Abu Dhabi is both the capital and Federal capital of the United Arab Emirates, and is the second largest of the seven emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates and was also the largest of the former Trucial States. This second most populous city of the UAE lies on a T-shaped island with its futuristic skyscrapers rising from the desert coast of the Persian Gulf. The city lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western coast. An estimated 1,000,000 people lived there in 2000, with about an 80% expatriate population. Abu Dhabi is known as the most important cultural city in the UAE, attracting many visitors to its established Cultural Foundation centre, which is responsible for hosting various art exhibitions and musical performances from all over the globe. Among the modern island city there are remains of an older and more cultural society. Abu Dhabi comprises of international luxurious hotels, never-ending shopping malls, extensive entertainment and leisure facilities, along beautiful green streets and parks.
Abu Dhabi is one of the most prosperous and rapidly developing cities in the world. In just over half a century it has become a major centre for tourism, as well as transforming from a small Bedouin village into a thriving investment enterprise. 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. The brash, bold city of Abu Dhabi is a modern marvel, capital of the wealthy United Arab Emirates and headquarters of the world's richest oil operating companies. The pulsating city, with futuristic skyscrapers and wide tree-lined boulevards, is capitalising on its sophistication, amazing duty-free shopping zone, its luxury hotels and top class transport and communication infrastructure to attract tourists. They come not only for the 'retail therapy' and glitz, but also to explore the fascinating culture of the vast Abu Dhabi Emirate itself (it is the largest of the seven Emirates), with its miles of desert and interesting oases.
Wealthiest of all the Emirates in UAE and federal capital, Abu Dhabi is one of the richest cities in the world. This transformation from a small fishing village to one of the most modern cities in the world is solely because of the large amounts of revenues from oil, which was first discovered here a few decades ago. This newfound prosperity of the city is clearly reflected in its modern infrastructure, shopping complexes, and recently developed tourist attractions. For an average tourist, this is one of the safest tourist destinations in the world with some of the best tourist facilities you can get. More than anything else, it is a major shopping destination what with shopping festivals being held throughout the year.
Sunshine and blue skies are guaranteed almost every day in Abu Dhabi. Temperatures between June and September can be unbearably hot for most Westerners, exacerbated by high humidity and sometimes reaching up to 118ºF (48ºC) in July and August. Air-conditioning is the norm in all buildings, however. The best months to travel to Abu Dhabi are between October and May, and in January and February it becomes cool enough to warrant wearing a cardigan outdoors. Rainfall is almost non-existent.
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