Pope Francis landed in the UAE on Feb. 3 for the first time ever, marking a historic moment for interfaith relations in the Gulf state.

The Vatican first announced the 48-hour trip in December. Prior to arriving to the capital city of Abu Dhabi, Pope Francis said he will be visiting the country "as a brother."

This is the first time a pope visits the Arabian Peninsula. 

"To write a page of dialogue together, and to travel paths of peace together"

Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, highlighted the country's dedication to co-existence

On the flight to Abu Dhabi, Pope Francis took a few minutes to address the journalists on board.

"This morning I received news that it was raining in Abu Dhabi and in this place one thinks of this as a sign of a blessing," he said via a microphone.

The pope arrived to the Presidential Palace ... in a Kia Soul

On Monday, Pope Francis arrived at the Abu Dhabi Presidential Palace, where he was welcomed with an artillery salute and a military flyover.

According to The National, Pope Francis arrived to the ceremony in a Kia Soul. The model has been manufactured in the UAE since 2009.

He was greeted by Abu Dhabi's crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as the Vatican and Emirati anthems played in the background.

In the evening, he is set to take part in a inter-religious meeting with Muslim clerics on the backdrop of tolerance and peace. It is set to take place at the Founder's Memorial in the evening. 

On Tuesday, the open-air mass at the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi is expected to see some 135,000 Catholics take part.

Abu Dhabi's crown prince expressed pride in the visit

"The leadership & nation of the UAE are proud of this historic visit of two greatly respected religious figures," Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed wrote in a tweet.

"It embodies our belief in the values of love & tolerance as a pathway for humanity towards peace, security, stability & rapprochement between different people & culture," he added.

American politician Mike Pompeo lauded the pope's visit to the UAE, calling it a "historic moment for religious freedom."

"The first Holy Mass by a pope in the Arabian Peninsula promotes peace and understanding between two of the world's great religions," he added.

"An oasis of human coexistence"

He even met the UAE's Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development

"Honored to greet & welcome Pope Francis in the 1st ever visit of a pope to the Arabian Peninsula! Welcome to the UAE," Noura Al Kaabi wrote in an Instagram caption.

Al Kaabi, the head of Abu Dhabi's Media Authority and twofour54, saw her responsibilities expand in 2016, when she was appointed as the UAE minister of state for Federal National Council affairs.

In October 2017, she was appointed the UAE's Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.

That year, she has seen significant success in her ministerial work as well as her media role. She signed a three-year deal with MBC to film Arabic dramas in Abu Dhabi. As a minister, she led a number of government initiatives, including those that engage with the country's youth. Kaabi also serves as the chairwoman of the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company and a board member of the UAE's National Media Council, Abu Dhabi Media, Image Nation, and Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

"UAE hosting the Pope & Grand Imam to better human relations"

In September, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed visited Pope Francis at the Vatican. 

Such a high profile visit between an influential Muslim leader and the global leader of the Catholic Church sends a strong message of tolerance and coexistence, particularly at a time when Islamophobia has risen significantly in the west.

"We are working together on promoting and enabling, for peace and stability to prevail throughout the world," Sheikh Mohammed said following the 2016 meet-up.