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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Iconic Landmarks in Abu Dhabi - Incredible Sites You Must See
Joanna James Joanna James
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Iconic Landmarks in Abu Dhabi - Incredible Sites You Must See

Abu Dhabi's architectural marvels are world renowned for their combination of modern and old designs. With iconic landmarks all over the city, here's a few you should definitely see first.


Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

One of the world's largest mosques, this Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque can accommodate up to 40,000 worshippers at once, and is one of the few mosques in the region that is open to non-Muslims. The mosque features around 82 domes, gold chandeliers, over 1,000 columns and the largest hand-knotted carpet in the world. Small, reflective pools around the mosque further amplify its astounding beauty. The white and gold colours on the exterior walls are transformed come evening by a unique lighting system which reflects the many phases of the moon.


Al Jahili Fort

A historic structure in the UAE, Al Jahili Fort was erected in the 1890's to protect the city and its treasured palm groves. Set in landscaped gardens, the fort was once the central base of the Oman Trucial Scouts, who protected the mountain passes and enforced inter-tribal peace. It also served as the home of a local governor before part of it was opened to visitors.


Qasr al Hosn

The symbolic birthplace of Abu Dhabi, the Qasr al Hosn was the city's first proper structure, and was the residence of the ruling Al Nahyan family. Originally a watchtower, made from coral and stone, it was later turned into a strong fort. Due to the reflective nature of the shells and coral, the walls of the fort would twinkle under the sunlight, providing coastal warnings to nearby sailors. Now a free -for-all exhibition, the Qasr al Hos centre tells the story of the wondrous city and its people. Captivating stories and photographs help bring the monument to life.


Sir Bani Yas

Located off the coast of Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas is the largest natural island in the UAE. The island is home to the region's largest wildlife reserve and bird sanctuary. Named after the first recorded settlers, the island has in fact been home to human settlers for thousands of years - one of the oldest sites discovered is a Christian monastery which has been traced back to 600 AD. Nowadays the island is a more commonly known getaway location, thanks to the modern accommodation on the lands, such as the Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort, one of the luxury resorts in Abu Dhabi. Sir Bani Yas is great for outdoor activities such as adventure safaris, mountain biking, and hiking.


Al Bahar Towers

The twin skyscrapers are famous for their external facade which is composed of an intricate honeycomb-like element. The various elements open and close in response to the movement of the sun, which in turn helps to reduce the heat inside the building. Some of the panels on the roof are also used to heat water. These eco-friendly features have made the towers the first building in the gulf to receive recognition for its unique structure by a leading institute.

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