Abu Dhabi’s heritage and culture are rooted in bedouin living in a merciless desert environment, guided by a strict tribal code. Yet in just a few short decades this culture has absorbed tremendous change in lifestyle, successfully blending the best of two worlds. Today, the indigenous values, heritage and culture continue to thrive, notwithstanding the ultra-modern look, infrastructure and facilities of the city, as well as its cosmopolitan, moderately liberal lifestyle.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi Despite the limitations of a mainly desert environment and a semi-nomadic lifestyle that prevailed to the mid-20th century, Abu Dhabi has a rich past evidenced by scores of restored mud fortresses across the Emirate and remains of an underground irrigation system in Al-Ain oasis, a site that has been continuously inhabited for more than 4,000 years
Abu Dhabi’s cultural life is rooted in a long tradition of literary work, camel and horseback riding, falconry, traditional artwork and the cultural exchange brought about by trade. Today, culture and arts are witnessing a revival in the Emirate with many clubs and funds dedicated to their advancement.
Islam is the official religion of the UAE, which is widely practised by Emirati nationals as well as expatriates originating from other Arab countries, Pakistan, Africa and India, amongst others. Abu Dhabi, as is the entire UAE, is tolerant of other religions. Residents who profess a different faith are allowed to perform their religious duties such as attending worship services or mass in churches or chapels.