Abu Dhabi is both the capital and Federal capital of the United Arab Emirates, and is the second largest of the seven emirates. This second most populous city of the UAE lies on a T-shaped island with its futuristic skyscrapers rising from the desert coast of the Persian Gulf.Among the modern island city there are remains of an older and more cultural society. Abu Dhabi comprises of international luxurious hotels, never-ending shopping malls, extensive entertainment and leisure facilities, along beautiful green streets and parks.The citys origin reflects its true prestige, as it was a major hub for the pearl industry before it had discovered its rich reserves of oil. There is a stretch of traditional wooden dhows along the harbour, which were not just used for fishing but also for pearl diving.Abu Dhabi is known as the most important cultural city in the UAE, attracting many visitors to its established Cultural Foundation centre, which is responsible for hosting various art exhibitions and musical performances from all over the globe.Abu Dhabi is one of the most prosperous and rapidly developing cities in the world, with an impressive population of 1.45 million (2008). In just over half a century it has become a major centre for tourism, as well as transforming from a small Bedouin village into a thriving investment enterprise.