Abu Dhabi – UAE’s capital

Capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven member emirates. I like to call it the City of Skyscrapers.  AD’s urbanization coupled with a high average income of its population has transformed it into a highly advanced metropolis.  Just over an hour’s drive from Dubai, this city “of the rich” houses important offices of the federal government and is the seat of the UAE Government and home of the UAE Rulers family.

Expats from over 150 countries make up the population of Abu Dhabi, hence it has a rich and mixed culture. Fortunately, despite being a huge, modern metropolis, the street and pedestrian traffic are very well regulated.

English is widely spoken in Abu Dhabi although the official language is Arabic. All road signs, names of all businesses, shops and restaurants are written in Arabic and English. The city has great beaches and there are many parks. Boating and water sports are very popular along the Gulf coast. The culture of Abu Dhabi is unique to its positioning, but like in the rest of the country, ex-pats and locals alike frequent shopping malls, restaurants, sports facilities, and the waterfront area known as the Corniche.

Ruler: Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the present ruler of Abu Dhabi (UAE) and is the son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (Peace Be Upon Him), the first president of the United Arab Emirates.

Climate: AD, like all of UAE has sunshine all year through – with summers being rather extreme and it is advisable to wear light cotton clothes and carry an umbrella. Generous use of sun-screen is advised.  Rainfall occurs (sporadically) in winter (November to March). Rain is far more common in Al Ain, about 150 kilometers from Abu Dhabi, due to its proximity to the Hajjar Mountains. In winters, temperatures fall dramatically, sometimes dipping to as low as 8 degree centigrade – or less.

Strangely, even in hot summers, it is not uncommon to see people wearing a light jacket – thanks to the “everything air-conditioned” in the country, where the ACs are on full blast through the day – be it in malls, theatres, restaurants, bus shelters –  if you arent walking around (hardly anyone does!), then carry a light jacket if you intend to spend lots of time indoors, esp, cinema halls can get excessively cold.

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