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Abu Dhabi - A Unique And Captivating Destination

Jan 15, 2008
Abu Dhabi, literally meaning 'the Father of Gazelle,' is the wealthiest as well as the largest of all the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE.) It covers about 85 percent of the overall landmass of the nation.

Once a typical village, Abu Dhabi has now been transformed into a top class international resort with remarkable skyline, state of the art infrastructure, upscale hotels, splendid villas, and high-end shopping complexes, since its founding of the large amount of revenues from oil, about 50 years ago.

The capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi is the center of administration, commerce, and trade in the nation, and is perhaps the world's richest city. Located in the heart of the Middle East, Abu Dhabi is not only one of the world's most prominent tourist destinations but also it is home to people from several nations. Al though a modern settlement, Abu Dhabi is much favored for its traditional desert ambience as well as unique culture.

Attractions in Abu Dhabi range from elegant forts and stunning mosques with domes and minarets to cultural villages and interesting museums and zoo. Perhaps the most popular among the landmarks in Abu Dhabi is the Al Hosn Palace, popularly known as the White Fort. Erected during the 18th century as the ruling family's residence, the palace stands out for its stunning courtyard and stupendous tile works found on the main gate.

Housed within the palace is a museum, with several sections such as natural history area with exhibits that are related to desert animals and historical section featuring displays dating back to historic period, apart from several other artifacts including pottery. Displayed on the tower of the palace are weapons used during the past times. Adjacent to the palace is a modern complex designed and built in traditional style, namely, Cultural Foundation - the center of cultural life in Abu Dhabi. It is also home to the Center for Documentation and Research, under the control of the Cultural Foundation. The center, in turn, has on display an array of documents that throw light on the rich history and heritage.

Situated in the heart of Abu Dhabi on the Breakwater is the Heritage Village, which provides a deep insight into the tradition as well as lifestyle of Bedouin. In other words, taking a visit to the village is a great way to have an idea on how people lived here prior to the discovery of the oil reserves.

Among the specialties of this attraction are ancient type courtyard houses built with brick, traditional mosques, wind towers, ancient irrigation system, and shopping in traditional style market. Even opportunities are made available for a camel ride. A museum can also be seen here, where a selection of items collected from bygone era such as Holy Quran, coins, jewelry, and weapons are displayed.

One can also see here people engaged in different types of traditional skills. Another great attraction in Abu Dhabi is the Corniche, a well-maintained area which is considered the most pictorial sites in the destination. Apart from these, tree-lined boulevards, serene parks, and well-manicured roundabouts, also form part of the city's attractions.

Abu Dhabi is also within easy reach of such landmarks in the country as Liwa Oasis, which is one of the largest of its kind in Arabia and consisting of date plantations as well as refreshing water pools; Jabel Hafit, a rocky mountain much famed for its rare flora and fauna, interesting caves, archeological sites, and above all, the health resort of Ain Al Fayda; Al Ain Museum, the largest museum in the country, with exhibits such as Bedouin items, ancient stone instruments, and relics revealed from Fossil Valley; Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium, a must-see attraction for wild life lovers, since it has animals collected from all over the world; and Qattarah Oasis, a tranquil area noted for its fruit orchards and date palms.

Above all, the activities that can be enjoyed in Abu Dhabi are endless, from shopping in the chic shopping malls to quibbling in the traditional market, roaming in a luxurious limo to riding in a camel in the desert, and dining in first class restaurants serving multi cuisines to sampling authentic as well as sumptuous Arabic cuisine.

It is no wonder why people from every nook and corner of the world visit here year round. Hence, Abu Dhabi has accommodation options to cater to every taste and budget. No matter it is for business or conference needs, honeymoon, or for leisurely purposes, the city has superb choices.
About the Author
Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently owns and manages 54 hotels under Shangri-La and Traders brands with a rooms inventory of over 27,000. Shangri-La hotels are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services.
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