It takes generations to build a nation's culture. The culture of Abu Dhabi has developed through centuries of tribal living, more than a thousand years of living by Islamic values and in recent decades, the assimilation of cultures from around the world resulting in a multicultural, moderately liberal society.
Abu Dhabi maintains strong ties to its valuable past, preserving its rich traditions of poetry, falconry, horse breeding and sailing. While well-maintained museums across the country display the cultural mores and the lifestyle of the past, traditional values are very much alive in the daily life of the Emirati even to this day.
The Islamic values of simplicity and generosity, high regard for family ties, good treatment of women and children and respect for nature and the environment are evident in day-to-day life in Abu Dhabi.
Locals are easy to identify in their simple, traditional dresses – men in ankle-length robes (dishdasha) and matching headdresses (ghutra), and women in flowing, black abayas worn over their dresses. On business occasions, it is usual to see formal Western suits as well as traditional attire.
The metropolitan lifestyle of Abu Dhabi with a healthy mix of traditional values and a modern outlook make it an ideal place to raise a family and live a life of comfort and fulfilment with compatriots from around the world.
Cultural tourism is proving to be a socio-economic catalyst at the heart of Abu Dhabi's event calendar. As the various properties of Saadiyat Island throw open their doors to the world, Abu Dhabi will assume an important place as a cultural capital.