Now & Then...

Into the mid-20th century, the economy of Abu Dhabi continued to be sustained mainly by fishing and pearl diving off the coast of Abu Dhabi town, which was occupied mainly during the summer months. At that time most dwellings in Abu Dhabi were constructed from palm fronds, with wealthier families occupying mud huts. 

The growth of the cultured pearl industry in the first half of the 20th century created hardship for the residents of Abu Dhabi as pearls represented the largest export and main source of cash earnings. 

After the Emirates gained independence in 1971, oil wealth continued to flow to the area and traditional mud-brick huts were rapidly replaced with banks, boutiques and modern highrises.