Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, sits off the mainland on an island in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf. Its focus on oil exports and commerce is reflected by the skyline’s modern towers and shopping megacenters such as Abu Dhabi and Marina malls. Beneath white-marble domes, the vast Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque features an immense Persian carpet, crystal chandeliers and capacity for 41,000 worshipers.
Atmospheric backstreets paint a very different picture to first impressions of Abu Dhabi. The often slick and modern capital of the U.A.E. presents a fascinating mixture of tradition and progression. Tracing its rich history back to around 3000 B.C., Abu Dhabi maintains a more distinctly Arabian ambiance than glitzy Dubai. Taxis are a safe, reliable way to get around sites such as The Corniche Park, the White Fort, the Heritage Village, which offers glimpses into Bedouin life and the Women's Craft Centre.