Abu Dhabi,United Arab Emirates

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Main port photo for Abu Dhabi,United Arab Emirates

Once upon a time, before oil transformed the Middle East, Abu Dhabi was a collection of small coastal villages, home to one of the finest pearl fisheries in the Persian Gulf. Inland, Bedouin roamed the vast expanse of Arabia Deserta, a land of gaunt mountains, wadis and immense red sand dunes. Oil brought wealth - and in 1971, oil wealth brought power. Almost overnight, the creation of the United Arab Emirates made Abu Dhabi national capital, an international commercial center and a major world metropolis. Neighboring Dubai may claim more of the world's attention, but Abu Dhabi remains the heart of the Emirates, home to the UAE's Central Bank and Stock Exchange as well as a headquarters for multinational corporations. The city also remains true to its origins and its traditions - Abu Dhabi boasts one of the few public falcon hospitals in the world, and a day at the track may mean wagering on the camel races.

Just over 50 miles from the metropolis is the ancient "Green City" of Al Ain, a major caravan stop for over a millennium. The city is surrounded by seven oases and is home to the last camel souk in Abu Dhabi.

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  • Grand Mosque Grand Mosque

    The Sheikh Zayed Mosque, or Grand Mosque, is the eighth largest in the world, and features Moorish architecture and boasts classic Arab minarets. It is also home to the world's largest chandelier.

  • Heritage Village Heritage Village

    Situated in the center of Abu Dhabi, this nomad village is designed to give the visitor an insight into the traditions of the Bedouin. View mud-brick houses, falconry and a traditional market.

  • The Corniche The Corniche

    The Corniche is a waterfront development that features peaceful walkways, fountains, cafes and restaurants. The road itself is four miles long, and there are also bike paths and many sandy beaches.

  • Al Ain National Museum Al Ain National Museum

    The museum was built by the former President Sheikh Zayed, and is the oldest in the UAE. Visitors can view artifacts from the Hili tombs, plus traditional musical instruments, weaponry and coins.

  • Sheikh Zayed Palace Sheikh Zayed Palace

    The former palace of Sheikh Zayed is one of the city's newest tourist attractions. Located in the heart of the city, near the Al Ain Oasis, the palace is the former residence of the ruler of Al Ain.

  • Jebel Hafeet Jebel Hafeet

    Jebel Hafeet mountain, which stands 4,000-ft high, is located on the outskirts of Al Ain and straddles the border with Oman. The hot water springs located at the foothills are a popular attraction.

  • Falcon Hospital Falcon Hospital

    The Falcon Hospital is the first of its kind in the world. Tour the museum, watch amazing displays of falconry, and have your picture taken with one of these majestic birds perched on your arm.

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