United Arab Emirates
Capital of the United Arab Emirates and a beautiful arabian travel destination, Abu Dhabi is an industrialized Middle Eastern emirate destined for success.
Similar to Dubai, Abu Dhabi was once a settlement of Islamic tribes with a main export of pearls. Once oil was discovered, Abu Dhabi developed into the jewel of a city that it is today. Unlike Dubai and its reliance on tourism, Abu Dhabi’s main export is oil. In fact, Abu Dhabi was not affected by the Great Recession of 2008-2012. Abu Dhabi is also a more traditional emirate compared to its cosmopolitan and globally diverse counterpart, Dubai.
One of the main sights of Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the 8th largest mosque in the world.
If you thought European churches couldn’t be rivaled, feast your eyes on a mosque home to the worlds largest carpet, chandeliers with millions of Swarovski crystals, and inlaid marble and mother of pearl from around the world.
Another sight is the extremely affluent Emirates Palace, a hotel with prices ranging from $400 to $11,500 a night.
There are gold and marble furnished rooms, and the world’s most expensive christmas tree valued over 11 million dollars.
The food of Abu Dhabi and The United Arab Emirates has strong Levatine and Saudi Arabian influences. Hummus, tabbouleh, baba ghanoush, and cucumbers are typical vegetarian starters.
Emirati cuisine, typical of desert cultures, has a large focus on meat, grain, and dairy. Stews with lamb and mutton spiced with saffron, cardamom, or mint is typical. Kebab and shawarma are also local street side favorites.
If you have a sweet tooth prepare to take it for the ultimate test: Emirati desserts. I like sweet things, I like desserts, but Emirati desserts take it to a whole new level of sweet. Typical Emirati deserts are sweet, sticky, and doused in sugar. Kanafeh is a perfect example. Personally they are too sweet for me, but luckily yogurt and strong black coffee is almost always available.
Abu Dhabi will continue to grow and expand with a new man made island called Saadiyat. They are currently working on building a new Louvre, Guggenheim, five star hotel, and a NYU college location. It’s astounding to see what Abu Dhabi will come out with next.