Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It is the largest of the seven emirates by area (67340 kmÂ²), and second-largest by population (after Dubai). The city lies on a T-shaped island with its futuristic skyscrapers rising from the desert coast of the Arabian Gulf.
Among the modern island city there are remains of an older and more cultural society. Abu Dhabi comprises of international luxurious hotels, shopping malls, extensive entertainment and leisure facilities, along beautiful green streets and parks.
The city's origin reflects its true prestige, as it was a major hub for the pearl industry before it had discovered its rich reserves of oil. There is a stretch of traditional wooden dhows along the harbour, which were not just used for fishing but also for pearl diving.
Abu Dhabi is one of the most prosperous and rapidly developing cities in the world, with a population of approximately1.5 million. In just over half a century it has become a major centre for tourism, as well as transforming into a thriving investment enterprise, and an educational and cultural hub.
It also enjoys a rapidly growing economy with a high GDP and per capita income. It is the wealthiest emirate of the UAE and also qualifies as one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Abu Dhabi's GDP nearly reached $100 billion in 2006.
The capital is known as the cultural heart of the UAE, enthusiastically marketing cultural and sporting events that represent its past. Sports include Formula 1, camel racing and dhow sailing, and cultural events include Arabic poetry, dances and music.
Many locals dress traditionally, men in their full length shirt-dress (kandoora) with a white or red checked head dress (gutra), whilst women wear a black abaya - a long black robe and a headscarf (sheyla).
The official national language of Abu Dhabi is Arabic, although, English, Hindi and Urdu are also widely spoken in and around the city.