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Diaspora Destination: Intriguing Abu Dhabi

Updated Sunday, July 7th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

Among the most popular is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It is one of the world’s largest mosques with beautiful art work. This ornate mosque has a capacity for 41,000 worshippers. It features 82 domes, more than 1,000 columns, 24-carat gold gilded chandeliers and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet.

I visited the main prayer hall, which is dominated by one of the world’s largest chandeliers — ten metres in diameter, 15 metres in height and weighing twelve tonnes.

Reflective pools surround the mosque, amplifying its beauty. The striking white and gold colours shining in the sun are transformed at night by a unique lightning system, which reflects the phases of the moon.

There are free 45-minute tours with guides who show you inside this grand building.

“This was a moving and a highly uplifting experience for us non-Muslims. What a building! Day or night inside and out, the quality décor has no match anywhere in the world,” British tourist James Sowersby told me.

The Corniche, the picturesque part of Abu Dhabi that spreads across eight kilometres of manicured waterfront and a beach park is a memorable image every visitor talks of back home.

This pristine beachfront has won prestigious international awards, the eco-label for the safety of its marinas and clean and safe bathing water.


This beach attracts around 50,000 visitors each month out to enjoy the numerous facilities for children and grown ups.

The Corniche and other parts of Abu Dhabi are a playground of the mega rich and the famous with the wide array of luxury boats anchored at the marina that surround the city.

The Al Ain Camel Market is the last of its kind in the UAE. This is the place where traders strike deals on the sale and purchase of animals. Situated in the nearby town of Al Ain, this is an excellent place to take a closer look at camels known for their tough survival in the inhospitable desert terrain.

If action is your cup of tea, then a visit to the Yas Marina, one of the world’s most technologically advanced motorsports circuits is a must. There are opportunities to take a tour behind the scenes and see first-hand how much effort goes into running this facility.

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