2014 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Culture & lifestyle

  • Culture and lifestyle Caligraphy
  • Culture and lifestyle Emirati girls
  • Culture and lifestyle Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
  • Culture and lifestyle Emirates Palace
  • Lifestylee Shopping

The combination of international influences and a strong commitment to local heritage has created an intriguing mix of new and old.

Abu Dhabi's culture is firmly rooted in Arabia's Islamic traditions. Islam is more than a religion; it is a way of life that governs everyday events from what to wear to what to eat and drink. The UAE's culture and heritage is inextricably linked to its religion, and it is a shining example of Islam's true commitment to tolerance and hospitality.

Foreigners are free to practise their own religion and the dress code is liberal. Women are able to drive and walk around unescorted. Among the most highly prized virtues are courtesy and hospitality, and visitors are sure to be charmed by the genuine friendliness of the people.  Despite the speed of economic development over the last 30 years, Abu Dhabi continues to promote traditional cultural and sporting events, such as falconry, camel racing and traditional dhow sailing.

National Dress

UAE nationals usually wear traditional dress in public. For men, this is the kandura - a white full length shirt-like garment, which is worn with a white or red checkered headdress, known as a ghutra. This is secured with a black cord (agal).

Sheikhs and important businessmen may also wear a thin, gold-trimmed robe (bisht) over their kandura at important events.

In public, women wear a long, loose black robe (abaya) that covers their normal clothes - plus a headscarf (sheyla).

The abaya is often of very sheer, flowing fabric with intricate embroidery and beadwork along the wrists and hemline.

Sheylas are also becoming more elaborate and a statement of individuality, particularly among the young. Headwear varies with some women wearing a thin black veil covering their face and others, generally older women, wearing a leather veil (burka), which covers the nose, brow, cheekbones and lips.

Photography

While normal tourist photography is acceptable, it is polite to ask permission before taking photos of people, particularly women. Photographs of government buildings, military installations and ports and airports should not be taken. Also, cameras may be banned in public areas designated for women and children only.

Have your say

Search Hotels
Search Flights
Search Cars
Pick Up Location:
Different Drop Off Location?
Drop Off Location:
Pick Up Date:
 
Drop Off Date:
 
Driver's Age:
Car Group:
Currency:
Country of Residence:
BBC Worldwide’s Blue Planet in Concert to open Abu Dhabi’s Volvo Ocean Race stopover Highly acclaimed show to open Destination Village on Corniche Breakwater - December 12
Djokovic and Nadal to continue rivalry at Mubadala World Tennis Championship World numbers 1 & 2 in Abu Dhabi for the New Year
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final on course for UAE capital 2014 regatta due in Abu Dhabi November 26-30
Al Ain to host first National Traditional Handicrafts Festival Festival highlights traditional craftsmanship in Emirati heritage