Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population, and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western coast.
It may be said without exaggeration that both the capital city and the country came into existence and ran in full vigor thanks to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a ruler of Abu-Dhabi and the founder of the United Arab Emirates.
In the late 1950s, when oil was discovered in the region, it was Sheikh Zayed who understood the potential of that discovery and the necessity to build up a single state, politically sustainable and capable to manage the petroleum wealth in a prudent fashion.
In 1971, Sheikh Zayed, a diplomat by nature, managed to convince the other rulers of neighboring emirates to come to accord and establish the UAE. That same year he was appointed as the first president of the country, which he governed until his death in 2004.
Sheikh Zayed wasn’t a dedicated supporter of democracy in its western connotation. However, while pursuing a goal to create a prosperous and modern state, he conducted an open-door policy, allowing more rights for women, tolerating private media, churches, and temples of other than Islam faiths, etc. His far-sighted policy was highly regarded all over the world and triggered an influx of expatriate workers, who presently make up approximately three-quarters of the population of the UAE.
Abu Dhabi has grown to be a cosmopolitan metropolis. Its rapid development and urbanization, coupled with the relatively high average income of its population, have transformed Abu Dhabi into a large and advanced metropolis. Today, the city is the country’s center of political and industrial activities, along with being a major cultural and commercial force due to its position as the capital. The city proper has a population of 621,000 as recorded in 2012.
As one of the world’s largest producers of oil, Abu Dhabi has actively attempted to diversify its economy in recent years through investments in financial services and tourism.
Abu Dhabi is the second most expensive city for expatriate employees in the region, and is the 67th most expensive city in the world.According to Fortune Magazine, Abu Dhabi is the richest city in the world.
This architectural work of art is one of the world’s largest mosques, with a capacity for an astonishing 41,000 worshippers. It features 82 domes, over 1,000 columns, 24-carat gold-gilded chandeliers, and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet.
Reflective pools surround the mosque, amplifying its beauty. The striking white and gold colors shining in the sun are transformed at night by a unique lighting system which reflects the phases of the moon.
The Corniche Road spreads across an impressive eight kilometers of manicured waterfront that includes children’s play areas, separate cycle and pedestrian pathways, cafés and restaurants, and the Corniche Beach—a lifeguarded beach park which accommodates some 30,000-50,000 visitors monthly.
Abu Dhabi’s pristine Corniche beachfront has been awarded the coveted Blue Flag status—the internationally renowned eco-label for beaches and marinas that guarantees clean and safe bathing water.
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is the world’s first Ferrari theme park and the largest attraction of its kind. The park tells the Ferrari story with passion and excitement through more than 20 exhilarating and educational rides and attractions, interactive shopping, and authentic Italian dining experiences.
Beneath its huge, iconic red roof, attractions are numerous: Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster, reaching speeds of 240 km/h; Galleria Ferrari, the world’s largest Ferrari gallery outside Maranello with an interactive display of cars from 1947 through to the present; Speed of Magic, a fantastic 4-D adventure through deep green jungles, icy caves and ravines and to the mouth of a fiery volcano. Those wanting to start their Ferrari World Abu Dhabi experience in top gear will get their adrenaline fix at G-Force blasting through the red roof, before dropping from a hair-raising height of 62 meters.
This impressive oasis is filled with palm plantations, many of which are still working farms.
Employing a 3,000-year-old falaj irrigation system, the Al Ain Oasis features a series of mesmerizing water channels that give life to the palm plantations in this inner-city paradise. Spread over 1,200 hectares (nearly 3,000 acres) and containing more than 147,000 date palms of up to 100 different varieties, the oasis allows one to choose among eight separate entrances to explore how countless generations have tapped into the underground wells to keep the beautiful city green.
Almost a fairytale from “1001 Nights,” this magnificent resort seems to spring out of nowhere, a luxurious oasis in the midst of the mystic Liwa Desert. Set in the middle of the Rub’ al Khali or Empty Quarter which is the largest uninterrupted sand mass in the world, the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is isolated from the outside world, yet is less than 200 km away from Abu Dhabi.
The resort brings the mysticism of this eminent location to life, inviting visitors to discover the unique appeal of its surroundings, enjoy an array of facilities and desert experiences, and immerse themselves in the wonderful splendor of an eternally changing landscape.
(Published by Explorer Publishing)
Getting a visa to enter Abu Dhabi is pretty straightforward, but can vary greatly between different nationalities, with requirements often changing without warning. Check out the Ministry of Information website at www.uaeinteract.com, and also check with your nearest UAE embassy, which can give you up-to-date information.
The allure of a tax-free salary still draws in expats. Although the increased cost of living means less disposable income, good packages can still be found. Basic benefits, regardless of employment package, usually include around 30 calendar days of leave a year, and most organizations include annual flights back to your home country.
The UAE government is strongly encouraging the private sector to give preference to Nationals when employing staff for white-collar management positions—a process referred to as Emiratisation.
A quota system is in place for the insurance, banking, and trade sectors, and the number of Emiratis employed has gone up by as much as 300 percent in some sectors. This, of course, can make it more difficult for expat workers to find a job in these areas, but if you have the right skills there are still plenty of employment opportunities out there.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an important producer of natural gas and oil, ranking seventh globally in total proven reserves of both.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
UAE has 97.8 billion barrels as of January 1, 2011, making up seven percent of global oil reserves.
Source: Oil and Gas Journal
The UAE has been able to maintain its proven reserves over the last decade primarily due to enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technologies increasing extraction rates of mature oil projects combined with higher oil prices making more reserves commercially viable.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
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