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Blick aus dem Helikopter auf Abu Dhabi, Bild: Ali Suliman/shutterstock

Abu Dhabi – Modern desert oasis with a rich tradition

The Persian Gulf is an emirate that offers high-tech and state-of-the-art architecture, while taking care to preserve its traditional Arab heritage. Abu Dhabi is proud of its history and offers its visitors a wide range of leisure activities, picturesque nature and endless sandy beaches.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, Image: Sanchai Kumar/shutterstock

Abu Dhabi’s oil wealth has triggered a construction boom of superlatives. Futuristic buildings made of steel and glass and gigantic skyscrapers outdo each other here, striving for a symbiosis of high-tech and traditional Arabian architecture. This is particularly evident in the huge Emirates Palace Hotel, whose gold-coloured façade shines in an opulent play of colours at night. In addition, visitors marvel at the breathtaking Etihad Towers and Capital Gate, the “most intentionally inclined tower in the world” according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The Aldar Headquarters, the only round skyscraper in Arabia, is considered one of the most interesting office buildings in the world with its huge dimensions and unusual shape.

Abu Dhabi is a Mecca for motorsport fans. And not only because of the Yas Marina circuit, but also because of Ferrari World. The largest indoor amusement park in the world, where everything revolves around racing, is also home to the fastest roller coaster in the world.

View of Abu Dhabi from the helicopter, Image: Ali Suliman/shutterstock

Abu Dhabi may look to the future, but it retains its original culture and spirituality: the most impressive sacred building is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the largest Islamic houses of worship in the world, whose gleaming white domes are reflected in the surrounding pools. Here, visitors can also admire the largest hand-woven carpet in the world.

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Al Ain used to be an important oasis on the way to Oman and is now a UNESCO cultural site as well as an important testimony to the settlement of the Arabian desert region. Here you will also find the lavishly restored fortress of Qasr al Muwaiji and an authentic camel market, where you can watch – and above all listen – the traders haggling over the price.

Visitors looking for peace and relaxation in picturesque nature will also get their money’s worth in Abi Dhabi: Mangrove National Park is a huge nature reserve in the middle of the city with a lagoon where you can watch boating and water birds such as flamingos. Not far from Al Ain is Jebel Hafeet, the highest mountain in the emirate, where there are also archaeologically significant tombs. Numerous visitors come here for the thermal springs and the extensive cave systems.

With its 400 km of coastline, Abu Dhabi has always been an important port and fishing town, and even today there are many attractions by the sea. On the mirror-smooth waters of the Persian Gulf, you can still marvel at dhows, traditional Arabian sailing ships with their gleaming white sails. In addition, Abu Dhabu is a paradise for beach vacationers and impresses with the 8-kilometer-long public beach of Corniche, which has been awarded for its excellent water quality.

Futuristic architecture, a variety of well-preserved sights steeped in history, natural oases in the middle of the desert and bathing paradises on the golden coast make Abu Dhabi an unforgettable experience under the bright Arabian sun.

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Travel information Abu Dhabi

Capital Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates
Form of government Federal hereditary monarchy
Currency Dirham (DHS, international AED)
Area approx. 972 km²
Population 1.5 million (as of 2014)
Languages Arabic
Electricity grid 220/240 volts and 50Hz with three-pin sockets
Area code +971 – 2
Time zone CET+2h