About Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and the capital of the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi city was first settled into in the mid-18th century, as a hunting and pearling base. Its significance increased dramatically with the discovery of oil in mid-20th century and formation of UAE in 1971. Since then, the city has experienced a well-planned steady growth. Abu Dhabi is now a gracious, comfortable and well-functioning city of over half-million people.
Abu Dhabi is an island which is located on the north-eastern part of the Persian Gulf in the Arabian Peninsula. The waters that surround Abu Dhabi are shallow, with an average depth between 10 metres and 50 metres. Nearly 85% of the emirate of Abu Dhabi is a sand desert with spectacular dunes formed by the wind. About 7% of the emirate is covered by low lying salt flats that get periodically inundated.
While Abu Dhabi’s adopted culture is globalisation, it has managed to retain its inherent culture, shaped by Arab traditions and Islamic values. Irrespective of origins, the city’s ethos has enabled people to live in a respectful and harmonious community that is intertwined with its own customs and that of various other cultures. Being home to residents from multiple and mixed ethnic backgrounds, Abu Dhabi is a melting pot where numerous converging cultures are showcased. Desert safaris are enjoyed by visitors and citizens alike, as a manifestation of the Middle Eastern nomadic culture that highlights native food, music and dance. The city is synonymous with luxury and comfort, making it the perfect getaway for socialites, professionals, seekers of global culture, or even those in need of some retail therapy.
Abu Dhabi is the richest city in the world in terms of per capita GDP and the wealthiest emirate of UAE. Abu Dhabi owns the majority of UAE’s rich hydrocarbon resources, in the form of oil and gas, which amount to 95% and 92% of the country’s wealth respectively. This makes Abu Dhabi the owner of 9% of the world’s oil reserves and 5% of the world’s natural gas. Apart from that, Abu Dhabi’s recent major investments go towards industry, real estate, tourism and retail.
Abu Dhabi is ruled by the Al Nahyan of Al Abu Falah Dynasty. UAE, and subsequently Abu Dhabi, was first under the guidance of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the country. Since his demise in 2004, the Presidency was taken over by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed. Sheikh Khalifa is also the Emir (Ruler) of Abu Dhabi and the Supreme Commander of the Union Defence Force. The position of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi is undertaken by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
The currency of Abu Dhabi, which is also the currency of UAE, is the UAE Dirham (denoted by AED). AED 1 is divided into 100 fils. Currency notes available in dirhams includes AED 5, AED 10, AED 20, AED 50, AED 100, AED 200, AED 500 and AED 1000. The currency coins available in Abu Dhabi are 25 fils, 50 fils and AED 1.
Abu Dhabi faces a tropical desert climate, having warmer months through the year rather than cold. During summer, temperatures exceeding 45°C in summer are common, while the winter months see average temperatures of 20°C. August is the hottest month in Abu Dhabi, with an average temperature of 36°C and the coldest is January at 18°C, with a maximum of thirteen hours of daily sunshine hours in June.
Though Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate by area, the city’s population is only second to Dubai, with over 1.1 million inhabitants. Asians constitute the largest part of Abu Dhabi’s population, with the largest nationalities being Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Filipino. UAE nationals (Emiratis) make up only 11% of the population of the city. Other major expatriate residents in Abu Dhabi include people from Iran, Egypt, Nepal and Sri Lanka.