Abu Dhabi is the federal capital and center of government in the United Arab Emirates. It is the largest city of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and one of the most modern cities in the world.
With a population of just under 1.5 million, Abu Dhabi is the headquarters of numerous oil companies and embassies. With only 420,000 citizens in the entire emirate, each has an average net worth of $17 million. The city features large gardens and parks, green boulevards lining all the streets and roads, sophisticated high-rise buildings, international luxury hotel chains and opulent shopping malls.
The city began to change radically in 2004 after long-ruler Sheikh Zayed passed away and his son Sheikh Khalifa took over. In a bid to attract tourism and investment, land sales to foreigners were allowed and restrictions on alcohol were loosened.
Several massive projects are also under way. Yas Island hosts Abu Dhabi's Formula 1 track and the new Ferrari theme park, while the upcoming $28 billion cultural zone of Saadiyat Island and its centerpieces the Guggenheim and Louvre Museums are scheduled to open in 2013. It remains to be seen how well the strategy will work but the city is certainly experiencing a construction boom.
On the back of this card we can read: "This is a bird's eye view of Abu Dhabi's signature Corniche -a wide boulevard flanked by public parks, walkways, fountains and the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf. You can walk the Corniche, hire a bicycle and ride along it, or cruise its waters by day in a chartered leisure craft."