The Abu Dhabi cityscape is stunning because of the sharp contrast of the modern city rising out of the flat desert and framed by the reflective flat blue sea.
The city brings a burst of color and sudden vertical element to the otherwise monotonous desert and seascape. Apart from this attractive natural backdrop the Abu Dhabi cityscape itself is breathtaking because of the numerous innovative architectural structures.
If you take a closer look at the urban cityscape there are plenty of parklands and traditional historic buildings.
Abu Dhabi is a dazzling, almost organic and futuristic city growing on the edge of the sea.
Prominent structures on the Abu Dhabi Cityscape
Emirates Palace Hotel
This luxury hotel complex fulfills all Western fantasies of what an Arabian palace should look like. It has turrets, towers, domes and is surrounded by lush gardens and lit up at night to look even more stunning. Classic motifs and architectural features were combined with modern technology to achieve the effect using granite, marble and glass.
Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nayhan Mosque
Among the modern wonders which dwarf the traditional architecture this structure stands out, although of course there are other historic buildings in Abu Dhabi. The mosque is completely white and uses intricate Arabian architectural elements and techniques to create the quintessential Arabian mosque. There are numerous domes, both large and small, tall slim minarets and arched windows and doorways along the sides of the building.
Stairscraper A spiral staircase which forms a skyscraper with gardens on each of the "steps", this is one of the newer additions to the Abu Dhabi cityscape and the structure won the Total Housing Competition.
Capital Gate This is the world record holder for the furthest leaning man-made tower, it leans 18 ̊. 490 Pilers 30 meters deep support the leaning glass and steel structure.
Aldar Headquarters Building This is a circular skyscraper which dazzles in the sun with over 3,000 glass panels lining its sides.
Nation Towers These structures are on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, what makes them aesthetically appealing is the 200 meter high sky bridge which joins the towers. It may be the highest sky bridge in the world.
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority The undulating skyscraper is inspired by the surrounding sea, rolling sand dunes and the sails of boats that enter the harbor. The building appears to be folded vertically.
Rocco Forte Hotel The structure's shape and color reflects the nearby waves in the sea, although not one of the highest buildings in Abu Dhabi the undulating green glass exterior makes it stand out on the cityscape.
Sun and Sky Towers Sky Tower is an arc of connected buildings and Sun Tower is planned to hold 680 residential unites which will overlook the city, sea and mangroves.
Etihad Towers These are 5 towers of various heights clustered together, the buildings appear to have a number of layers and are gently curved. They hold luxury residential apartments.
Sheikh Zayad Bridge The 842 meter long bridge has a fluid appearance with wave like supports and suspended road decks.
Viceroy (Yas) Hotel A steel and glass bridge links two towers which span the Formula 1 race track. The exterior is a unique curved shape which reflects the sun in the day time and at night colorful LED lights cover the surface and it is possible to project video feeds onto the building surface.
Jahili Fort An historic piece of the cityscape it now houses the Al Ain Museum, it has golden mud brick walls and distinct circular towers and spiked fortified walls.
Still in the works and scheduled to join the other man-made marvels of Abu Dhabi are the Aldar Central Market Towers, its main tower The Domain will be the tallest at 382 meters high;
The Landmark 330 meters high granite and gold glass building on the Corniche;
Regent Emirates Pearl a twisting 255 meter high cylindrical resort all these buildings should be complete by the end of 2012.
Where to get the best views of the Abu Dhabi cityscape You'll probably find that you can get a great view from your hotel room if you are on a high enough floor but if not try going to the Marina and looking back across the water towards the city, this is especially beautiful at night.
The Corniche is also a great place to see the cityscape.
Learn more about Abu Dhabi Architecture