A taste of modernity with a touch of traditional elegance, the UAE fuses the new and old in a mixture that is not only unique, but also incredibly exciting. FIFA.com looks at five cool things that fans could experience in the host nation of the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup.
Qasr al Hosn and the Saadiyat Cultural District
Abu Dhabi’s symbolic birthplace, Qasr al Hosn which began life in the 1760s, is the emirate’s first permanent structure, which was home to the emirate’s ruling Al Nahyan family. A permanent, free-to-enter exhibition at the Qasr al Hosn Centre tells the story of Abu Dhabi and its people through the city’s oldest building. You can also find inspiration in the Saadiyat Cultural District, a truly unique district where its many visitors can appreciate heritage and culture.
The Empty Quarter
The world's largest uninterrupted sand mass, the Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter) will blow you away with massive expanses of awesome desert and enormous dunes. The magnificent Qasr Al Sarab or Mirage Palace is a luxurious oasis in the midst of the desert. Resembling an old Arabian fortress town nestled in the valley of mountainous dunes, this is actually a five-star resort letting you experience lots of desert activities – dune dawn walks, camel trekking, dune bashing, falconry shows and camp fire barbecues. Perched at the edge of the majestic Rub Al Khali, Tilal Al Liwa is a stunningly secluded desert hideaway. There are restaurants, a sparkling outdoor pool, and a full range of desert activities.
Yas Island is home to the state-of-the-art Yas Marina Circuit – host to the annual F1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It is fast and furious fun for all ages at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi - the world’s first Ferrari-branded theme park. Yas Waterworld spans an area of around 15 football pitches, with 43 rides, slides & attractions – five of which are one-of-a-kind. On the west shores of Yas Island, Yas Links Abu Dhabi – an award-winning golf course with all 18 holes benefiting from ocean views. The island also houses Abu Dhabi’s biggest and the UAE’s second largest shopping centre, Yas Mall.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
The UAE is known for its ambitious and breathtaking architecture, though perhaps no building is better known than Abu Dhabi’s iconic Sheikh Zayed Mosque, one of the biggest places of worship in the world. The mosque is named after the founder and first President of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Saadiyat and Sir Bani Yas
Saadiyat Island is undergoing a remarkable transformation into a world class leisure, residential, business and cultural hub. Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is the region’s first ocean golf course; the Gary Player-designed masterpiece respectfully harnesses the natural beauty of Saadiyat Island’s magnificent, white sand beaches for a truly unique playing experience. Set on the island’s serene natural shores, the 400-metre Saadiyat Public Beach is a great spot for a day out, and the perfect place to enjoy Abu Dhabi’s clean, warm turquoise waters.
Sir Bani Yas is a nature-based destination alive with wildlife and adventure activities, a 5-star boutique hotel, luxury villas, purpose-built stables and historical sites. Sir Bani Yas Island is one of the eight which make up the Desert Islands in Al Dhafra (Western Region). More than half the island is made up of the Arabian Wildlife Park, one of the region’s largest wildlife reserves.