Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates after Dubai, and also capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the UAE’s seven emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western coast. The city proper had a population of 1.5 million in 2014.
Abu Dhabi is full of archaeological evidence that points to civilisations, such as the Umm an-Nar Culture, having been located there from the third millennium BCE. Settlements were also found farther outside the modern city of Abu Dhabi but closer to the modern city of Al Ain. There is evidence of civilisations around the mountain of Hafeet. This location is very strategic because it is the UAE’s second tallest mountain, so it would have great visibility. In the 1930s, as the pearl trade declined, interest grew in the oil possibilities of the region. On 5 January 1936, Petroleum Development Trucial Coast Ltd or PDTC, an associate company of the Iraq Petroleum Company, entered into a concession agreement with the ruler, Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan al Nahyan, to explore for oil. This was followed by a seventy-five-year concession signed in January 1939.
The UAE’s large hydrocarbon wealth gives it one of the highest GDP per capita in the world and Abu Dhabi owns the majority of these resources – 95% of the oil and 92% of gas. Abu Dhabi thus holds 9% of the world’s proven oil reserves (98.2 billion barrels) and almost 5% of the world’s natural gas (5.8 billion cubic metres or 200 billion cubic feet). Oil production in the UAE was in the region of 2.3 million barrels per day in 2010, and projects are in progress to boost production to 3 million barrel per day.
Places to visit
Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The 6th largest mosque in the world. There are guided tours of the interior several times a day. Note that there is a dress code quite strict for women less so for men. You can easily get there by public bus. Ask the bus driver to let you know once you get there.
Flagpole. At 123m, this is among the world’s tallest flagpoles, and you won’t miss the massive UAE flag hanging off it. On Marina Island across from Marina Mall.
Things to do
Some hotels also offer dance lessons, aerobics classes, and other physical entertainment.
Al Safa Park is one of the oldest in Abu Dhabi. It’s a favorite for sports enthusiasts, and many visitors enjoy playing tennis, volleyball, and soccer. Children love playing games in the video arcade, or riding the ferris wheel and bumper cars.
Abu Dhabi Classics Run Charity event, proceeds go to music education and diabetes prevention programs.