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Downtown Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second most populous city in the United Arab Emirates and also capital of the largest emirate of the same name. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf. Our visit to the United Arab Emirates included two separate excursions right into the heart of the city, as well as three nights staying on the outskirts near the airport.
On this page, there are photos below of the main downtown area of Abu Dhabi and we feature a few of the many sights seen. Two of the main things to see around the city - Yas Island and the Grand Mosque have been given their own pages.
Driving over one of the bridges onto the main island, we first headed for the waterfront location, best appreciated from the sweeping, waterfront Corniche Road, which runs for the best part of 5km along Abu Dhabi’s western edge. Parking near the Marina Mall, we were able to take in the view of the many new modern skyscrapers which have popped up in the city.
Our next place to park up and explore was the vast Emirates Palace Hotel. Non guests are able to wander in and we were allowed to park in the hotel itself. Opened in 2005, it was intended to rival Dubai’s Burj al Arab as a seven-star hotel, but architecturally speaking, there the similarity ends. The Emirates palace hotel is massive. That said, architecturally it is more conservative in appearance from the outside than its Dubai counterpart. The gardens and fountains were well worth walking around although the highlight to me was the interior. It is centred on a dazzling central dome-cum-atrium, with vast quantities of marble and huge chandeliers. In the lobby, the hotel boasts the world’s first gold vending machine. From a personal point of view, the nearest comparable building I have visited in terms of dimensional aspects and opulence would be the Parliamentary Palace in Bucharest, although somewhat strikingly poles apart culturally and politically.
Another notable building we visited in the downtown area was Capital Gate, a skyscraper adjacent to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre designed with a striking lean. At 160 m (520 ft) and 35 floors, it is one of the tallest buildings in the city and features an 18° incline giving it the nickname the Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi. In June 2010, The Guinness World Records certified Capital Gate as the "World’s furthest leaning man-made tower". We went inside and it was possible for us to take a lift up to the 18th floor which is the lobby of a Hyatt hotel. Without questioning, we were able to wander onto the hotel terrace, which offered a superb free view of the city to the south and west. It also gave an opportunity to experience the lean of the building up close from above. We discovered from staff that window cleaning involves people with ropes and suction pads to stop them swinging away from the sides!
There is much to write about on the downtown area of Abu Dhabi and its many interesting buildings including the Aldar Headquarters Building, which is a strange circular shape, although that is beyond the scope of this webpage. I have decided to select one modern building furthermore to describe called The Gate (Link HERE). So without anymore discussion, below are some of my photos from the downtown area of Abu Dhabi, followed by a 360° panoramic view I made (not available on all platforms).

Composite image of Downtown Abu Dhabi - View from Breakwater: