Culture & heritage
Abu Dhabi's culture is firmly rooted in Arabia's Islamic traditions, creating a shining example of Islam's true commitment to tolerance and hospitality. The combination of international influences and a strong commitment to local heritage has created an intriguing mix of new and old.
Once a vital green oasis on the caravan route from UAE to Oman, Al Ain (meaning ‘The Spring’) is the emirate’s heritage heartland, one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited settlements, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
An exquisite architectural work of art and one the world’s largest mosques, with a capacity for an astonishing 41,000 worshippers, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque features 82 domes, over a 1,000 columns, 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers and the world's largest hand knotted carpet. The main prayer hall is dominated by one of the world’s largest chandeliers –10 metres in diameter, 15 metres in height and weighing 12 tonnes.
Just seven minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi and 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport, the 27 square kilometre Saadiyat Island is undergoing remarkable transformation into a world class leisure, residential, business and cultural hub, housing the world's largest single concentration of premier cultural assets. These will include the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi - all designed by Pritzker prize winners.