Unearth treasure trove of arts and culture in Abu Dhabi
UAE's capital offers grand installations and even delicious coffee
As you enter Abu Dhabi, four looming towers stand out from the greenery and cityscape.
The majestic beauty of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, strategically positioned near the entrance of the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will leave you in awe .
But this masterpiece is just a curtain-raiser to the treasure trove of arts and cultural icons packed in Abu Dhabi.
The mosque feature spans across 12ha, is made up of 82 domes and can hold up to 41,000 worshippers.
One of the world's largest mosques, it is filled with intricate details, down to the precious stones laid by hand to form the floral details on the walls.
The world's largest chandelier aptly hangs over the world's largest handwoven carpet, which weighs 12 tons and comprises more than two billion hand-tied knots.
The mosque is also a resting place for the late Sheikh Zayed, the founding father of the UAE and the creator of the mosque, who died three years before it opened in 2007.
Understanding Abu Dhabi is impossible without knowing him, and the Qasr Al Hosn museum is the place to delve into the makings of the city.
The first stone of the Qasr Al Hosn was laid almost 250 years ago, making it the oldest building there.
Once a watchtower and then developed into a fortress, it was transformed into a museum last year and now tells tales of how the desert city came to be.
Just next door is the House of Artisans, where you have to check out its Arabic coffee demonstration. Coffee for Emiratis is not just a cup of morning Joe, but a symbol of hospitality and generosity.
Spices such as cloves, saffron and even rosewater are added, and the sharp bitterness of the drink goes perfectly well with the sticky sweetness of the date served alongside.
Visitors can also try their hand at Emirati crafts such as Talli, a type of embroidery, and Al Sadu, a traditional form of weaving with patterns that tend to reflect cultural meanings.
To immerse yourself in arts and culture not linked to the UAE, head over to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened late-2017.
Apart from the diverse exhibits from Africa to Asia, the architecture of the museum is also worth a photo.
For a unique take on art, the Manarat Al Saadiyat museum is just a short drive away, with its contemporary pieces in all shapes and sizes.
Visit luxury hotel Emirates Palace, boasting beautiful Islamic architecture against the cityscape, or spend a night at the Abu Dhabi Edition hotel, which overlooks a waterfront and is surrounded by trendy cafes, bars and restaurants.
If a shopping spree and an adrenaline shot of entertainment is just what you need after all that cultural enlightenment, look no further than Yas Island - where you can tick the world's fastest roller coaster off your bucket list.
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