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Updated by Caleb Falcon on Jan 05, 2015
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Caleb Falcon Caleb Falcon
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Old and New Architecture in Abu Dhabi - Explore Abu Dhabi's Architectural Past and Present

With modern skyscrapers and sleek highways Abu Dhabi is a busy metropolis with a proud heritage. From ancient palaces to the iconic DNA Towers here are the city's old and new architectural landmarks.

1

Al Jahili Fort

Tipped to be one of the oldest structures in the UAE the Al Jahili Fort was built as far back as 1891. Originally built to safeguard the pearl farming city from invaders the mammoth fortress now resembles a larger than life sandcastle in the heart of the city. Beautifully maintained gardens are located behind it the venue once served as the local governor's official home in centuries past. A museum dedicated to Wilfred Thesiger is also found here.

2

Al Ain Palace Museum

Al Ain Palace Museum

Constructed as far back as 1910 the Al Ain Palace was the resplendent residence of the founder of the UAE. The property served as the home of the 'Father of the Nation' Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan from the late 1930's to 1966. Converted in to an illustrious museum in 1998 the massive structure in sandy hues of brown largely resembles a fortress in both design and flare. Offering guests an in-depth look in to the cultural and historic legacy of the UAE the venue now showcases a variety of relics belonging to royal households in the country. Surrounded by lush gardens the venue's private rooms are equally impressive.

3

Qasr al-Husn

Qasr al-Husn

As the single oldest building in all of Abu Dhabi Qasr al-Husn is a former watch tower that dates back to 1795. First constructed as a single stand alone watch tower, the structure was expanded in subsequent years to include several fortifications in the form of walls. During politically tumultuous periods in the country's history Qasr al-Husn also served as a safe house for the royal family and the Al Nahyan royal family is known to have sought refuge in the fort during various times of turmoil.

4

Aldar Headquarters

Aldar Headquarters

Ranked as the structure with the 'Best Futuristic Design' in all of Abu Dhabi this iconic structure is a novel architectural marvel in the Middle East. Renowned for its spherical form and circular shape there is no other structure quite as impressive as the Aldar Headquarters when it comes to appearance. Ideally situated on the shores of Al Raha Beach the structure is a whopping 110m high and contains a diagonal steel framework on its exterior. Housing high end restaurants the venue boasts 17 elevators and some of the best views on offer.

5

The Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque

In spite of its historic appearance it is difficult to believe that The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was built as recently as 2007. Often regarded as a fine showcase of traditional Middle Eastern architecture the building is synonymous with its iconic minarets and elaborate domes with marble floors. With a decidedly eastern feel the venue's Arabic style archways feature pillars adorned with delicate carvings with gold drapery. The brainchild of the UAE's former president the religious institution reflects the artistic prowess of the Middle East as a symbol of Islamic values and architecture. The tomb of the late president is found alongside the mosque as well. Visitors based in a well-situated Palm Jumeirah Hotel such as the Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa will have easy access to this and other coveted architectural sites in the city.

6

DNA Towers

DNA Towers

Tipped to be one of the most ambitious engineering and architectural projects undertaken by the UAE, the DNA Towers as its name suggest resembles a twisted strand of human DNA. Located on Reem Island the venue is still under construction and will encompass the globe's most expansive infinity when completed while serving as a premier residential and commercial space in the city.