate consisted of modest houses. Most buildings lacked electricity and sewerage. With the start of oil production, the emirate changed. It achieved immense prosperity, and Abu Dhabi's metropolis was developed on the basis of a master plan in the form of a grid.
A bird's eye view of Abu Dhabi
Economy, finance and transport
Thanks to its abundant crude oil and gas reserves, Abu Dhabi is the wealthiest of the seven emirates. According to a report, the country's reserves will last for the next 150 years. The metropolis of Abu Dhabi City has inexorably developed into one of the richest cities in the world since the start of oil and gas production.
Skyscraper in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi's skyline
In order to survive and to secure prosperity, the emirate invests in shipyards, ports and airports, healthcare, education and the expansion of transport routes. Abu Dhabi has long been aiming to become the hub of industrialization in the Middle East. In addition, the sheikdom relies on tourism, trade and finance. Abu Dhabi manages the third largest sovereign wealth fund in the world after Norway and the People's Republic of China. The Emirates' fund assets were valued at $ 2017 billion in 697.
Abu Dhabi City has an international airport, an efficient port and a well-developed road network. To calm traffic and for reasons of environmental protection, the government is planning to build a metro and some tram feeder lines for the metropolis.
Abu Dhabi - port facilities
Education and culture
As mentioned at the beginning, there were no public schools in the 1950s. With the oil production and growing prosperity, this situation changed. The first university in the UAE was founded in 1976 in al-Ain. Abu Dhabi City and the oasis city separate 180 kilometers. The emirate currently has a minimum of eleven renowned national and international universities.
Abu Dhabi prides itself on its Islamic culture rooted in the traditions of the Arab world. One of the highlights of the emirate is al-Ain, one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world. The UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises six oases and the archaeological sites of Bida bint Saud, Hafeet and Hili. UNESCO praises 4.500 year old, round stone graves, fountains and numerous buildings made of adobe bricks: houses, towers, palaces and administrative buildings.
Another gem of the state is the spectacular Sheik Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi City.
Abu Dhabi - Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque
Abu Dhabi's cultural center is being built on the 27 square kilometer Saadiyat island opposite the berth for the cruise ships. Once the development work is complete, Saadiyat will be home to 145.000 people, surrounded by several cultural institutions and three outstanding museums. An existing highlight is the Louvre Abu Dhabi
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Louvre Abu Dhabi - detail
Abu Dhabi for crusaders
Abu Dhabi's marketing strategists insist on the country's maritime history. Before the discovery of oil, Abu Dhabi's seafarers sailed on simple Arab dhows as far as East Africa to sell dates, pearls and mangrove wood. Today, cruise lines regularly call at the Al Mina cruise terminal.
Abu Dhabi - cruise terminal
Under Abu Dhabi attractions we present the most important attractions of the city.