Credit: Flickr / Artur Malinowski / CC BY 2.0
Abu Dhabi is a true symbol of luxury. Tourists usually conjure up skyscrapers, malls, and world-class hotels when thinking about this emirate. However, this region is not as simple as it may seem. Vibrant city life is combined with old oriental traditions. Its laws, traditions, culture, and history have many interesting subtleties. It’s impossible to cover all of them at once, but romancecompass.com prepared some facts that will significantly enlighten you on the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It’s also an archipelago, as it consists of about 200 islands stretching along the coastline.
- Abu Dhabi can be translated as father of the gazelle. It comes from the legend according to which the first settlers were hunting after a gazelle, which finally led them to the spring of freshwater. In reward for this, they decided not to kill the animal.
- Although officially Abu Dhabi was founded in 1790, the archaeologists found the traces of human habitation that date back to more than 3,000 years ago.
- The number of flowerbeds, parks, lawns, and green spaces is so abundant that you can easily forget that the desert is near. Thanks to the greenery the temperature in Abu Dhabi is a bit lower than outside the city.
- This is one of the safest cities in the world. The number of minor crimes and misdemeanours is very low, and felonies are few and far between.
- If you drop rubbish and it lands beside the bin, be ready pay a large fine.
- Even if you’re married for several years, it doesn’t give you the right to show off your feelings in the street. Walking hand in hand, you’ll attract condemnatory glances, and for kissing in public you may be imposed a fine.
- 500 meters off the coast, there is Saadiyat Island that is going to become a cultural and entertainment center. Currently, it is under construction. The affiliates of Louvre and the New York Guggenheim Museum, the Applied Art and Marine Museums will appear here. It is expected to be completed by 2020.
Facts for tourists
- If you have to spend a night at the Abu Dhabi airport, you can use free food coupons and shower stalls (take your towel with you because towels are not provided).
- One of the stages of Formula 1 takes place in Abu Dhabi. The winner can hardly be called lucky – he is sprayed with kid’s non-alcoholic champagne. This is what their religion requires.
- There are four types of taxis running in the city: silver, golden (the majority), white (old cars that soon will disappear), and pink (they are for women only, the drivers are women too).
- If you happen to have several spare thousand dollars, book a VIP-room in Emirates Palace to be served a coffee with golden crema.
- The number of fountains is slowly but surely increasing from 90 to 100. The most beautiful of them can be found along the Corniche seaside.
- If you a woman wants to visit the most sacred place in the UAE – Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, she will have to wear the national black dress and cover her face.
- There is a building that got on the Guinness World Records list as the most inclined building. The Capital Gate building is the Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi that attracts tourists as much as the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
- In order to see how the city of skyscrapers looked like in the “pre-oil” era in the UEA, visit the Abu Dhabi Heritage Village. It is a reconstructed oasis village that shows a traditional Arabic lifestyle. Actually, many realia are still present in the life of contemporary inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula.