Abu Dhabi, when translated literally means “Father of the gazelle” a probable reference to the gazelles that roam the wild here. The emirate has a recorded history that dates back to 3rd century BC especially around the towering Jebel Hafeet and the Al Hili region. Today, Abu Dhabi continues to be strategic as the seat of the government of the United Arab Emirates as well as home to its ruling family.
Setting high standards and trends
As the hub of government and culture in the UAE, Abu Dhabi is not shy when it comes to breaking records and setting trends. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a spectacular place of worship also boasts one of the world’s largest chandeliers and the largest hand-knotted carpet. The city is home to a pioneering hospital exclusively for falcons, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, a facility like no other. The Wadi Adventure boasts the world’s highest man-made wave and longest whitewater channel. Abu Dhabi is also home to the region’s first theme park and ice-skating rink. Ferrari World enjoys the distinction of being the world’s largest indoor theme park as well as the venue for the world’s fastest roller-coaster, the Formula Fossa. It’s also the only place where you can enjoy a luxurious high-tea at 300 meters above ground!
Abu Dhabi is a bustling metropolis that attracts tourists who come here not only for its attractions but also for its cultural ambience. From theme parks to gardens to beaches to desert camps, Abu Dhabi has it all. As surprising as it sounds, Abu Dhabi has several lush gardens like the Heritage Park and the Umm Al Emarat Park , thanks to the presence of the Al Ain oasis nearby. Animal lovers will love the Arabian Wildlife Park, Emirates Park Zoo and the Falcon Hospital. If you’re looking for a day of family fun, then you can spend a day each at the Yas Waterworld, Hili Fun City and the Al Bateen Beach. The adventurous will be thrilled at the Ferrari World, Yas Marina Circuit and Wadi Adventure at the foothills of the Jebel Hafeet, which in itself makes for a fascinating mountain drive.
Shopping and dining
Abu Dhabi is a shopper’s paradise with massive malls like the Al Wahda Mall and the distinctive Galleria that vie for visitors with global brands, luxury stores and innovative architecture. These malls also offer a range of world-class dining options and ethnic cuisines. However, if you’re on the lookout for authentic Emirati cuisine and experience, you cannot miss Mezlai within the Emirates Palace and Al Fanar at the Ritz-Carlton. You can also enjoy other regional flavors like Moroccan at Marakesh and Levantine at the Lebanese Flower. What you simply must try, are the shewarmas, local fast-food, available at casual eateries like the Shish Shewarma.