Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Its name means “father of the gazelle”. At one time the deserts of the Emirates were populated by gazelles, better known in the local language as “dhabi”. The capital of the Emirates and the largest and most populated of the seven monarchies that make up the Federation of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is located in the northeastern part of the Arabian Gulf. Much of the city and its suburbs is on an island located less than 250 meters from the mainland where suburbs flourish. Four bridges, the Maqta, the Mussafah, the Khalifa and Sheikh Zayed Bridge, connect the island with the mainland. Although the first human settlements in the area date back to the fifth millennium.B.C., the origin of today's Abu Dhabi is linked to the colonization implemented by the Bani Yas Bedouin tribal confederation in the 700’s. Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the current Sheikh of Abu Dhabi and President of the Federation is in fact a descendant from the Al Nahyan, a branch of this confederation.
Shortly after the middle 900’s, large deposits of oil and natural gas were discovered, transforming Abu Dhabi from a city devoted to agriculture, farming and the pearl trade into one of the richest and most powerful cities in the world. The rise of Abu Dhabi as the main political, administrative and financial center of the country coincided with the government of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He was the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi from 1966 to 2004 and President of the Federation from 1971 to 2004, the year of his death. The city’s economic boom led to an exponential rise in its population and the birth of a significant tourism industry. The wide variety of events, whether they be religious, sports oriented, or cultural and the luxurious accommodations available to travelers brought a steady stream of tourists to Abu Dhabi. The best time for a vacation is between November and April when the weather is mild. During the summer, however, when the weather is more humid, the city is still very active. To temper the subtropical aridity of Abu Dhabi, city planners have created numerous tree-lined avenues, gardens and parks with fountains.
Abu Dhabi owns more than 90% of the oil in the UAE, accounting for 9% of the world’s oil reserves. The main place of worship is Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque & it’s the third largest mosque in the world. The city is also noteworthy for the many prestigious sporting events it holds. Since 2009, the Yas Marina circuit hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix, while the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex is home to a popular exhibition game that serves as a prologue to the ATP season