Abu Dhabi is home to a culture crossover of modern and ancient landmarks. These are our top 10 must-see.
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
- Etihad Towers
- Masdar City
- Heritage Village
- Al Ain Oasis
- Jebel Hafit
- Mamsha Al Khair
- Qasr Al Watan
- Qasr Al-Hosn
- Sheikh Zayed Bridge
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the crown jewel of Abu Dhabi. Named after the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the building is made from Macedonian marble which gives the structure a feeling of grandness. The Mosque can hold 40,000 worshippers, and is also home to the worlds largest crystal chandelier.
Etihad Towers is a five-tower structure which offers areas to live, work, stay, shop, and dine. The dramatic structures include exclusive shopping at The Avenue, a five star hotel for guests to enjoy a luxury stay, and an observation deck with panoramic views of Abu Dhabi. If you’re looking for grandeur on your holiday, book yourself into the Etihad Towers and enjoy.
Glimpse into the future at Masdar City, the centre of clean energy technology in Abu Dhabi. Visitors can enter the city completely free of charge, and ride into the centre in unmanned electric cars. Marvel at the architecture, made with renewable energy in mind, before relaxing with a coffee at one of the many coffee shops and restaurants within the city. This futuristic city proves that renewable energy is the future, and it proves to be an exciting experience for residents and tourists alike.
Fully immerse yourself in Abu Dhabi’s past at the Heritage Village. Run by the Emirates Heritage Club, local artisans run regular public workshops which allow visitors to pick up local skills. Whilst exploring the village, enjoy traditional Abu Dhabi food, entertainment, and shop for beautiful, one-of-a-kind, handmade artefacts. If you want to get a true sense of Abu Dhabi, the Heritage Village should be on your holiday bucket list.
Al Ain Oasis
Continuing with the exploration of Abu Dhabi’s past, Al Ain Oasis provides a unique insight into Abu Dhabi’s inhabitants that began taming the desert 4,000 years ago. Spread across 1,200 hectares, farmers tens to thousands of date palms, fodder crops, and fruit trees. Water to the oasis is supplied by wells and the ancient falaj system, that taps underground or mountain aquifers. Al Ain Oasis has been a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site list since 2011, but has only recently been opened to the public due to its educational Eco-Centre and shaded pathways.
There is no better way to view Al Ain, Abu Dhabi’s lush garden city, than from the top of Jebel Hafit mountain. Reaching 1,249 meters into the sky, Jebel Hafit is Abu Dhabi’s highest peak, and the United Arab Emirates second highest. Formed from limestone, you can reach the mountains summit via car, motorbike, or bicycle. As you journey up the mountain, observe the weathered limestone which has held thousands of fossils over the years that have uncovered Abu Dhabi’s ancient history. After making it down from the mountain, head to the Desert Park to discover more about the archaeological remains that have been found.
Mamsha Al Khair
Mamsha Al Khair is an inspirational landmark of granite and limestone installations spread along the Abu Dhabi Corniche promenade. Each installation has inscriptions from globally renowned and inspirational leaders, both past and present, reflecting the United Arab Emirates ongoing commitment to a culture of generosity and giving. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the monuments, taking photos and videos with them, so that future generations can foster a legacy of generosity.
Qasr Al Watan
Qasr Al Watan is a grand Presidential palace, which proudly displays the rich legacy of knowledge and tradition that has shaped the United Arab Emirates. As you wander the rooms and halls of Qasr Al Watan you will discover the history of the United Arab Emirates, from the country’s formation, to it’s governing traditions and values. One of the palaces most impressive attractions is the Palace in Motion event, a mesmerising light and sound show that celebrates the UAE’s journey. For a cultural experience that mixes art with history, head to Qasr Al Watan.
Built as a protective watchtower in 1761, before becoming home to the royal family of the United Arab Emirates, Qasr Al-Hosn is a must see landmark. Made from stone, it is one of Abu Dhabi’s oldest stone buildings and is mesmerising to look at. The museum within the watchtowers grounds takes you on the journey of how the land around Abu Dhabi has changed over the years, giving you a feeling of connection to the land.
Sheikh Zayed Bridge
The Sheikh Zayed Bridge is said to be the most complex bridge ever built. Designed by architect Dame Zaha Hadid, the bridge is made from curved arches, which mimic sand dunes, a dynamic lighting design, and road decks which suspend from symmetrical steel arches. The bridge stands 64-metres-high and connects Abu Dhabi with the Saadiyat islands across the Maqta Channel. Despite being an everyday bridge, it’s construction is far from everyday, and definitely an Abu Dhabi landmark worth looking out for.
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