Islam is the largest and the official state religion of the UAE, though the government follows a policy of tolerance toward other religions and rarely interferes in the activities of non-Muslims. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11M battery)
However, it is illegal in the UAE to spread the ideas of any religion apart from Islam through any form of media as it is considered a form of proselytizing. There are approximately 31 churches throughout the country, one Hindu temple in the region of Bur Dubai, and one Sikh Gurudwara in Jebel Ali(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18M battery).
Based on the Ministry of Economy census in 2005, 76% of the total population was Muslim, 9% Christian, and 15% other (mainly Hindu). Census figures do not take into account the many "temporary" visitors and workers while also counting Baha'is and Druze as Muslim. Non-Islamic religions are mainly followed by foreigners or expatriates. As the majority of the population are non-citizens, of the citizens 85% are Sunni Muslim while 15% are Shi'a Muslims. Omani immigrants are mostly Ibadi, while Sufi influences exist too(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18 battery).
The United Arab Emirates has a diverse and multicultural society. Major holidays in Dubai include Eid al Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, and National Day (2 December), which marks the formation of the United Arab Emirates.
Five times every day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques which are scattered around the country. Since 2006, the weekend has been Friday-Saturday, as a compromise between Friday's holiness to Muslims and the Western weekend of Saturday-Sunday. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ210CE battery)
Most Emirati males prefer to wear a kandura, an ankle-length white tunic woven from wool or cotton, and most Emirati women wear an abaya, a black over-garment covering most parts of the body. Western-style clothing is, however, dominant because of the large expatriate population, and this practice is beginning to grow in popularity among Emiratis(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31S battery).
Etiquette is an important aspect of UAE culture and tradition, to which visitors are expected to conform. Recently, many expatriates have disregarded the law and been arrested for indecent clothing at beaches. The non-governmental campaign UAE Dress Code aims to educate the expat population on local dressing and its sensitivity to Emirati population. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31Z battery)
Literature and poetry
The style and form of ancient poetry in the UAE was strongly influenced by the 8th-century Arab scholar Al Khalil bin Ahmed. The earliest known poet in the UAE is Ibn Majid, who was born between 1432 and 1437 in Ras Al-Khaimah. Coming from a family of successful sailors, Ibn Majid's oeuvre has a total of 40 surviving compositions, 39 of which are verses(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31E battery).
The greatest luminaries in the UAE literary realm during the 20th century, particularly for Classical Arabic poetry, were Mubarak Al Oqaili (1880–1954), Salem bin Ali al Owais (1887–1959) and Ahmed bin Sulayem (1905–1976). Three other poets from Sharjah, known as the Hirah group, are observed to have been heavily influenced by the Apollo and romantic poets.
There are three annual book fairs in the UAE, the well-known Sharjah International Book Fair, the oldest and largest in the country, its Abu Dhabi counterpart and the newly launched Al-Ain Book Fair(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31J battery).
See also: List of museums in the United Arab Emirates
Many emirates have established museums of regional repute, most famously Sharjah with its Heritage District containing 17 museums, which in 1998 was the Cultural Capital of the Arab World. Abu Dhabi's cultural foundation is also an important place for the presentation of indigenous and foreign art. In Dubai, the area of Al Quoz has attracted a number of art galleries as well as museums such as the Salsali Private Museum. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31M battery)
Abu Dhabi has embarked on the path to become an art center of international caliber, by creating a culture district on Saadiyat Island. There, six grand projects are planned: the Sheikh Zayed National Museum by Foster + Partners, the modern art museum Guggenheim Abu Dhabi to be built by Frank Gehry, the classical museum Louvre Abu Dhabi by Jean Nouvel, a maritime museum by Tadao Ando, a Performing Arts Center by Zaha Hadid, and a Biennale Park with 16 pavilions(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31B battery).
Dubai also plans to build a Kunsthal museum and a district for galleries and artists.
2009 saw the UAE’s first pavilion at the Venice Biennale, one of the top cultural events in Europe. The pavilion was called ‘It’s Not You, It’s Me’ and was designed to offer a playful and provocative look at what has been described as the world’s most prestigious contemporary art event. This was the first occasion on which a country from the Persian Gulf has taken part in the Biennale(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ32 battery).
Main articles: Music of the United Arab Emirates and Cinema of the United Arab Emirates
UAE's Traditional dance, Yowalah
The United Arab Emirates is a part of the khaliji tradition, and is also known for Bedouin folk music. Liwa is a type of music and dance performed mainly in communities which contain descendants of East Africans.
Kylie Minogue was paid 4.4 million dollars to perform at the opening of the Atlantis resort on November 20, 2008. The Dubai Desert Rock Festival is also another major festival consisting of heavy metal and rock artists. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ410 battery)
Main article: Media of the United Arab Emirates
The UAE is an important for TV and media. Dubai Media City and twofour54, Abu Dhabi's media zone, were set up to attract key players. Organisations including Reuters, CNN, Sony and Fox have moved in. The UAE is home to major pan-Arab broadcasters, including the Middle East Broadcasting Centre and Orbit Showtime Network. Sky News Arabia was launched from Abu Dhabi in 2012(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21 battery). On 25 September 2007 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum decreed that journalists can no longer be prosecuted or imprisoned for reasons relating to their work, setting a first for the decriminalisation of media offenses in the region.
The UAE has made it illegal to disseminate online material that can threaten "public order". Prison terms have been given to those who "deride or damage" the reputation of the state and "display contempt" for religion. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21S battery)
The UAE has a booming magazine and newspaper industry. the biggest selling English language magazine is Ahlan! magazine. The biggest selling English language newspaper is Gulf News.
The traditional food of the Emirates has always been rice, fish, and meat. The people of the United Arab Emirates have adopted most of their foods from the surrounding countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. Seafood has been the mainstay of the Emirati diet for centuries(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21M battery). Meat and rice are other staple foods; lamb and mutton are the more favored meats, then goat and beef. Popular beverages are coffee and tea, which can be supplemented with cardamom, saffron, or mint to give them a distinct flavor.
Muslims are prohibited from eating pork, so it is not included in Arab menus. Hotels frequently have pork substitutes such as beef sausages and veal rashers on their breakfast menus. If pork is available, it is clearly labeled as such(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ38M battery).
Alcohol is generally only served in hotel restaurants and bars (but not in Sharjah). All nightclubs and golf clubs are permitted to sell alcohol. Specific supermarkets may sell alcohol and pork, but these products are sold in separate sections.
Dubai Tennis Championships in 2006
Football is the most popular sport in the UAE. Emirati football clubs Al-Ain, Al-Wasl, Al-Shabbab ACD, Al-Sharjah, Al-Wahda, and Al-Ahli are the most popular teams and enjoy the reputation of long-time regional champions. (Sony VGN-NR11S/S Battery) The great rivalries keep the UAE energized as people fill the streets when their favorite team wins. The United Arab Emirates Football Association was first established in 1971 and since then has dedicated its time and effort to promoting the game, organizing youth programs and improving the abilities of not only its players, but of the officials and coaches involved with its regional teams. The UAE national football team qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 1990 with Egypt(Sony VGN-NR11M/S Battery). It was the third consecutive World Cup with two Arab nations qualifying, after Kuwait and Algeria in 1982, and Iraq and Algeria again in 1986. The UAE also recently won the Gulf Cup Championship held in Abu Dhabi in January 2007.
Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the UAE, largely because of the expatriate population from the Indian subcontinent, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium in Sharjah has hosted 4 international test cricket matches so far. (Sony VGN-NR260E/S Battery) Sheikh Zayed Stadium and Al Jazira Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi also hosted international cricket matches. Dubai has two cricket stadiums (Dubai Cricket Ground No.1 and No.2) with a third, 'S3' currently under construction as part of Dubai Sports City. Dubai is also home to the International Cricket Council. The UAE national cricket team qualified for the 1996 Cricket World Cup and narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2007 Cricket World Cup. (Sony VGN-NR260E/T Battery)
Formula One is particularly popular in the United Arab Emirates, and is annually held at the picturesque Yas Marina Circuit. The race is held at evening time, and is the first ever Grand Prix to start in daylight and finish at night.
Other popular sports include camel racing, falconry, endurance riding, and tennis.
Main article: Education in the United Arab Emirates
Student center of the American University of Sharjah.
The education system through secondary level is monitored by the Ministry of Education. It consists of primary schools, middle schools and high schools. (Sony VGN-NR11Z/S Battery)The public schools are government-funded and the curriculum is created to match the United Arab Emirates development's goals and values. The medium of instruction in the public school is Arabic with emphasis on English as a second language. There are also many private schools which are internationally accredited. Public schools in the country are free for citizens of the UAE, while the fees for private schools vary(Sony VGN-NR11Z/T Battery).
The higher education system is monitored by the Ministry of Higher Education. The ministry also is responsible for admitting students to its undergraduate institutions.
The literacy rate in 2007 was 91%. Currently there are thousands of nationals pursuing formal learning at 86 adult education centres spread across the country.
The UAE has shown a strong interest in improving education and research. Enterprises include the establishment of the CERT Research Centers and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Institute for Enterprise Development. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21E battery)
Dubai Healthcare City, specifically designated for clinical and wellness services
The life expectancy at birth in the UAE is at 78.5 years. Cardiovascular disease is the principal cause of death in the UAE, constituting 28% of total deaths; other major causes are accidents and injuries, malignancies, and congenital anomalies.
In February 2008, the Ministry of Health unveiled a five-year health strategy for the public health sector in the northern emirates, which fall under its purview and which(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21Z battery), unlike Abu Dhabi and Dubai, do not have separate healthcare authorities. The strategy focuses on unifying healthcare policy and improving access to healthcare services at reasonable cost, at the same time reducing dependence on overseas treatment. The ministry plans to add three hospitals to the current 14, and 29 primary healthcare centres to the current 86. Nine were scheduled to open in 2008.
The introduction of mandatory health insurance in Abu Dhabi for expatriates and their dependents was a major driver in reform of healthcare policy(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21J battery). Abu Dhabi nationals were brought under the scheme from 1 June 2008 and Dubai followed for its government employees. Eventually, under federal law, every Emirati and expatriate in the country will be covered by compulsory health insurance under a unified mandatory scheme. Recently the country has been benefiting from medical tourists from all over the GCC. The UAE currently attracts medical tourists seeking plastic surgery and advanced procedures(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11 battery), cardiac and spinal surgery, and dental treatment, as health services have higher standards than other Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.
Abu Dhabi (Arabic: أبو ظبي Abu Dhabi, Father of Deer) is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western coast. The city proper had a population of 621,000 in 2012(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11M battery).
Abu Dhabi houses important offices of the federal government, and is the seat for the United Arab Emirates Government and the home for the Abu Dhabi Emiri Family and the President of the UAE from this family. Abu Dhabi has grown to be a cosmopolitan metropolis. Its rapid development and urbanisation, coupled with the relatively high average income of its population, has transformed Abu Dhabi to a larger and advanced metropolis(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11S battery). Today the city is the country's center of political, industrial activities, and a major cultural, and commercial centre due to its position as the capital. Abu Dhabi alone generated 56.7% of the GDP of the United Arab Emirates in 2008.
Abu Dhabi is home to important financial institutions such as the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and the corporate headquarters of many companies and numerous multinational corporations(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E battery). One of the world's largest producers of oil, Abu Dhabi has actively attempted to diversify its economy in recent years through investments in financial services and tourism.
Abu Dhabi is the second most expensive city for expatriate employees in the region, and 67th most expensive city in the world. Fortune magazine and CNN stated in 2007 that Abu Dhabi is the richest city in the world(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21J battery).
Abu Dhabi is full of archeological evidence pointing to civilizations having been located there from the 3rd millennium BC, such as the Umm an-Nar Culture. Settlements were also found further out of the modern city of Abu Dhabi but close to the modern city of Al Ain. There is evidence of civilizations around the mountain of Hafeet (Jebel Hafeet) (Sony VAIO VGN-FW21L battery). This location is very strategic because it is the UAE’s second tallest mountain so it would have great visibility and it contains a lot of moisture in the form of springs and lakes today, which means there would have been even more back thousands of years ago.
The origin of the name "Abu Dhabi" is uncertain. Meaning "Father of Deer", it probably referred to the few gazelle which inhabit the emirate. According to Bilal Al Budoor, assistant under-secretary for Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Culture(Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M battery), Youth and Community Development "The area had a lot of Dhibaa [deer] and was nicknamed after that". An old story tells of a man who used to chase Dhabi [deer] was named the "father" of the animal, hence the name. Abu Dhabi's original name was "Milh" meaning salt, possibly referring to the salty waters of the Persian Gulf. Some Bedouins called the city Umm Dhabi (mother of deer) while British records refer to the place as Abu Dhabi(Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M/H battery). According to some historical accounts, the name Abu Dhabi was first used more than 300 years ago. Abu Dhabi is pronounced as "Bu Dhabi" by inhabitants of the western coast of the city. In the eastern part of the city, the pronunciation is "Abu".
The Bani Yas bedouin were originally centered on the Liwa Oasis. This tribe was the most significant in the area, having over 20 subsections. In 1793, the Al Bu Falah subsection migrated to the island of Abu Dhabi on the coast of the Persian Gulf due to the discovery of fresh water there(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21M battery). One family within this section was the Al Nahyan family. This family makes up the rulers of Abu Dhabi today.
Abu Dhabi worked in the pearl business and traded with others. According to a source about pearling, the Persian Gulf was the best location for pearls. Pearl divers dove for one to one-and-a-half minutes, and would have dived up to thirty times per day. There were no oxygen tanks and any other sort of mechanical device was forbidden(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21Z battery). The divers had a leather nose clip and leather coverings on their fingers and big toes to protect them while they searched for oysters. The divers were not paid for a day’s work but received a portion of the season’s earnings.
In the 19th century, as a result of treaties (known as "truces" which gave the coast its name) entered into between Great Britain and the sheikhs of the Gulf shore, Britain became the predominant influence in the area. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW32J battery) The main purpose of British interest was to protect the trade route to India from pirates, hence the earlier name for the area, "the "Pirate Coast". After piracy was suppressed other considerations came into play, such as a strategic need of the British to exclude other powers from the region. Following their withdrawal from India in 1947, the British maintained their influence in Abu Dhabi as interest in the oil potential of the Persian Gulf grew(Sony VAIO VGN-FW17W battery).
In the 1930s, as the pearl trade declined, interest grew in the oil possibilities of the region. On 5 January 1936, Petroleum Development (Trucial Coast) Ltd (PDTC), an associate company of the Iraq Petroleum Company, entered into a concession agreement with the ruler, Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan al Nahyan, to explore for oil. This was followed by a seventy-five-year concession signed in January 1939(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31E battery). However, owing to the desert terrain, inland exploration was fraught with difficulties. In 1953, D'Arcy Exploration Company, the exploration arm of British Petroleum, obtained an offshore concession which was then transferred to a company created to operate the concession: Abu Dhabi Marine Areas (ADMA) was a joint venture between BP and Compagnie Française des Pétroles (later Total) (Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E battery). In 1958, using a marine drilling platform, the ADMA Enterprise, oil was struck in the Umm Shaif field at a depth of about 8,755 feet (2,669 m). This was followed in 1959 by PDTC’s onshore discovery well at Murban No.3.
In 1962, the company discovered the Bu Hasa field and ADMA followed in 1965 with the discovery of the Zakum offshore field. Today, in addition to the oil fields mentioned, the main producing fields onshore are Asab, Sahil and Shah, and offshore are al-Bunduq, and Abu al-Bukhoosh. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E/H battery)
Main article: Geography of the United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi seen from SPOT satellite
The city of Abu Dhabi is on the northeastern part of the Persian Gulf in the Arabian Peninsula. It is on an island less than 250 metres (820 ft) from the mainland and is joined to the mainland by the Maqta and Mussafah Bridges. A third, Sheikh Zayed Bridge, designed by Zaha Hadid, opened in late 2010. Abu Dhabi Island is also connected to Saadiyat Island by a five-lane motorway bridge. Al-Mafraq bridge connects the city to Reem Island and was completed in early 2011(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31M battery). This is a multilayer interchange bridge and it has 27 lanes which allow roughly 25,000 automobiles to move per hour. There are three major bridges of the project, the largest has eight lanes, four leaving Abu Dhabi city and four coming in.
Most of Abu Dhabi city is located on the island itself, but it has many suburbs on the mainland, for example: Khalifa City A, B, and C; Al Raha Beach; Al Bahia City A, B, and C; Al Shahama; Al Rahba; Between Two Bridges; Baniyas; and Mussafah Residential(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31J battery).
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s land surface measures 67,340 square kilometres, which is equivalent to about 87% of the UAE’s total land area. Only 30% of the emirate is inhabited, with the remaining vast expanses covered mainly by desert and arid land — constituting about 93% of the total land area(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31Z battery).
Land cultivation and irrigation for agriculture and forestation over the past decade has increased the size of “green” areas in the emirate to about 5% of the total land area, including parks and roadside plantations. About 1.2% of the total land area is used for agriculture. A small part of the land area is covered by mountains, containing several caves. The coastal area contains pockets of wetland and mangrove colonies(Sony VGN-NR11Z Battery). Abu Dhabi also has dozens of islands, mostly small and uninhabited, some of which have been designated as sanctuaries for wildlife.
Abu Dhabi has a hot arid climate. Sunny blue skies can be expected throughout the year. The months of June through September are generally hot and humid with maximum temperatures averaging above 35 °C (95 °F). During this time, sandstorms occur intermittently, in some cases reducing visibility to a few meters. (Sony VGN-NR11S Battery)
The weather is cooler from November to March. This period also sees dense fog on some days. The oasis city of Al Ain, about 150 km (93 mi) away, bordering Oman, regularly records the highest summer temperatures in the country; however, the dry desert air and cooler evenings make it a traditional retreat from the intense summer heat and year-round humidity of the capital city(Sony VGN-NR110E Battery).
Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the hereditary ruler of Abu Dhabi (UAE). He is a son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the United Arab Emirates. His half-brother, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and wields considerable influence as Chairman of Abu Dhabi's Executive Council and Deputy Supreme Commander of the armed forces of The United Arab Emirates. (Sony VGN-NR110E/T Battery)
The total number of members of the Executive Council has been slimmed down to 98 since the succession and it now consists largely of prominent members of the ruling family as well as a number of respected politicians.
The emirates maintain their hereditary rulers who, as a group, form the UAE’s Supreme Council of Rulers, headed by the president. Although the presidency is renewable every five years through a vote in the council, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan held the presidency from the formation of the UAE until his death in November 2004, and there is an implicit understanding that Abu Dhabi’s ruler will always be elected president. (Sony VGN-NR110E/W Battery)
At a federal level, laws must be ratified by the Supreme Council. The Council of Ministers forms the executive authority of the state. This 20-member cabinet is headed by the president’s chosen prime minister, a post currently held by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The cabinet also refers to the Federal National Council (FNC), a 40-member consultative body to which each emirate appoints a certain number of members. In the case of Abu Dhabi(Sony VGN-CR11Z Battery), this is eight. The procedures for appointment to the FNC have recently been amended so that each emirate must now select its representatives through an electoral body. The size of each electoral authority must be 100 times greater than the number of representatives it appoints. Half the members of each electoral body will be selected by the ruler of the emirate while the other half will be directly elected by residents of the emirate(Sony VGN-CR11S Battery). These amendments are considered to be the first step in a wider electoral reform program which will see greater representation at a federal level.
The density of Abu Dhabi varies, with high employment density in the central area, high residential densities in central downtown and lower densities in the suburbs. In the dense areas, most of the concentration is achieved with medium- and high-rise buildings. Abu Dhabi's skyscrapers such as the notable Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Tower, (Sony VGN-CR11M Battery) the National Bank of Abu Dhabi headquarters, the Hilton Hotel Tower and the Etisalat headquarters are usually found in the financial districts of Abu Dhabi. Other notable modern buildings include the Emirates Palace with its design inspired by Arab heritage.
The development of tall buildings has been encouraged in the Abu Dhabi Plan 2030, which will lead to the construction of many new skyscrapers over the next decade, particularly in the expansion of Abu Dhabi's central business district such as the new developments on Al Sowwah Island and Al Reem Island. (Sony VGN-CR11E Battery)Abu Dhabi already has a number of supertall skyscrapers under construction throughout the city. Some of the tallest buildings on the skyline include the 382 m (1,253.28 ft) Central Market Residential Tower, the 324 m (1,062.99 ft) The Landmark and the 74-storey, 310 m (1,017.06 ft) Sky Tower. Also many other skyscrapers over 150 m (492.13 ft) (500 ft) are either proposed or approved and could transform the city's skyline. As of July 2008, there were 62 high-rise buildings 23 to 150 m (75.46 to 492.13 ft) under construction, approved for construction, or proposed for construction. (Sony VGN-CR21E Battery)
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Main article: Sheikh Zayed Mosque
One of the most important architectural landmarks is the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. This is arguably one of the most important architectural treasures of contemporary UAE society — and one of the most opulent in the world. It was initiated by the late president of the United Arab Emirates, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, fondly thought of as the father of the UAE. (Sony VGN-CR21S Battery)
Its design and construction reportedly 'unites the world', using artisans and materials from many countries including Italy, Germany, Morocco, India, Turkey, Iran, China, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Greece and of course the United Arab Emirates. More than 3,000 workers and 38 renowned contracting companies took part in the construction of the mosque(Sony VGN-CR21Z Battery). Natural materials were chosen for much of its design and construction due to their long-lasting qualities, including marble, stone, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals and ceramics. Construction began on November 5, 1996. The maximum capacity is approximately 41,000 people and the overall structure is 22,412 square metres and although still under construction, the internal prayer halls were initially opened in December 2007. (Sony VGN-CR31S Battery)
As one of the most visited buildings in the UAE, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center was established to manage the day-to-day operations, as a place of worship and Friday gathering and as a centre of learning and discovery through its education and visitor programs.
Abu Dhabi has over 2,000 well-maintained parks and gardens and more than 400 km of coastline, of which 10 km are public beaches(Sony VGN-CR31E Battery).
Main article: Economy of the United Arab Emirates
The UAE’s large hydrocarbon wealth gives it one of the highest GDP per capita in the world and Abu Dhabi owns the majority of these resources – 95% of the oil and 6% of gas. Abu Dhabi thus holds 9% of the world’s proven oil reserves (98.2bn barrels) and almost 5% of the world’s natural gas (5.8 trillion cu metres). Oil production in the UAE was in the region of 2.3m barrels per day (bpd) in 2010, and projects are in progress to boost production to 3m bpd(Sony VGN-CR31Z Battery). In recent years the focus has turned to gas as increasing domestic consumption for power, desalination and reinjection of gas into oil fields increases demand. Gas extraction is not without its difficulties, however, as demonstrated by the sour gas project at Shah where the gas is rich in hydrogen sulphide content and is expensive to develop and process.
Recently the government has been diversifying their economic plans. Served by high oil prices(Sony VGN-CR41Z Battery), the country’s non oil and gas GDP has outstripped that attributable to the energy sector. Remarkably, non oil and gas GDP now constitutes 64% of the UAE’s total GDP. This trend is reflected in Abu Dhabi with substantial new investment in industry, real estate, tourism and retail. As Abu Dhabi is the largest oil producer of the UAE, it has reaped the most benefits from this trend. It has taken on an active diversification and liberalisation programme to reduce the UAE’s reliance on the hydrocarbon sector(Sony VGN-CR41S Battery). This is evident in the emphasis on industrial diversification with the completion of free zones, Industrial City of Abu Dhabi, twofour54 Abu Dhabi media free zone and the construction of another, ICAD II, in the pipeline. There has also been a drive to promote the tourism and real estate sectors with the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and the Tourism and Development Investment Company undertaking several large-scale development projects(Sony VGN-CR41E Battery). These projects will be served by an improved transport infrastructure with a new port, an expanded airport and a proposed rail link between Abu Dhabi and Dubai all in the development stages.
Abu Dhabi is the wealthiest emirate of the UAE in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and per capita income. More than $1 trillion is invested worldwide in this city alone. In 2010, the GDP per capita also reached $49,600, which ranks ninth in the world after Qatar(Sony VGN-CR42Z Battery), Liechtenstein and Luxembourg and many others. Abu Dhabi is also planning many future projects sharing with the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) and taking 29% of all the GCC future plannings. The United Arab Emirates is a fast-growing economy: in 2006 the per capita income grew by 9%, providing a GDP per capita of $49,700 and ranking third in the world at purchasing power parity. Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), currently estimated at US$ 875 billion, is the world's wealthiest sovereign fund in terms of total asset value. Etihad Airways maintains its headquarters in Abu Dhabi. (Sony VGN-CR42S Battery)
Abu Dhabi's government is looking to expand revenue from oil and gas production to tourism and other sorts of features which would attract different types of people. This goal is seen in the amount of attention Abu Dhabi is giving to its International Airport. The airport, in 2009, experienced a 30%+ growth in passenger usage. (Sony VGN-CR42E Battery) This idea of diversification of the economy is also seen in the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 planned by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. In this plan Abu Dhabi's economy will be sustainable and not be dependent on any one facet or source of revenue. More specifically the non-oil portion of income is planned to be increased from about 40% to about 60%(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/L Battery).
The water supply in Abu Dhabi is managed by the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company. As of 2006, it supplied 560.2 MiGD (million imperial gallons per day) of water, while the water demand for 2005–06 was estimated to be 511 MiGD. The Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD) states that groundwater is the most significant source of water, as well as desalinated potable water, and treated sewage effluent. At 40.6 MiGD(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/P Battery), the Umm Al Nar storage is the largest water source for Abu Dhabi, followed by the rivers Shuweihat and Taweelah. With falling groundwater level and rising population density, Abu Dhabi faces a severely acute water shortage. On average each Abu Dhabi resident uses 550 litres (120 imp gal; 150 U.S. gal) of water per day. Abu Dhabi daily produces 1,532 tonnes of solid wastes which is dumped at three landfill sites by Abu Dhabi Municipality(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/B Battery). The daily domestic waste water production is 330 MiGD and industrial waste water is 40 MiGD. A large portion of the sewerage flows as waste into streams, and separation plants.
The city's per capita electricity consumption is about 41,000 kWh and the total supplied is 8,367 MW as of 2007. The distribution of electricity is carried out by companies run by SCIPCO Power and APC Energy. The Abu Dhabi Fire Service runs 13 fire stations that attend about 2,000 fire and rescue calls per year(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/L Battery).
State-owned Etisalat and private du communication companies provide telephone and cell phone service to the city. Cellular coverage is extensive, and both GSM and CDMA (from Etisalat and Du) services are available. Etisalat, the government owned telecommunications provider, held a virtual monopoly over telecommunication services in Abu Dhabi prior to the establishment of other(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/P Battery), smaller telecommunications companies such as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC — better known as Du) in 2006. Internet was introduced into Abu Dhabi in 1995. The current network is supported by a bandwidth of 6 GB, with 50,000 dialup and 150,000 broadband ports. Etisalat recently announced implementing a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network in Abu Dhabi during the third quarter of 2009 to make the emirate the world's first city to have such a network. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/R Battery)
Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street (formerly Airport Road)
Waterfront park in Abu Dhabi.
The city was planned in the 1970s for an estimated maximum population of 600,000. In accordance with what was considered to be ideal urban planning at the time, the city has wide grid-pattern roads, and high-density tower blocks. On the northerly end of the island, where the population density is highest, the main streets are lined with 20- to 30-story towers. Inside this rectangle of towers is a normal grid pattern of roads with lower density buildings (2-story villas or 6-story low-rise buildings) (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G Battery).
Abu Dhabi is a modern city with broad boulevards, tall office and apartment buildings, and busy shops. Principal thoroughfares are the Corniche, Airport Road, Sheikh Zayed Street, Hamdan Street and Khalifa Street. Abu Dhabi is known in the region for its greenery; the former desert strip today includes numerous parks and gardens. The design of the inner city roads and main roads are quite organised. Starting from the Corniche(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/B Battery), all horizontal streets are oddly and the vertical ones evenly numbered. Thus, the Corniche is Street #1, Khalifa is Street #3, Hamdan is Street #5, and so on. Conversely, Salam Street is St #8.
Mail is generally delivered to post-office boxes only; however, there is door-to-door delivery for commercial organizations. There are many parks throughout the city. Entrance is usually free for children, however there is often an entrance fee for adults(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/L Battery). The Corniche, the city's seaside promenade, is about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) in length, with gardens, playgrounds, and a BMX/skateboard ring.
In 2007 the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) was established, which is the agency responsible for the future of Abu Dhabi’s urban environments and the expert authority behind the visionary Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 Urban Structure Framework Plan that was published in September 2007. The UPC is also working on similar plans for the regions of Al-Ain and Al-Gharbia(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/W Battery).
Because of the rapid development of Abu Dhabi, a number of challenges to the city's urban organization have developed, among them:
Today, the city's population far surpasses the original estimated maximum population when it was designed. This causes traffic congestion, a shortage of car parking spaces, and overcrowding.
Although there is an addressing system for the city, it is not widely used, causing problems in describing building locations. Directions must often be given based on nearby landmarks(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/P Battery).
According to the Abu Dhabi Department of Planning and Economy, in 2006 the population of the emirate was 1,463,491.
As the emirate covers 67,341 km2 (26,001 sq mi), nearly 87% of the UAE, the population density is 21.73 /km2 (56.3 /sq mi).
Abu Dhabi also ranks as the 67th most expensive city in the world, and the second most in the region behind Dubai.
As of 2001, 25.6% of the population of the emirate was made up of UAE nationals. Approximately 74.4% of the population was expatriates. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/R Battery) The median age in the emirate was about 30.1 years. The crude birth rate, as of 2005, was 13.6%, while the crude death rate was about 2%.
Article 7 of the UAE's Provisional Constitution declares Islam the official state religion of the UAE. The government subsidizes almost 95% of mosques and employs all imams.
The majority of the inhabitants of Abu Dhabi are expatriate workers from India, Pakistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/L Battery), the United Kingdom and various countries from across the Arab world. Consequently, English, Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam, Tamil, Somali, Tigrinya, Amharic and Bengali are widely spoken. Apart from Urdu and Hindi spoken by Indians and Pakistanis, many South Asian expatriates also contribute other South Asian languages to the cultural milieu, including Malayalam, the main language spoken in the state of Kerala(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/P Battery).
The native-born population are Arabic-speaking Gulf Arabs who are part of a clan-based society. The Al Nahyan family, part of the al-Falah branch of the Bani Yas clan, rules the emirate and has a central place in society.
See also: Indians in the United Arab Emirates, Islam in the United Arab Emirates, Roman Catholicism in the United Arab Emirates, and Bahá'í Faith in the United Arab Emirates(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/R Battery)
Interior of Abu Dhabi International Airport
Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the city's main aviation hub and the second busiest airport in the UAE, serving 9.02 million passengers in 2008, up 30.2% on 2007. Its terminal spaces are dominated by Etihad Airways which is the UAE's national carrier and the country's second largest airline. A new terminal opened in 2009 with total capacity reaching 12 million passengers per annum by 2011. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/W Battery) Development work has also started on a new passenger terminal, to be situated between the two runways and known as the Midfield Terminal. The new mega-midfield terminal complex will be capable of handling an additional 20 million passengers a year initially and then later, as Abu Dhabi develops as a major Middle East transport hub, up to 50 million passengers a year, thus providing a major competition to Dubai International Airport. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR150E/B Battery) The 5.9-million-square-metre (1,500 acres) terminal will initially include 42 gates, rising to more than 90 gates on completion of the airport.
Public transport systems in Abu Dhabi include the Abu Dhabi public buses, taxis, ferries, and airplanes. White-and-mustard metered taxis traverse most of the city in UAE. Currently newer silver-colored taxis are coming in, while the old mustard-colored ones are being phased out. Abu Dhabi has about 8,000 old bronze/yellow/gold & white taxis, which will be phased out from 2008 to 2010. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/L Battery)
Abu Dhabi's older taxis are being phased out with newer silver taxis
The first town bus entered service in about 1969 but this was all part of a very informal service. On 30 June 2008 the Department of Transport began public bus service in Abu Dhabi with four routes. In an attempt to entice people to use the bus system, all routes were zero-fare until the end of 2008. The four routes, which operate between 6 am and midnight every day, run at a frequency of 10 to 20 minutes. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR21/B Battery) Within the first week of service, the bus network had seen high ridership. Some of the buses, which have a maximum capacity of 45 passengers, only had room for standing left. Some bus drivers reported as many as 100 passengers on a bus at one time. Although the new, zero-fare bus service has been a success, many taxi drivers are losing business. Taxi drivers have seen a considerable decrease in the demand for taxis while lines were forming for the buses. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/L Battery) The service steadily expanded and by the end of 2008, 230 buses were in service. In 2009, the Department of Transport plans to have 21 bus routes in the city, operated by 820 buses. A total of 1,360 buses are expected to be in operation by 2010.
A massive expansion of public transport is anticipated within the framework of the government's Surface Transport Master Plan 2030. The expansion is expected to see 130 km (81 mi) of metro and 340 km (210 mi) of tramways and/or bus rapid transit (BRT) routes(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/P Battery).
See also: Abu Dhabi Bus service
The Abu Dhabi Public Library and Cultural Center
Abu Dhabi has a diverse and multicultural society. The city's cultural imprint as a small, ethnically homogenous pearling community was changed with the arrival of other ethnic groups and nationals — first by the Iranians in the early 1900s, and later by Indians and Pakistanis in the 1960s. Abu Dhabi has been criticized for perpetuating a class-based society(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/W Battery), where migrant workers are in the lower classes. Despite the diversity of the population, only minor and infrequent episodes of ethnic tensions, primarily between expatriates, have been reported in the city. Major holidays in Abu Dhabi include Eid al Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, Eid ul-Adha which marks the end of Hajj, and National Day (2 December), which marks the formation of the United Arab Emirates. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/L Battery)
This unique socioeconomic development in the Persian Gulf has meant that Abu Dhabi is generally more tolerant than its neighbours. While Islam is the main religion, Emaritis have been known for their tolerance; Christian churches, Hindu temples, and Sikh gurdwaras can be found alongside mosques. The country is home to several communities that have faced persecution elsewhere. The cosmopolitan atmosphere is gradually growing and as a result, there are a variety of Asian and Western schools, cultural centers and themed restaurants(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/P Battery).
Abu Dhabi is home to a number of cultural institutions including the Cultural Foundation and the National Theater. The Cultural Foundation, while closed for reconstruction as of spring 2011, is home to the UAE Public Library and Cultural Center. Various cultural societies such as the Abu Dhabi Classical Music Society have a strong and visible following in the city(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/B Battery). The recently launched Emirates Foundation offers grants in support of the arts, as well as to advance science and technology, education, environmental protection and social development. The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) will be based in Abu Dhabi. The city also stages hundreds of conferences and exhibitions each year in its state-of-the-art venues, including the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) which is the Persian Gulf's largest exhibition center and welcomes around 1.8 million visitors every year. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/P Battery)
The Red Bull Air Race World Series has been a spectacular sporting staple for the city for many years, bringing tens of thousands to the waterfront. Another major event is the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC).
The diversity of cuisine in Abu Dhabi is a reflection of the cosmopolitan nature of the society. Arab food is very popular and is available everywhere in the city, from the small shawarma to the upscale restaurants in the city's many hotels(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/R Battery). Fast food and South Asian cuisine are also very popular and are widely available. The sale and consumption of pork, though not illegal, is regulated and it is sold only to non-Muslims in designated areas. Similarly, the sale of alcoholic beverages is regulated. A liquor permit is required to purchase alcohol; however, alcohol, although available in bars and restaurants within four or five star hotels, is not sold as widely as in its more liberal neighbour Dubai. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW21EF/S battery) Shisha and qahwa boutiques are also popular in Abu Dhabi.
Poetry in Abu Dhabi and the UAE is highly regarded and often is centric around the themes of satire, religion, family, chivalry and love. According to an article from an Abu Dhabi tourism page, sheikhs, teachers, sailors and princes make a large bulk of the poets within the UAE. A unique form of poetry to the UAE was formed in the 8th century by Al Khalil bin Ahmed and it was written in 16 meters. The first known poet from the UAE, Ibn Majid, was born sometime between 1432 and 1437 in Ras Al Khaimah(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21JF battery). According to the tourism page Majid came from a family of sailors and 40 of his works have survived. Another Emirati poet, Ibn Daher is from the 17th century. Daher is important because he used Nabati poetry (AKA Bedouin poetry), poetry written in the vernacular instead of the classical/religious Arabic. Other important poets from the UAE are Mubarak Al Oqaili (1880–1954), Salem bin Ali al Owais (1887–1959) and Ahmed bin Sulayem (1905–1976) (Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF battery). These poets made headway in the field of Classical Arabic poetry as opposed to the Nabati poetry of the 17th century.
One of Ibn Masjid’s most prominent works is a book called, Kitab al-Fawa’id fi Usul ‘Ilm al-Bahr wa ’l-Qawa’id (Book of Useful Information on the Principles and Rules of Navigation), and it was written in 1490. This book is effectually an encyclopædia about navigation and sailing in and around the Indian Ocean. Masjid also goes into detail about the intricacies and technologies of the Arab sailing techniques. An excerpt from his book is as follows(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF/W battery):
Family Park Fountain and Skylines, Abu Dhabi
"We have 32 rhumbs, and tirfa, and zam, and the measurement of stellar altitudes, but they have not. They cannot understand the way we navigate, but we can understand the way they do; we can use their system and sail in their ships. For the Indian Ocean is connected to the All-Encompassing Ocean, and we possess scientific books that give stellar altitudes, but they do not have a knowledge of stellar altitudes(Sony VAIO VGN-NW31EF/W battery); they have no science and no books, only the compass and dead reckoning… We can easily sail in their ships and upon their sea, so they have great respect for us and look up to us. They admit we have a better knowledge of the sea and navigation and the wisdom of the stars."
Ahmad Ibn Majid on European Navigation
Today in Abu Dhabi there is a group called the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation that works to preserve the art and culture of the city(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21ZF battery). According to an article from the English Pen Atlas Al jawaher wal la'li was the first manuscript to come out of the UAE. According to another article this book was written in the 1990s and was banned in the city for some time for making accusations about the ruling family.
Main article: Education in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is home to international and local private schools and universities, including government-sponsored United Arab Emirates University in Al-Ain, New York University, Higher Colleges of Technology, (Sony VAIO VGN-NW31JF battery) New York Film Academy, Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi University in Abu Dhabi. These boast several languages that make up the population of the city. For example, the Abu Dhabi Indian School follows the CBSE Indian syllabus. INSEAD, the prestigious international business school, established a campus in February 2010, offering an Executive MBA and executive education courses. New York University opened a government-sponsored satellite campus in Abu Dhabi in September 2010. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/B battery)
Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) maintains a comprehensive after-school program for interested and talented jiu-jitsu students. The Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Schools Program began in 2008 under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, who is a keen Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitor. The program launched in 14 schools for pupils in grades 6 and 7 and has since expanded to 42 government schools, with 81 Brazilian coaches brought in as instructors. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/S battery)
Students from 9 to 13 years old are taught Brazilian jiu-jitsu as part of the curriculum. The plan is for up to 500 schools to be participating in the school-jitsu program by 2015. The project was set up by special request of HH Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the head coach of the Emirates jiu-jitsu team Carlos Santos, now also the managing director of the School-Jitsu Project.
Every year in the season of admissions an exhibition is launched in Abu Dhabi Exhibition Center under the supervision of the government. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/S battery) Universities from every corner of the world exhibit their career programs and scholarship programs for globally bright students. This seems to be a well-defined platform for the students of all nationalities. Heriot-Watt University, University of Bolton, Cambridge University, Oxford University, the Petroluem
Main article: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi hosts F1 race every year during the time of November/December starting from 2009 onwards, at the Yas Marina Circuit, which is considered to be the richest F1 race track in the world.