Emerging Destinations: Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Given our natural curiosity, our ease with different cultures, and a willingness to trust, Canadians have been known to venture off-the-beaten-track in search of the most authentic travel experiences.

Such adventures, say vacation pundits, are readily found in “emerging destinations”, a reference to the undiscovered up-and-coming places now emerging into the global spotlight. It is, in places like these, where authenticity is found in simple happenstance.

Abu Dhabi is sated with archaeological verification and substantiating evidence of civilizations having been located there from the 3rd millennium BCE. Settlements were also found in proximity to the modern city of Al Ain. There is also evidence of civilizations around the mountain of Hafeet (Jebel Hafeet). This location was strategic because it is the UAE’s second tallest mountain so it would have great visibility and it contains a lot of moisture in the form of springs and lakes today, which means there would have been even more back thousands of years ago.

The Bani Yas Bedouin tribe made their civilization off the coast of the Persian Gulf in the 16th century due to the discovery of fresh water. This tribe was the most significant in the area, having over 20 subsections. The tribe was originally centered in the Liwa Oasis but the Al Bu Falah subsection migrated to modern Abu Dhabi in 1793. One section within this subsection was named the Al Nahyan Family. This family makes up the rulers of Abu Dhabi today.

Situated on the North East coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Abu Dhabi (which, translated literally, means Father of Gazelle) is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and the largest of the seven emirates, which form the federation of the UAE. With a population of some 1,600,000 inhabitants and a land area of 67,000 square kilometres, Abu Dhabi is the largest as well as the most populated of all the Emirates.

Given that Abu Dhabi possesses ten percent of the world’s oil, the generated income has been purposely invested to create a first class infrastructure and flourishing modern metropolis. At the same time great effort has been taken to protect Abu Dhabi’s natural scenic beauty and to preserve the authentic spirit of Arabia. Stretching south to the green oases of Liwa lies some of the world’s largest sand dunes and to the east is the ancient oasis of Al Ain. In addition there are nearly 200 islands around Abu Dhabi, offering some of the most natural untouched beaches in the region.

The city is a unique mix of traditional Arabian charm and cosmopolitan sophistication. Fortune magazine and CNN have stated that Abu Dhabi is the richest city in the world, so you can expect nothing less than grandeur. In fact, Abu Dhabi Tourism refers to Abu Dhabi as a “Destination of Distinction”.

The UAE lies on the south-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and west and the Sultanate of Oman to the southeast, while Qatar lies to the northwest. The United Arab Emirates is a rapidly diversifying society that has successfully integrated its core Islamic values into an ambitious economic agenda. This economic prosperity, coupled with a liberal business and social environment, ensures that people from nearly every country in the world will continue to come here to visit.

Did you know …

  • The national dress for women in Abu Dhabi is full length black abba, while for men; it is a long white robe or dishdasha.
  • Yas Island in Abu Dhabi is strategically situated between the city of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the coast. This exquisite island is features resort hotels, lush golf courses, theme parks and mega sized malls. Yas Island is where to find the famous Formula 1 Racing Circuit.

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