Pictures of Abu Dhabi before it became a rich oil city

Pictures of Abu Dhabi before it became a rich oil city

This article originally appeared Arabic Vice

Prior to the 1960s, the region now known as the United Arab Emirates was a collection of independent countries, each headed by a different family. The economy at that time was largely based on fishing and pearl trade – a big difference from International Business Center That area now.

In 1962, the district strike oilalthough it was much smaller than the reserves found in neighboring countries Kingdom Saudi Arabia And the Iraq† This marked a turning point in the region’s history. The seven independent emirates united into one state in 1971, with Abu Dhabi as the capital.

In the same year, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), a state-owned company, started profits Extracting and refining oil in the country and not allowing Western companies to seize it. The establishment of ADNOC has attracted foreign workers from all over the world – including photographer Saleh Al-TamikThe 66-year-old came to the UAE from Yemen in the 1970s and worked for ADNOC for 45 years.

Al-Tamimi has been photographing Abu Dhabi since his early years and now owns a large collection of archival photographs documenting the city’s astonishing transformation against the backdrop of the oil boom.

“I was one of the few who had a camera at the time,” Al-Tamimi says. “I discovered Abu Dhabi through photography.”

Forty years later, while cleaning a storage room in his home, Al-Tamimi came across some old albums of city photos. “I couldn’t believe the pace of Abu Dhabi’s growth,” he told VICE. “Yes, I went through these changes because I grew up in this city, but it’s different when you look at it later.”

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One of the areas in the capital that has seen the biggest transformation is the Abu Dhabi Corniche, the road that runs along the city’s coastline. Transformed entirely by land reclamation projects, the corniche is now peppered with public beaches, sparkling hotels and restaurants.

Al-Tamimi’s photographs show Abu Dhabi in the 1970s and 1980s, when the city was bustling with change. It also displays a number of buildings that are still popular today, including the former Hilton in Abu Dhabi, today the Radisson Blu, which was opened in 1973 by Sheikh Zayed Al NahyanThe country’s first president and founder.

Pictures are part of the series time storywhich Al-Tamimi worked on for three years until 2015. Currently, the photographer is working on expanding the project by continuing to document the same sites that continue to develop over the next few years.

Scroll down to see more photos of Al Tamimi:

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