Cities in Asia – Cities in U.A.E. – Abu Dhabi City
Abu Dhabi, capital and largest city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), located on the Persian Gulf coast. It is also the capital of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, the largest, wealthiest, and most populous of the seven emirates that make up the UAE. Built on an island just off the mainland, the city has an important artificial deepwater port called Port Zayed. Abu Dhabi is a financial, transportation, and communications center for a rich region and the site of an international airport. A modest town of small of a few thousand people in the mid-1960s, Abu Dhabi is now a modern city of skyscrapers and hundreds of thousands of residents.
The city is laid out on a mostly regular grid with a southeast-to-northwest orientation. Numerous parks and planted medians also add to the beautification of what was once a dusty, desert landscape. Abu Dhabi is the site of the Center for Documentation and Research (1968), which maintain collections of materials relating to the nation’s history.
The settlement was founded in 1761 and in 1793 it became the seat of power for the al-Nahyan family, rulers of the emirate of Abu Dhabi to the present day. The town had little more than local significance until the discovery of vast reserves of oil in the emirate in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In 1971 the city of Abu Dhabi was designated the provisional capital of the newly formed UAE. It was anticipated that a new, permanent national capital would be built later on the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the second most important emirate in the UAE. In 1996, however, Abu Dhabi was officially declared the permanent capital of the UAE.