Until recently, Dubai made all the headlines. The UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, felt relatively conservative in comparison.
But that is now changing. Abu Dhabi is trying to position itself as the cultural hub of the Middle East.
It has just hosted Womad, bringing international musicians to town, as well as promoting local talent.
There are bigger projects planned too, building its own Guggenheim and Louvre – but can big names and lots of money rival cities like Paris and New York?
Katy Watson finds out.