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Abu Dhabi - Quick Facts

Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the United Arab Emirates which is made up of 7 Emirates. They are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Ajman. With a population of approximately 2,000,000 people, Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven emirates. With its relaxed and distinctly Arabian culture, this city has become a wealthy metropolitan area filled with gardens and tall glass buildings. Abu Dhabi combines Arabian culture and heritage with cosmopolitan charm. Although rich in oil, Abu Dhabi’s growing tourism industry has enabled this city to apply its strong tradition of hospitality to good effect, offering unspoiled beaches, tranquil deserts and more. Location Abu Dhabi city is on an island located less than a kilometer from the mainland and is joined to the mainland by Maqta and Mussafah bridges. Government The UAE became independent as the federation of Arab Emirates in 1971, under the leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The highest political authority in the federal government is the Supreme Council, which is made up of the seven rulers of the Emirates. In addition to creating UAE policy, the Supreme Council elects a president who serves a five-year term. There is generally no limit to the number of terms a president may preside. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan served as President from the creation of the federation until his death in late 2004 when Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected President. Each Emirate also has its own local government, consisting of municipalities and departments, so that each one retains a good deal of political and financial autonomy; a fact that has contributed greatly to the remarkable success of the federation. Infrastructure Abu Dhabi is a modern city with wide boulevards, tall office and apartment buildings and busy malls. It has been developed with numerous parks and gardens as well as tree-lined streets. One of the famous Abu Dhabi landmarks, the Corniche is an example of this. Other landmarks in the city include the Old Fort, head quarters of oil companies and the Cultural Foundation. Many are architectural landmarks such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority building and the Emirates Palace Hotel. Various local and international hotels have been developed widely throughout Abu Dhabi to meet the demands of tourism in the capital city. Ranging from boutique to 5 and 6 star hotels, international brands from all over the world have set up in this modern oasis. Zayed Port, known mainly as Mina Zayed is a very important and famous part of Abu Dhabi. It is Abu Dhabi’s main gateway to the outside world and one of the most important seaports in the UAE. Since 1991, major shipping lines have been encouraged to use Mina Zayed regularly. Nowadays, approximately 4 million tonnes of cargo is handled annually at this main port. Abu Dhabi is a very family oriented city. There are activities for people of all ages in Abu Dhabi, mainly based around family. Clubs such as Equestrian, Marine sports, Golf and general sports clubs encourage healthy physical activity. Cultural foundations teach locals and foreigners alike about the heritage of the UAE and life in the past. Gourmet restaurants and cafes are spread widely throughout Abu Dhabi enabling the different cultures living in this city to sample different international and local cuisines. Shopping is one of the main activities as many famous brands from all over the world have set up branches in this growing city. As Abu Dhabi has developed many parks, children’s playgrounds are widely accessible. Places such as the famous newly renovated Corniche have provided all members of the family with exercise opportunities, childrens play grounds, relaxing cafes and more, right by the beautiful water of the Arabian Gulf Sea. Cultural identity in the United Arab Emirates today is a rich blend of traditional Arab, Islamic and contemporary elements. Many of the things we call cultural or traditional today were in the past essential tools for man’s survival in the harsh desert climate. A staple part of the UAE’s diet in the olden days included dates, fish, bird eggs and desert animals. The tribes would use camels and horses for transportation and used falconry to hunt desert animals. Their time was spent minding their date crops, fishing, pearling, hunting with falcons, building traditional Dhows and traveling through the desert to look for grazing grounds for their camels. For recreation, singing, dancing and reciting poetry (Nabati poetry) were extremely popular. The local Arabian Coffee has today become a sought after popular beverage with locals and tourists alike. Technology advancement has also been absorbed into this capital city, making it a hub for information. Major newspapers in English and Arabic provide residents with political, business, local and international news. Television programs and cable television are not only shown within Abu Dhabi but local programs, news and snippets of the UAE culture are broadcast overseas, spreading the reality of Abu Dhabi to foreigners abroad.

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