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Introducing Abu Dhabi

With the oil predicted to run out sometime after 2100 AD, you’d forgive Abu Dhabi for wanting to just sit pretty and count the money. But this attractive, green and distinctly Arab city just appears to be hitting its stride. While not as cosmopolitan or as sophisticated as Dubai, Abu Dhabi also lacks traffic jams and the poseurs that plague its neighbour, making it a much more liveable city if you don’t crave clubbing. After closely watching Dubai’s phenomenal growth, Abu Dhabi has chosen its development projects wisely, and while the laid-back feel might eventually change, the local Emirati flavour of the capital appears certain to remain.

The emirate of Abu Dhabi is huge by comparison to the other emirates, comprising almost 87% of the country’s total area. Just as 50 years ago Abu Dhabi was little more than a fishing village comprising a fort, a few coral buildings and a smattering of barasti huts, the rest of the emirate is very ‘Arabian Sands’ with its enigmatic empty desert, dotted with oases such as Al-Ain and Liwa. While the ruling Al-Nahyan family may have become rich from what lies beneath, you get the sense that their connection to the desert and the sea is something that remains more important than petrodollars.

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