Capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is a well-organized and hardworking city with a beautiful waterfront location. First inhabited by the nomadic tribe of Bani Yas in 1760, the settlement remained a small fishing village until oil was discovered. Revenue transformed Abu Dhabi into today’s modern city, a bustling center of government and business.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the main tourist attraction and surprises everyone who visits it. But the city is also a good base for excursions to the desert landscapes of Liwa Oasis and the oasis city of Al Ain. Find the best things to do with our list of the main attractions in Abu Dhabi.
Map of Abu Dhabi :
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi :
Rising majestically from well-kept gardens and visible from the bridges that link the island of Abu Dhabi with the mainland, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is an impressive welcome to the city. With more than 80 marble domes on a roofline supported by 1000 pillars and punctuated by four 107 m high minarets, it is a masterpiece of modern Islamic architecture and design.
Imagine Sheikh Zayed and by identifying its final resting place, the mosque is open to some non-Muslims in the region.
More than 90,000 tons of pure white marble from the Republic of Macedonia were used in its construction. Delicate floral motifs inlaid with semi-precious stones, such as lapis lazuli, abalone, red agate, jasper, amethyst, and mother-of-pearl, decorate a variety of marbles and contrast with the geometric ceramic details more traditional.
While it includes references to the Mamluk, Ottoman, Fatimid, Arabic and Indo-Islamic styles, the overwhelming impression is contemporary and innovative. Inside, three steel, gold, brass and crystal chandeliers fill the main prayer hall with primary colored lights. The candlesticks, the largest of which weighs approximately 11 tons, shine with Swarovski crystals and shine with 40 kg of 24 karats galvanized gold.
One of the most impressive features of the prayer hall is the largest loom carpet in the world, made of Iranian cotton and New Zealand wool and carried from Mashad, Iran, on two planes. The design of the medallion with elaborate Arabesque motifs took two years to complete 1200 artisans, half of whom were spent in hand-knotting the 5700 square meters of wool yarn on a cotton base. That translates into 2,268 million knots!
Visitors can enter the mosque, except during prayer times. A free and valuable 45-minute guided tour (in English and Arabic) helps explain some fundamental principles of Islam while highlighting some of the stylistic highlights from the inside (otherwise, full audio tours are available in 11 languages). The mosque’s label requires that all visitors wear long, baggy pants or skirts, ankle lengths, long sleeves and a headscarf for women. Those who are not dressed appropriately are asked to go to a safe locker room, where you can borrow hooded abayas (a tunic-shaped dress worn by women) and candor (casual shirt dress worn by men and women ) for free.
Sheikh Zayed’s mausoleum is near the entrance of the mosque, although only presidents in the office can enter. Attendees continually recite the prayers in shifts of one hour 24 hours, 7 days a week (the cycles take between 1 and 2 days to complete). While photographs of the mausoleum are not allowed, visitors can photograph all other parts of the mosque, but sensitivity to those who pray should be shown. There are good coffee and a gift shop inside the complex on the north side of the mosque.
Louvre Abu Dhabi:
Designed by the architect awarded the Jean Nouvel Pritzker Prize, the highly anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi finally arrived at the end of 2017. Through 12 galleries, the world-class collection tracks the artistic achievements of humanity from the Neolithic to the present day, while breaking all the rules. from the traditional curatorship of the museum. Here, works of art are grouped by theme and time frame rather than a specific country or civilization. The result is a globetrotting journey through a human tradition that highlights the universal threads of all cultures.
From the first villages (gallery 1) to Civilizations and empires (gallery 3) and The magnificence of the court (gallery 8) to A Global Stage (gallery 12), where Ai Weiwei’s 2016 ‘Source of Light’ is located, the exhibitions transcend geography and nationality. This means that you encounter unexpectedly beautiful juxtapositions, like a winged bronze dragon from northern China sitting in front of a Persian glazed brick archer from the Achaemenid Empire, and the bronze head of a king of Nigeria’s Edo Culture shown in the middle of a room lined with French and Italian oil paintings of the seventeenth-century royalty.
Highlights include a statue of Ain Ghazal from the seventh millennium BC of Jordan; a Bactrian princess standing from the third millennium BC; a black stone statue of Gudea, prince of Lagash of the neo-summer era of Iraq; a plate of Buddhist stupa of the second century of India; a bronze lion of the second century of Spain; a 15th-century ceramic bust of San Pedro de Verona; and paintings by Picasso, Rothko and Miró.
In addition to the permanent collection, the separate buildings house temporary exhibitions (four are held annually), a children’s museum and the museum’s excellent cafeteria. All these buildings are grouped around a central square that goes directly into the sea and is shaded by the elaborate filigree dome of 7500 tons of the museum, which seems to float in the air. The dome pays tribute to the shade of date palm leaves with its geometric star design that covers the floor of the square below in a “rain of light” effect.
You will need about two hours to explore the museum if you are only browsing, more time if you are interested in art or history. For an outstanding snapshot of the collection, 90-minute tours (adults/children Dhs50 / 30) are offered at 11 a.m. and at 2 p.m. every day in English and at 5 p.m. Fridays in Arabic and French.
Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital:
Standing in front of the Falcon Hospital in Abu Dhabi, observing the anxious owners of the entire region who deliver their hooded ‘patients’ in person, they will quickly realize that this is a much needed and much-loved facility. Falcons are an integral part of the traditional Gulf culture and do not pay for expenses to restore these magnificent birds to total health. The tours include visits to the hawks museum, the exam room, which includes intimate glimpses of the coping procedures, and the free-flight aviary. Excursion reservations (bookable online) are mandatory.
If you’re willing to challenge an arm, birds of prey that behave well will even pose for a photograph.
The hospital is located about 6 km southeast of the Abu Dhabi airport. Coming from downtown Abu Dhabi, follow Airport Rd (E20) to Sweihan Rd in the direction of Falah City; Approximately 3 km after the intersection with the E11 motorway, turn right after the water tank (before exit 30A) and follow the indications to the hospital.
After six years of planning and construction, this monument commemorating the life and achievements of Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the United Arab Emirates, opened in April 2018. Located inside the landscaped garden is The Constellation, a gigantic piece of avant-garde 3D art. reflecting the sheik’s portrait. In daylight, examine the garden full of native and medicinal plants, but to appreciate the whole show, come back after dark when The Constellation comes alive with lights.
A visitor center offers more information and shows an interesting short film that shows the progress of the remarkable concept of Constellation from the initial idea to the complexities of the construction and the final completion. Free 30-minute tours of the site are offered throughout the day when booked online or booked upon arrival.
Surrounding the oasis of Liwa in the western part of the emirate is the Al Gharbia region, home of Rub Al Khali (Empty District). As the largest uninterrupted sand mass in the world, the Empty District offers the perfect backdrop for a variety of desert excursions. Whether you prefer a more traditional camel trek or a buggy ride through the wild dunes (often known as a “dune ride”), a safari-style jeep ride or a bird’s eye balloon ride, you’ll find many ways to explore the Arabian desert. Several companies offer tours organized by the Empty District; Some of the most reputable options are Arabian Adventures, Emirates Tours, Abu Dhabi Adventure Tours and Abu Dhabi Desert Safari. Tours can be booked through the companies’ websites, and the sooner you try to make reservations, the more likely it is to be available.
Many recent visitors to Abu Dhabi say that their desert tour was one of the highlights of their trip. According to a TripAdvisor user (who booked through the Abu Dhabi Desert Safari), “[The] part of hitting the dunes was the most exciting thing I’ve done on vacation. […] Just don’t eat a few hours before. These “” intense tour prices will depend on the company you select and the type of tourist you choose.
Another way to experience the desert would be to stay in Qasr Al Sarab or in the Arabian Nights Village. Both complexes are surrounded by the dunes of the Empty District, and both offer a variety of desert excursion options for guests.
Corniche, Abu Dhabi :
The Corniche coast, with its white-sand beaches and its generous promenade, stretches along the northwest coast of the city. Offering spectacular views of the iconic high-rise tower blocks gathered along the waterfront, it also offers one of the city’s main recreational opportunities with dedicated cycling routes along the waterfront and entering and leaving the gardens Landscapes of Corniche. Soft drinks are available on public beaches that mark the western section of the road.
The best way to explore the entire Corniche is to grab a bicycle from Cycle’s shared bike station (www.bikeshare.ae), in front of the Nation Riviera Beach Club at the southwest end of the Corniche (register online or at a station). There are several other stations near Corniche, including at the World Trade Center, Rayhaan Rotana and Adia HQ. Towels and sun loungers can be rented at several of Corniche’s public beaches. It is worth taking a little water to explore the entire length of Corniche since the eastern section has few amenities and long stretches without shade.
The interior side of Corniche is dotted with parks that come alive at night with local families looking for the sea breeze in the sweltering summer months (May to September) or grouping around mobile heaters on the cold winter nights (December to February).
What the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is towards the vertical, the Emirates Palace is towards the horizontal, with bold checkpoints with domes and flying ramps to the lobby, 114 domes and a 1.3 km private beach. Built for Dhs11 billion, this is the great hotel in the Gulf, with 1002 crystal chandeliers and 392 luxury rooms and suites. You do not have to register to visit the Emirates Palace, as it works as a cultural center of the city.
Hosting renowned operas and orchestras during the Abu Dhabi Classics concert season, the Emirates Palace has played its role in the cultural expansion of the capital. Other reasons to enter include the increasingly popular afternoon tea in the lobby (from Dhs387 for two people), cocktails in modern Hakkasan, fine seafood in Sayad and Emirati luxury cuisine in Melanie. More Best Places…