Abu Dhabi city centre is the downtown district and core of the city, defined by its collection of skyscrapers, central location and abundance of activities. It is an energetic and buzzing part of the city, full of entertainment and culture, landmarks and inner city nature, and a constant bustle of people. With a stable location on the north coast of the country, Abu Dhabi is a constant favourite with travellers, with a skyline that is ever changing.
In general, the city centre remains a reminder of the traditional heritage of the city before the existence of its towering skyscrapers, with the Qasr Al Hosn fort making the old heart of the capital. The fort is one of the oldest buildings in the United Arab Emirates, but another defining feature of the centre is the iconic World Trade Centre which towers above the streets at a staggering height of 320 metres. Visitors can discover a world of shopping in the city centre, ranging from high label names at large mall complexes to back street boutiques offering thrifty deals and original items, and then relax in the bars and restaurants. Visitors can stay in various luxury hotels in the downtown area of Abu Dhabi and although unexpected in such an urban city, can even walk in nearby nature by visiting Lake Park, the waterside promenade or city beach.
Visitors can easily travel Abu Dhabi city centre using the many available taxis, although local buses also navigate the area. There are many car parks in the downtown district but they can become extremely busy, and visitors can also explore the area by foot to appreciate everything it has to offer. The nearest airport is Abu Dhabi International Airport, the second busiest in the country, provides direct links into the city centre.
The literal translation of Abu Dhabi from Arabic is “Father of the Gazelle”, in reference to its past landscape and natural wildlife, as the land now occupied by vast cityscape was once a small, ancient settlement. The tribe of the Al Nahyan family still makes up the rulers of the city today, and in the 1930s the booming oil trade replaced the pearl trade of the area. The city continued to expand and became a hub full of local wealth and rich citizens, greatly influencing the culture and atmosphere of the city centre.