Abu Dhabi vs UAE: Difference and Comparison

The Gulf region attracts migrants and tourists from all over the world. It has a rich culture and heritage, magnificent infrastructure, diverse population, etc.

Countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, and its emirates such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc., have worked hard to develop from uninhabitable desert regions to modern industrial havens. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a federation of seven emirates in the Arabian Peninsula.
  2. Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate in the UAE, both in terms of land area and population.
  3. The UAE’s political power resides in Abu Dhabi, the nation’s finance, culture, and tourism center.

Abu Dhabi vs UAE

The difference between Abu Dhabi and UAE is that Abu Dhabi is one of the seven Emirates and the capital of the United Arab Emirates. UAE, on the other hand, is an entire country or a federation of 7 states such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc.

Abu Dhabi vs UAE

Abu Dhabi is the second-most populous city in the UAE. It is an important political, economic, and industrial center of the federation, and the president of UAE lives here.

Where we can see Dubai being a modern westernized city, Abu Dhabi has tried to incorporate modernization without compromising on its traditional values.

UAE is the commercial and industrial hub of West Asia and the Gulf region. Geographically, it might not be the most fertile or inhabitable country.

However, with the discovery of oil and the high ambitions of the rulers, the UAE has emerged as one of the modern marvels of modern architecture. It got independence from Britain in 1971.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAbu DhabiUAE
PopulationAbu Dhabi has a population of around 1.5 million.UAE has a population of around 10.1 million.
AreaAbu Dhabi is extended within an area of 972 kilometers square.UAE extends within an area of 83,600 kilometers square.
LocationIt is situated on an island on the west coast of the country in the Persian Gulf. UAE is located in the Eastern part of the Arabian peninsula.
GDPThe GDP of Abu Dhabi is around 178 billion dollars.The GDP of the UAE is around 410 billion dollars.
Tourist AttractionsSome important tourist attractions of this city are the Presidential Palace, the Etihad Towers, the Corniche, etc. Some important tourist attractions of the UAE are Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Al Qasba in Sharjah, etc.

What is Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi is an Arabic word, where ‘Abu’ means father and ‘Dhabi’ means Gazelle. Thus, it stands for “Father of Gazelle” as Gazelle is an important and exclusive animal of this emirate.

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Abu Dhabi is one of the seven Emirates of the UAE and is also its capital.

It is situated on an island on the west coast of the country in the Persian Gulf. However, this is not separated from the mainland and is connected through strips of land.

It is the second-most populous city of the UAE, after Dubai, and is a major hub for most of the country’s economic, commercial, tourist, and political activities.

Historically, the Nahyan family has been ruling over the city of Abu Dhabi.

All the government offices, major headquarters of international institutions, house of the Prime Minister, house of the President who belongs to the Nayhan family, the Petroleum Council, etc., are situated in Abu Dhabi.

The geographical conditions of the city are adverse. It experiences a desert-type climate with high annual temperature with, high humidity, and less rainfall. This also affects the vegetation and wildlife of the city.

The major economic activities include pearl diving, real estate, tourism, and extraction of oil and natural gas.

The major highlights of the city are its tall buildings, monumental skyscrapers, and other architectures such as stadiums, malls, gardens, hotels, etc. Many world events are hosted in Abu Dhabi.

abu dhabi

What is UAE?

UAE stands for the United Arab Emirates. It has constantly been developing as a country and has overtaken all the other neighboring Gulf countries, despite the geographical challenges it faces.

UAE is a West Asian country located in the Eastern part of the Arabian peninsula. Its immediate neighbors are Oman and Saudi Arabia.

It is rather a federation of seven Emirates, namely Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Fujairah, and Umm Al Quwain.

Abu Dhabi, its capital, and Dubai, its most important industrial town, account for more than 65% of the total population of the country.

Historically, there have been many tribes that settled and established their estates in different emirates of the country. Today, the Nahyan family rules over the UAE.

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Other important ruling families are the Maktoum family, Al Nuaimi family, Al Qasimi family, etc.

Islam is the state religion, but other religions are equally respected and tolerated. Arabic is the official language of the country.

Since it got independence from Britain in 1971, the rulers have been very welcoming of Western industrialists and business houses to modernize the country on the same level as the West.

The discovery of oil has been a game-changer for the development of the UAE. Not just hydrocarbons, the economy depends on businesses, real estate, tourism, revenue from international events, transport, etc.

The liberal government, citizen rights, tax-free income, luxurious lifestyle, excellent health care, free education, etc., attract migrants from all over the world to come and settle down here for a better future.


Main Differences Between Abu Dhabi and UAE

  1. Abu Dhabi is situated on an island in the Persian Gulf, located on the Western Coast of the UAE. The UAE is located on the eastern coast of West Asia, sharing its borders with Oman and Saudi Arabia.
  2. The major tourist attractions of Abu Dhabi are the Etihad Towers, the Corniche, Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Presidential palace, etc. The UAE, on the other hand, has many other tourist attractions such as Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Dubai malls, Al Qasba in Sharjah, etc.
  3. The Royal family of Abu Dhabi is the Nayhan family, who rule over the entire country. The UAE has many royal families in general, such as the Maktoum family, the Al Nuaimi family, the Al Qasimi family, etc.
  4. Abu Dhabi is a city that maintains its traditionalistic essence as a city, and one can see many grand mosques and other Islamic architecture here. UAE, as a country, is said to have a mixture of traditional and modern values.
  5. The GDP of Abu Dhabi is around 178 billion dollars. The total GDP of the UAE is around 410 billion dollars.
Difference Between Abu Dhabi and UAE
  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-3091.1969.tb00167.x
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=QcMz3zV0qAMC&oi=fnd&pg=PA249&dq=uae&ots=WiK1X9pjWo&sig=WeoPmTUKOp_GIgSe-I8SJ5lrsXo

Last Updated : 15 July, 2023

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