Abu Dhabi

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أبو ظبي
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)
Red pog.svg
Coordinates 24 ° 27 '  N , 54 ° 23'  E Coordinates: 24 ° 27 '  N , 54 ° 23'  E
coat of arms
coat of arms
Basic data
Country United Arab Emirates


Abu Dhabi
surface 972.5 km²
Residents 1,500,000 (2014)
density 1,542.5  Ew. / km²
Website www.abudhabi.ae
Abu Dhabi satellite image, 2002
Abu Dhabi satellite image, 2002

Abu Dhabi ([ ˈabu ˈdaːbi ], Arabic أبو ظبي, DMG Abū Ẓabī  'father of the gazelle') is the capital of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


The core of the city with more than 1.5 million inhabitants is located on a 70 square kilometer island in the Persian Gulf , in the mangrove belt. It is connected to the mainland by the Mussafa Bridge, the al-Maqtaa Bridge and the Sheikh Zayed Bridge . The main island is surrounded by a ring of artificially expanded or newly washed up islands, which are currently only partially built on and which expand the settlement area.

On the north-western flank of the island facing the open sea is the Corniche , where further land has been reclaimed since 2003. At the north end of the Corniche there is a strip about one kilometer wide and five kilometers long, which can be considered the city center due to its dense development.

The island of Al-Futaisi is eight kilometers to the west .

Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Abu Dhabi
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 25.0 26.6 28.6 33.4 38.4 39.6 42.0 41.5 40.1 35.8 30.6 25.7 O 34
Min. Temperature (° C) 15.8 17.2 19.8 20.9 23.8 26.8 29.6 30.7 28.6 21.8 19.5 18.1 O 22.7
Precipitation ( mm ) 3.9 42.0 24.8 7.3 0 0.0 0 0.1 0 0.0 1.8 9.0 Σ 88.9
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 7.9 8.2 8.1 9.4 11.0 11.2 10.1 9.9 10.1 9.8 9.6 8.3 O 9.5
Rainy days ( d ) 0.8 1.2 1.9 1.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.2 1.1 Σ 6.7
Water temperature (° C) 22nd 21st 23 25th 27 30th 31 32 32 30th 27 25th O 27.1
Humidity ( % ) 69 68 63 58 56 60 61 62 64 64 65 68 O 63.1
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: WMO ; wetterkontor.de


The founding of the Abu Dhabi settlement on the coastal island of the same name dates back to 1761, when members of the Bani Yas tribe , who originally lived in the Liwa oasis , accidentally discovered a source of freshwater. This led to the establishment of a small settlement with 20 huts. It was the first permanent coastal settlement of the Bani Yas.

Until the 1960s, the until then small island town still consisted of simple buildings, some without electricity, sewer systems and cars. The main sources of income were fishing and diving for pearls and growing dates. The beginning of the oil production changed these circumstances suddenly, Abu Dhabi was developed into a modern metropolis from the 1970s with a chessboard-like master plan . The plan provided for a population of 600,000, which was high for the time, which was reached after only twenty years; the growth now gives way to artificial islands and the foreshore.

Abu Dhabi has had a new international airport since 1981 . It is located 30 km outside the city on the mainland on the main highway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai ; designed by the architects who were responsible for building Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport . The previously mixed-use Al-Bateen Airport, which is located on Abu Dhabi Island, was then initially used exclusively by the military and the ruling family. It has been operated as a business airport for private jets since 2008. The emirate has another international airport in the oasis city of al-Ain , which is only served by a British TUI subsidiary in long-distance traffic.

Government and ruling family

Etihad Towers with The Founders Memorial 2019

Sheikh Chalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is currently the ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. He is the son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan , the first president of the UAE, who died in 2004 . The half-brother of the currently ruling sheikh is Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan .


Abu Dhabi skyline on the Corniche, October 2008
Abu Dhabi as seen from Qasr al-Husn Fort
Abu Dhabi skyline with beach, ADNOC Headquarters , Etihad Towers and Emirates Palace Hotel
Abu Dhabi Capital Gate , National Exhibition Center
City center

Abu Dhabi has been one of the most modern cities in the world due to its rapid growth since 1980. Therefore, the city is mostly presenting a new face. Architecturally striking skyscrapers such as the Capital Plaza z. The cityscape is characterized by some Arabic elements and lavishly developed streets. In between there are a few traces from earlier centuries, such as the Qasr al-Husn Fort , traditional buildings, residential palaces and countless, mostly newly built mosques, the most important of which is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque . The city is characterized by the many small shops on the ground floor of the building, which have not yet been displaced by the large, ultra-modern shopping centers. In 2010 these small shops still accounted for 64 percent of retail sales; some larger shopping centers are under construction, particularly in the emerging suburbs. Furthermore, the high proportion of green along all roads in the emirate is very noticeable.

Since the city is on an island and the checkered streets are straight, the sea can be seen from almost everywhere. A 7.7 km long coastal road ( Corniche ) with generous strolling paths as well as play areas, green spaces and restaurants delimit the settlement area northeast of the center. There are numerous irrigated green spaces in the city. The wider streets are planted with irrigated trees and shrubs. There are around twenty small and medium-sized parks around the city center. At the Ostring there is another, somewhat more modest, around 4.5 km long corniche, in front of which a natural or partially re-created mangrove swamp extends. A five-kilometer-long elevated viewing path has been created in the mangroves .

Projected urban development by 2030

In May 2008, Abu Dhabi's Urban Planning Council presented the master plan for urban development up to 2030. After that, the desired “Greater Abu Dhabi City” is to grow to three million inhabitants. In order to meet the large demand for housing, which is mainly caused by migrant workers of non-Arab origin, the city center, which is now almost exhausted, must be relieved. In addition to the artificial islands, only the coastal sections on the mainland with their hinterland are suitable.

The largest project to date is the suburb Capital City District , 25 km southeast on the mainland, which is planned as the federal district of the United Arab Emirates. On a triangular area of ​​4900 hectares, jobs and apartments for 370,000 people are to be created here in predominantly dense construction by the year 2030. Due to the proximity of the airport, however, the construction heights are limited, and a few skyscrapers are only allowed up to a maximum of 199 meters. This relief city will accommodate all government offices and many authorities of the UAE as well as diplomatic missions, associations, etc. In the outer part, according to the master plan from April 2009, there will be extensive areas for living. The urbanization, which is accessed through a central, splendid central axis, has seven large boulevards in a star shape, one for each emirate. The suburb, which is “in Arab tradition” in terms of urban planning, will be equipped with sports and leisure centers, a congress building, at least one university and state-of-the-art health infrastructure. In the numerous relatively independent residential areas, decentralized retail and service alleys, kindergartens, schools, etc. are planned on site, as well as a central mega-mall - which is now indispensable in Abu Dhabi as well.

The public connection between the two districts will be a line of the planned Abu Dhabi Metro , there will also be a metro line to Abu Dhabi International Airport and beyond to the Dubai border (transition to the Dubai Metro ). The internal development relies on avoiding vehicle traffic, i. H. more like a tram in front of buses . The entire design emphasizes the priority of sustainable building, business and living, even if it is obviously not thought of as consistently as in the neighboring ecological city of Masdar City to the east . The total investment volume for this mega-project has not yet been officially quantified, but at today's prices it is estimated to be between 60 and 80 billion US dollars.

In April 2009, at the “Cityscape Abu Dhabi” planning fair, it was announced that Abu Dhabi had felt relatively little of the global economic crisis. The desired development will be continued as planned, and ten further major projects with a total investment of USD 208 billion have been announced.


Like the neighboring emirate of Dubai, Abu Dhabi discovered tourism as an economic factor in good time, even before revenues from oil production declined. The most famous hotel in Abu Dhabi is the state-owned luxury hotel Emirates Palace , which opened in 2005 . A number of large tourist complexes and hotel projects, such as Bab al-Qasar , are currently under construction. A museum city and almost 30 hotels are being built on Saadiyat Island . In the district of Al-Gurm , spread over several small islands, a tourist resort is being built with a total of 161 suites that extend over a mangrove bay. Other major tourism projects are the Al Raha location near the coast and the island projects on Al-Lu'lu ' , Yas and Al Reem . In addition to the tourist infrastructures, apartments and houses will also be integrated in all projects. Abu Dhabi's planners take care not to develop the new quarters too one-sidedly purely for tourists or residents, as they want to avoid the segregation observed in Dubai and the associated reduced urban quality, or the need to create an isolated “gated community”.

Since October 2009, on the Yas Island the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi for one Formula World Championship on the new 5.554 km long Yas Marina Circuit held.

Furthermore, the Ferrari World theme park was opened on October 28, 2010 . Of the 25 ha park area, 20 ha are covered. One of the main attractions is the Formula Rossa roller coaster , which with a top speed of 240 km / h is the fastest roller coaster in the world.

The Saadiyat cultural island:

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi has set itself the task of emphasizing the cultural component in addition to the rapid economic development. Abu Dhabi is trying to differentiate itself from Dubai's lifestyle tourism and to develop more of a cultural hub. The artificially enlarged Saadiyat Island (27 km²) east of the main island will support a number of major projects. Sites for the visual arts, musical performances, theater and cultural education at a high level are to be established. There will be several museums for historical and contemporary art, an architecturally spectacular Philharmonie for guest orchestras, as well as a multi-purpose hall for opera and theater performances and other cultural events. In addition, there are to be training centers for the visual and performing arts at university level.

The French government and the emirate opened the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat in November 2017 . A cooperation agreement was signed on March 7, 2007. The architecture was designed by Jean Nouvel . The emirate, which is planning an annual purchase budget of 40 million euros, is to pay the Agence Internationale des musées de France a one-off 165 million euros and annually for 15 years 13 million euros for temporary exhibitions in a 2000 m² gallery. At the opening in 2017, the Louvre Abu Dhabi received around 300 exhibits from the holdings of well-known French museums and cultural institutions. In return, French museums will organize temporary exhibitions and also lend other permanent exhibits. In addition, the new museum can call itself the “Louvre” for 30 years. The Louvre in Paris will receive a total of 400 million euros. The new facilities to be built in Paris from this money will be named after the late Emir of Abu Dhabi, Zayid bin Sultan Al Nahyan. In the presence of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy , the official laying of the foundation stone of the Louvre offshoot took place at the end of May 2009.

A second project of the so-called "museum business", the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi , is another branch of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum based on the model of the successful Guggenheim Museum Bilbao . From an economic point of view, these are franchising companies. Construction work on the Guggenheim has been suspended since 2011, and a planned opening date is not known.

Bridge construction on Saadiyat Island, October 2008, opening: October 2009

The infrastructure of Saadiyyat Island has been developed since 2006. A new 27 km long expressway connects the port area of ​​Port Zayid on the main island via Saadiyat and Yas Island with the mainland Shahama district. Also used as a new connection to the airport, it reduces travel time by 20 to 30 minutes. As part of the expressway, a 1500 m long ten-lane road bridge was opened from the port of the main island to the west bank of Saadiyyat in October 2009.

The state building authority has awarded work for main roads, other bridges, parks and port facilities for Saadiyat. The purely culturally used part of the island is relatively small with 2.7 km² compared to the water sports facilities (4.4 km²), the parks and sports areas (6.0 km²), the two residential, hotel and beach regions (7, 0 km²) and the wetlands biotopes, i. H. natural or newly created mangrove areas (5.23 km²).


Long-distance transport

Abu Dhabi has very good connections to the highway network of the United Arab Emirates and beyond to the Arabian Peninsula. The 11 trunk road with its western continuations runs to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. The branching coastal highways 10 and 33 provide a direct connection to the city, while the trunk road 22 leads via Al Ain to the Indian Ocean (Muscat, Oman). The highways within the emirate are often lined with wide strips of bushes and trees, which serve to protect against erosion and wind.

The Abu Dhabi International Airport is the main airport of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and at the same hub and home base of Etihad Airways . Abu Dhabi is served by around twenty airlines. The airport was gradually expanded to accommodate 20 million passengers by 2013, and a new terminal and another runway have been under construction since 2006.

Local transport

Abu Dhabi is basically geared towards the needs of individual transport by car. Until 2008, the numerous vehicles could be parked on the roadside and on numerous undeveloped lots free of charge. However, these open spaces are becoming increasingly rare, so that the first parking ticket zones were set up in summer 2009. One hour costs 2–3 dirhams (0.42 to 0.67 euros), the maximum parking time is usually limited to 4 hours. A total of around 75,000 such parking spaces are planned, which are to be set up in 43 sectors of the city center and other hot spots. However, setting up the chargeable parking zones is taking its time: in March 2012, only around 7,000 parking spaces were identified.

Public transport

Due to increasing problems with the dense individual traffic in the metropolitan area, a certain modification of the car-friendly city can be observed. The first city bus routes have existed since June 2008, and their network is continuously being expanded. After a few months of free travel, the inexpensive public buses are now accepted, especially among the less affluent population.

In February 2009 , the Department of Transport (DoT) responsible for planning presented a report for the expansion of rail-based local public transport by 2030 on the basis of the rail master plan. It has been announced that the city will build a metro , which will be supplemented by a few shorter tram lines in the core of the settlement . After that, the Abu Dhabi Metro should go into operation from 2016, the tram from 2014. Due to the financial crisis of 2008, however, these projects have not yet materialized. There are also plans to build a Light Rail Transit (LRT), which corresponds roughly to the European S-Bahn and travels to more distant parts of the city with fewer stops. The first lines are expected to be built by 2030. One of the LRT lines could also lead to the border of the Emirates Dubai and be connected there with the red line of the Dubai Metro .


Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT) has been operating the Khalifa Port Container Terminal (KPCT) since 2012, which handled 1.13 million TEUs in 2014,  26.7% more containers than in 2013. In 2018, additional facilities with a quay length of 800 meters for 2 , 5 million TEU annual capacity under construction, another 400 meters are planned. COSCO Shipping Ports (CSP) will operate for 35 years.


According to a study from 2014, the greater Abu Dhabi area has a gross domestic product of 178.2 billion US dollars (KKB), which is a significant part of the country's total economic output. In the ranking of the economically strongest metropolitan regions worldwide, he came in 70th place. Abu Dhabi is one of the richest cities in the world and is also richer than the nearby Dubai. Abu Dhabi controls over 90% of the country's oil and gas reserves and holds approximately 9% of the world's oil reserves. Due to its solid financial position, it had to help Dubai out in 2009 when it got into financial difficulties due to the global economic crisis from 2007 onwards .

To diversify its economy and sources of income, Abu Dhabi is increasingly turning to tourism, logistics and transport, trade and finance. In a ranking of the most important financial centers worldwide, Abu Dhabi took 25th place (as of 2018).

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is managed from Abu Dhabi and is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world with a capital of 683 billion US dollars .


In the 1950s there was no school in Abu Dhabi, except for a religious school in a hut made of palm fronds. The British government built a school building in 1959, which consisted of six rooms, but had neither electricity nor plumbing. 1976 in Al Ain , the United Arab Emirates University is the first university of the UAE Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan established.


There are football stadiums with the al-Nahyan stadium and the al-Jazira-Mohammed-Bin-Zayed stadium with capacities of over 12,000 and 42,000 spectators respectively. The latter is one of the most modern in the Arab world. The first hosted matches from the 2003 Junior World Cup and the second hosted the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup .

With the Abu Dhabi Ice Rink (also Zayed Sports City Ice Rink ) there is an ice rink with a capacity of 1200 spectators. Several ice hockey teams , the Abu Dhabi Scorpions and Abu Dhabi Storm , have been participating in the Emirates Ice Hockey League since 2009 .

Town twinning

Abu Dhabi maintains the following cities partnerships :

sons and daughters of the town


  • Ayne-Marie Leitch among others: Abu Dhabi Explorer. The Complete Resident's Guide . Explorer Group, 2006, ISBN 976-8182-69-5 .

Web links

Commons : Abu Dhabi  - collection of images
 Wikinews: Abu Dhabi  - on the news
Wikivoyage: Abu Dhabi  travel guide
Wiktionary: Abu Dhabi  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Abu Dhabi population doubled in eight years. In: thenational.ae
  2. John Gordon Lorimer: Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. Vol I. Historical. Part IA & IB, p. 763.
  3. Carefully planned expansion. ( Memento from June 26, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) In: Golf News. March 26, 2008.
  4. First Ferrari theme park revs up for October opening . In: Reuters . June 3, 2010.
  5. "Ferrari World" Abu Dhabi builds the fastest roller coaster in the world. In: Spiegel Online.
  6. How museums are born in the sand. In: FAZ . May 15, 2013, p. 28.
  7. ^ Louvre Abu Dhabi unveils loans for the opening year. In: Reisenexclusiv.com , accessed on November 14, 2014.
  8. Abu Dhabi metro trains to start operation by 2016, trams by 2014. ( Memento from March 5, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) In: Gulf News
  9. ADT: Containers up 26% at Khalifa Port. In: Hansa , issue 3/2015, p. 10.
  10. ^ Port News - United Arab Emirates. In: Hansa. Issue 1/2018, p. 69.
  11. ^ Alan Berube, Jesus Leal Trujillo, Tao Ran, and Joseph Parilla: Global Metro Monitor . In: Brookings . January 22, 2015 ( brookings.edu [accessed July 19, 2018]).
  12. Shuchita Kapur: Abu Dhabi's oil reserves to last another 150 years . In: Emirates 24 | 7 . March 31, 2010 ( emirates247.com [accessed July 21, 2018]).
  13. The Global Financial Centers Index 23. ( Memento of March 27, 2018 in the Internet Archive )
  14. Mohammed AJ Al Fahim: From desert sand to prosperity. 2014, ISBN 978-9948-8529-2-6 , p. 63, p. 65, p. 172ff.
  15. a b Zayed Sports City Ice Rink. In: Website of the "Zayed Sports City". Retrieved January 30, 2013 .
  16. ^ Abu Dhabi Scorpions: To the Emiratis ice hockey game. In: Spiegel Online . September 4, 2012, accessed on January 30, 2013 (photo gallery).
  17. Ice stadium. In: Hockeyarenas.net
  18. ^ Bethlehem Twinning Cities. In: bethlehem-city.org , (English)