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If you’re visiting Abu Dhabi, be sure to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the Emirates Palace – a hotel made of gold which is open to anyone who is suitably attired: long pants, a long-sleeved top and covered shoes. We first visited the mosque, which is one of the biggest in the world. Women must wear traditional dress, i.e. a black abaya, for the duration of the visit. At the entrance they inspect your bags, then you have to go downstairs to the cloakroom to rent an abaya and present some form of photographic ID. After that you’re free to enter the mosque, which you may do either barefoot or in socks.

It’s worth checking the opening times, because we got there a little before one o’clock, not long before closing (it was Ramadan). The mosque is closed to tourists on Fridays. You can take photographs, but not during prayers, and there are many guards to ensure that the rules are strictly enforced. Architecturally the building is stunning, with meticulously crafted walls and areas decorated with Swarovski crystals, as well as huge, brightly colored chandeliers and the largest hand-woven carpet in the world.

From here we travelled on to the Emirates Palace, the site of the world’s first gold-dispensing ATM. There you can acquire 24-karat gold in bars of up to ten grams. The quality and quantity can be selected on the touch-screen display, and the prices are adjusted to match the current stock market value.

Photos can only be taken in the hotel when no guests are present, and unfortunately visitors are not allowed down to the private beach or into the gardens. It’s worth visiting the hotel restrooms, because they’re extremely well maintained, while in the lobby café you can have a cappuccino sprinkled with gold flakes, and a plate of first-rate dates. From here we went to a shopping mall to eat, but when he saw what we had bought, the security guard escorted us to a separate, small room where the Indian employees ate.

After lunch we took a look at the Al Maqtaa Fortress and the Al Bateen shipyard, where the iconic Arabian dhows are still built by hand. We also saw two shopping malls, the Marina Mall and the Abu Dhabi Mall. Still, we didn’t visit the Al Ain National Museum, the Car Museum, the Louvre, the Cultural Foundation or the Zayed National Museum. We couldn’t go to the beach either, because you have to pay everywhere, and the men’s and women’s beaches are separated by a screen. Women, in any case, can only bathe in a chador. The Heritage Village was closed, unfortunately, so we couldn’t go there either, and Yas Island wasn’t quite finished during our visit.

After a long drive, we reached the famous Ferrari World, a vast theme park with the Ferrari brand as its central theme. That’s why the most exciting attractions here were cars, from several simulators to a rollercoaster that reaches top speeds of 200km/h. The theme park on Yas Island is 30-40 minutes from Abu Dhabi, and entry costs 225 dirhams. We didn’t go into the park, but we did go into the Ferrari shop in the nearby shopping mall and took a look at the cars exhibited next to it. Incidentally, the Formula One race is also held here, on the Yas Marina Circuit. Freshly squeezed fruit juice can also be enjoyed at the cafés on the Corniche, or the seafront promenade, while at the harbor of Mina, on the northern shore, you can taste some fresh seafood. (2018)

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“The king is dead; long live the king... or, the emir, that is. Indeed, on May 13, Khalifa, the second president of the United Emirates and Emir of Abu Dhabi, was buried, and Mohammed ascended to the throne the next day. When I was still here in April, the picture of the old emir was everywhere, but everything had already been replaced by the portrait of the young ruler Al Nahayan.

Where else could I have started my Abu Dhabi city tour than where the city-state was born, at the Al Hosn Fort. In 1760, a watchtower was built over Abu Dhabi's only source of fresh water, and a few decades later, the rulers built their palace here. Between 1793 and 1966, the Al Nahayans, the lords of Abu Dhabi, controlled the largest Emirate from here.

 

Today, the old guard tower watching over the spring is almost the only historic thing remaining. Still, a beautiful modern square, cultural center, and the tallest skyscrapers have been built around this central location.

 

Unfortunately, I couldn't go in because according to brand-new legislation, in addition to the three vaccinations, you also need a recent PCR test, so 40 Dirhams extra is not worth it to look at an old-looking modern fortress :)

 

When I was here, I took a couple of photos on the beach promenade and I finally managed to capture the tallest skyscrapers in their full splendour.” 🙂 (Ata, 2022)



Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Kata b. photo

Abu Dhabi - together - ktg photo

Practicals

Transport

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Abu Dhabi - taxis

Abu Dhabi - public bus

Food

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Abu Dhabi - edible plate

Shopping

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Abu Dhabi - His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi on decorative candles

Fun

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Abu Dhabi - Saadiyat Island - Monte Carlo Beach Club

Abu Dhabi - belly dancer - m.a. photo

Public safety

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Abu dhabi police

Background

Destination in brief

Abu Dhabi is one of the seven emirates of the country named United Arab Emirates,situated at the northeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf, .

Abu Dhabi is 125  kilometres (77 miles) (road distance) south west of Dubai.

Abu is Arabic for father, and Dhabi means gazelle. So, Abu Dhabi is "Father of Gazelle." a reference of the abundance of gazelles in the area, in days of old.

Population: 3.1 million (2020) - only about 17-20% are citizens (Emiratis)

Climate

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Abu Dhabi - Rainfall is sporadic, falling mostly in winter, November-March

Nowadays

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Abu Dhabi - Aldar Building - Elter photo

Abu Dhabi - Etihad Towers - Elter photo

People

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Abu Dhabi - citizens - s.v. photo

Attractions

Grand Mosque

Update February 2023:

The road to the mosque leads through a plaza. The entire plaza is underground, cool, and pleasant. You can buy everything a visitor needs, coffee, drinks, food, and many other shops. No entrance ticket is required to visit, but online registration is required as many QR codes as possible, and children count. If needed, this can be replaced offline at the mall. Dress codes are taken seriously. But women will be reprimanded sooner for slipping off their headscarves than men for taking off their long-sleeved sweaters. Children wear what they want, if they are boys, of course. Theoretically, you can borrow clothes; practically, you can't find a place in the mall. The bags - everything - are screened, and certain things are randomly taken, kept, and returned. The underground corridor system is otherwise delightful and clean.

Visitors can walk through the mosque on a specific route, stepping on each other between cordons. It is not possible to enter either the courtyards or the halls. There is no shade outside. This successfully takes away all the human, pleasant aspects of the place. The visit itself is an endless jostling in the crowd. There is nowhere to go, not even into the garden. There is nowhere to sit, no benches, no chairs. You can't stop and admire up close how beautiful the decorations on the columns are, for example. So it's hard to look around, to think, "wow, this is amazingly beautiful." And that takes away a lot from experience. Plus, 2 of the 82 domes are being renovated, so the building is a little less photogenic. Perhaps the morning or evening hours are better for visiting when the large groups are/are not yet present.



Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - chandelier and ceiling - Kata B. photo

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Louvre - k-t.g photo

Louvre Abu Dhabi - Vincent Van Gogh's Self-Portrait - k-t.g. photo

Louvre Abu Dhabi - k-t.g. photo

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