!!!Abu Dhabi

by [Stas Sedov|http://rccam.livejournal.com] and [Dmitry Moiseenko|https://www.facebook.com/dmitry.moiseenko],
members of the [AirPano Team|Geography/About/Consortium/AirPano,_Team] that is a member of the [global-geography Consortium|Geography/About/Consortium]. \\

3 September 2014

with kind permission of [AirPano|http://www.AirPano.com]

We are very grateful to Mirjana DeLaey, Executive Producer at Abu Dhabi
Media Zone, for helping us organize our production and trip to the
United Arab Emirates from start to finish.

She and her colleagues not only offered help and support in obtaining
location permits, but also with the entire logistics for the production
and crew during our stay in the UAE. She was our producer for over 2
weeks full time, and even after our shooting, Mirjana continued working
with us over 2 months to the very end ensuring the material goes live,
all in the spirit of our project, so that everyone around the globe can
enjoy the sights of the UAE.

Of the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, on an island just a few hundred
meters from the UAE main land, lies the island-city of Abu Dhabi,
surrounded by many other islands that are just a bridge away. Abu Dhabi
is the capital of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the capital of the United
Arab Emirates, as well as the political, industrial, commercial and
cultural center of the country.

The main part of the city life is concentrated on the northern side of
the island where several street blocks flow out into the Corniche, an 8
km-long picturesque waterfront. It contains almost all of the city's
beachfront hotels, numerous shopping centers, cafes, restaurants, parks,
children's play areas and fountains. Corniche beach holds a prestigious
Blue Flag — an award given to beachfront vacation spots where the water
and other conditions meet the highest standards.

[{Image src='01_Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE.jpg' caption='Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='611'}]

One of the main landmarks on that waterfront is the luxurious five-star
hotel, Emirates Palace. It is a magnificent building with 114 domes that
light up at night with changing colors, and enormous greens and gardens
along with a kilometer-long private beach. The hotel totals 394 rooms
with the biggest room measuring 680 square meters. Tourists often visit
the lobby to admire the riches of the hotel: the 13 different kinds of
marble brought over from Italy, Spain, China and India, 1002 Swarovski
chandeliers, and other items of luxury.

[{Image src='02_Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi, UAE.jpg' caption='Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi, UAE' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='621'}]

The City's waterfront has many gigantic skyscrapers that thrill visitors
with their size and architectural forms. Among the most known Abu Dhabi
landmarks are the Etihad Towers. In this complex of five towers that
range in height from 217 to 305 meters lie luxurious apartments, offices
and one more hotel from Jumeirah Group luxury hotels company, named
Jumeira @ Etihad Towers.

Although often compared to Dubai, Abu Dhabi is making an impression on
its own as a cultural capital of the UAE. The Cultural District on
Saadiyat island will soon be the home to Louvre Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim
Abu Dhabi, Zaeyd National Museum, Performing Arts Centre and other
cultural institutions.

One of the most important historic landmarks of Abu Dhabi is Qasr Al
Hosn, the first fortress of the Abu Dhabi rulers, which was built in
1793. It served as a primary residence for the emirate government until
1966, and after two decades it was opened up to the public. Qasr al Hosn
is also called "White Tower", which is not exactly correct because its
pure white coloring was acquired after the reconstruction at the end of
the last century.

[{Image src='03_Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE.jpg' caption='Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='621'}]

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque one of the largest mosques in the world, named
after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, is also located in Abu Dhabi.
It was built in 2007. There are four minarets in the four corners of the
mosque that are 107 meters tall. The outside row of the main building is
covered in 82 domes decorated with white marble, and the inside
courtyard is decorated with colored marble. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque,
with an overall area of 5,627 sq. meters, has a capacity for forty
thousand worshippers.

Emiratis are known for their love of high speed and expensive cars, so
where else, if not in Abu Dhabi, would they open a theme park called
Ferrari World. It's the largest indoor theme park in the world. Another
record maker is the Formula Rossa ride. It is a roller coaster that
reaches the speed of 240 kilometers per hour in only 5 seconds.

[{Image src='04_Abu Dhabi, UAE.jpg' caption='Abu Dhabi, UAE' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='621'}]

Ferrari World, as well as Yas Marina Circuit — the Formula 1 speed
track, is located on a man-made island called Yas. Over the legendary
race track, is the Yas Viceroy Hotel with its amazing LED grid shell
roof. The F1 racetrack runs around and even under the hotel allowing its
visitors to watch the race from the bridge lounge running across the
racetrack or even from their room.

[{Image src='05_Abu Dhabi, UAE.jpg' caption='Abu Dhabi, UAE' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='419'}]

And, of course, one cannot fail to mention the weather in Abu Dhabi: it
is one of the hottest cities in the world. There is almost no
precipitation there, temperatures in the summer can reach +50°C, and in
the winter it stays at about +25°C. Because of this, during summer
months it is far more enjoyable to view the sights of Abu Dhabi on our
aerial photo panoramas in the comfort of your own home and plan your
visit for the winter time.

Photographing Dubai is always a pleasure. Everything about it is crystal
clear and straightforward: here's the tallest building in the world;
there's Marina, and then there's The Palm, the sail-shaped hotel and
several clusters of high-rises within an old city and several beaches...

[{Image src='06_Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE.jpg' caption='Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='621'}]

It is very easy to find time for a photo session in Dubai. Dubai is one
of the world’s biggest airport hubs so if you are flying to Australia,
for instance, make sure to buy tickets with a stopover in Dubai; and
just like that you will have a couple of days at your disposal — A
couple of days to take nice walks and do a little shopping and flying
(if the weather permits).

By now, I've already flown above the city by helicopter twice, and our
website has published two tours. Yet, this type of photography does not
allow the photographer to capture everything in detail, to study
elements, or to go down below and come out from between structures.

[{Image src='07_Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi, UAE.jpg' caption='Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi, UAE' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='821'}]

It would be more convenient to go there with our drone (a
radio-controlled helicopter). However, considering the fact that I was
not allowed to open even the helicopter window without a paper from the
police, we assumed that our flying device would definitely arise
interest and objections from the local authorities and security

Therefore, when we finally planned to photograph Dubai and Abu-Dhabi
with the drone, we asked World Wide Web for help with obtaining the
required permits.

To our relief, several people responded to our cry for help. One of them
was Mirjana, who was working as a media producer in a large media
company in Abu-Dhabi. She was key to organizing our shooting in the UAE
–making sure every piece of the puzzle / paper is in place.

[{Image src='08_Abu Dhabi City Lights.jpg' caption='Abu Dhabi City Lights' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='621'}]

In the beginning, we had no idea how big of a puzzle it was — it took us
many hours to fill out all the applications, determine exact shooting
locations perimeters, provide specifications of our equipment. All the
papers were submitted, all payments made and passports scanned long in
advance. And we did not know if we would get the permits for shooting
until the last minute. The joyful message arrived right before our
flight: We got lucky! We did receive the permit to photograph Dubai!
However, as Dubai shooting locations are strictly divided in several
categories, with different and some very high fees to pay, our permits
were for photographing in public places, which is a rather limited
number of locations.The rest was a matter of organization: Mirjana would
pick us up before dawn, we would choose a starting point of shooting,
and then we would shoot, shoot and then shoot again.

It was disappointing that the tallest building in the world, Burj
Khalifa, is not considered a public place; so we could not fly our drone
around and above its musical fountains at the base of the building. The
cost of the permits to photograph Burj Khalifa is several thousands of
US$ per day, Burj Al Arab, the sail-shaped hotel, charges about the same
amount of money for photographing at its location.

[{Image src='09_Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.jpg' caption='Ferrari World Abu Dhabi' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='621'}]

It is strikingly different from the reception of our crew in the
adjacent emirate of Abu-Dhabi, where we were not only allowed to
photograph the best hotels and locations, such as the Emirates Palace
and Etihad Towers, but we were also offered to stay in these hotels so
that we could plunge into the atmosphere and later share our

Abu-Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and it has
completely different feel from Dubai. Firstly it is an island-city and
it is a planned city – with a grid street system, just like Manhattan,
it is very easy to navigate around it. Abu Dhabi main island is
surrounded by many little islands that are being developed into amazing
new industry specific quarters – cultural district, business district….
Being a capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi has numerous palaces and
governmental institutions around the city, which explains the vigilant
security. In fact, at any moment, someone important can be flying by in
a helicopter.

According to the procedures described in our permit, we were required to
request a corridor from aviation dispatchers for each takeoff. We have
never experienced anything like this before. Our shooting locations were
predetermined and logged in the air traffic systems well in advance. We
would dial the "tower", give our coordinates, and ask for a certain
altitude. We would be given permission to fly for 10-15 minutes, or we
would be asked to wait and call back while somebody of importance would
fly by not too far away. Once we get go-ahead, we would launch our drone
and do some photo shooting. Then, the corridor would be closed in the
same manner: with a phone call to a tower.

[{Image src='10_Emirates Palace Hotel at night.jpg' caption='Emirates Palace Hotel at night' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='621'}]

We were very excited about having a wonderful opportunity to shoot all
over Abu Dhabi with almost no restrictions. The only exception was the
outstandingly beautiful, snow-white Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. We did
not get aerial permit but we were allowed to shoot it from the ground.
So I came back several times there to see it in every light of the day
and spent a considerable amount of time admiring this work of art and
trying to capture its beauty in the panoramic photos. Now that our
photos are published, we see how much of the charm the portrait of Abu
Dhabi looses and we hope that we will be given the privilege to film
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in its entire beauty next time we are in the

[{Image src='11_Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi, UAE.jpg' caption='Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi, UAE' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='450'}]

The Emirates is a great, vibrant, wondrous country —  people are relaxed
and friendly, the standard of living there is rather high. They build
majestic cities with unusual buildings, make man-made islands, create
convenient conditions for business, and ensure safety. These two cities
that we had a pleasure to visit, Abu-Dhabi and Dubai, are definitely
aspired for greatness in the future.

Filming in Abu Dhabi and in the UAE was great collaborative effort of
numerous authorities, companies and media enthusiasts. AirPano team is
very grateful to all for their kindness, perseverance and support.

We would like to express our special thanks to the UAE authorities and
media companies:

* National Media Council
* Ministry of Interior
* Ministry of Defense
* Ministry of Presidential Affairs
* General Civil Aviation Authority
* Department of Transport
* twofour54 — Abu Dhabi Media and Entertainment Hub
* The Media Company — one of the fastest growing media production companies in the Emirates

and our most sincere appreciation and gratitude to our Emirates
production crew: Mohammad Fathii, Ahmed Al Kaabi and Mirjana DeLaey for
making this production possible.

\\ \\
[26 Panoramas of Abu Dhabi|Geography/Asia/United_Arab_Emirates/Pictures/Panoramas_of_Abu_Dhabi]

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