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9 Things to See in Majestic Dubai

Updated on August 29, 2019
Wahab-Mehmood profile image

A traveler, wanderer, philanthropist and most importantly a human being who loves helping people when they need it the most.

1. Burj Khalifa

Impossible not to start our list of 15 things to see in Dubai, with the tallest building in the world. With its 829.8 meters, this tower dominates the city and is the main tourist attraction. If you decide to venture up to the top and enjoy a 360 ° view, you can also take part in a multimedia presentation on Dubai and the Burj Khalifa, which was completed in 2010. Immediately afterwards, a super-fast elevator leads to the 124th floor, where you will find it hard to stand on your legs, both for the dizzying height and for the breathtaking landscape, with the ocean on one side and the desert on the other. The night view is also excellent, given that the city is brightly lit by a thousand lights of different colors.

At the foot of the tower, you will find manicured gardens and the famous Dubai Fountain, which incorporates the design of the Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas and which has the distinction of being the fountain with the highest water games in the world.

2. The Dubai Mall

Calling it a mall is almost an insult. The Dubai Mall is located at the entrance to the Burj Khalifa tower and also houses the Aquarium. There are hundreds of shops of every kind and every detail is taken care of to perfection. Of course, it's not over here: let's not forget the ice skating rink, the games room and the cinema. It is practically a massive playground for all ages, where the food supply is endless, like the entertainment offer. If after a few minutes you have already spent all your holiday budget, do not worry: there are often free events organized inside the mall, such as the Shopping Festival in January and February and the Dubai Summer Surprises Festival in July and August.

3. Dubai Museum

We balance this consumerist wonder with a bit of culture. Among the things to see in Dubai is the Dubai Museum, located inside the Al-Fahidi Fort, built-in 1787 to defend the Dubai Creek shore. The walls of this fortress are made with the classic stone blocks of very warm colors, while the roof is made of a compound of palm leaves, mud and lime. This building served many purposes: it was initially a residence for the royal family, later it was the seat of government, and later became a prison. Today it is the most important museum in the city, which contains the history of the Emirates and their sudden wealth, due to the oil boom.

You will see ancient boats and traditional houses, along with vintage weapons and musical instruments. You will feel so well-read that you can afford to visit another mall.

4. Bastakiya (the old Dubai)

Among the things to see in Dubai, you can't miss the district of Bastakia (sometimes also called Al-Fahidi). Built-in the late nineteenth century to Persian house merchants selling pearls and fabrics, attracted by easy access to Dubai via the river and the absence of commercial taxes. It is a more traditional Dubai, extending east of the city along the river. Here the stone houses are numerous and often dominated by wind towers, which help to create a cooler home environment, a sort of archaic air conditioning. A true architectural marvel. The alleys of this neighborhood are evocative of less frenetic and certainly simpler times. Cultivate this nostalgia by going to the Majlis Gallery, to observe the various Arab ceramics and furniture, and the XVA Gallery, to enjoy some contemporary art.

5. The house of Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum

Sheikh Al-Maktoum ruled Dubai between 1921 and 1958 and is the grandfather of the current ruler. Its ancient residence, a clear example of Arab architecture, has been restored and is now a museum. The original structure was demolished, but the new building was faithful to the old one. In fact, inlaid doors and windows with floral and geometric details can be noted. The house has 30 rooms, built around the inner courtyard, with various wind towers rising from the roofs. Inside there is a vast collection of period photographs, taken in the region between 1948 and 1953, as well as the house of Sheikh Obaid bin Thani, which presents interiors of traditional inspiration.

6. The river

The Dubai River breaks the city in two, outlining Deira in the north and Bur Dubai in the south. Dubai owes its expansion to the presence of this sip of water, which attracted the first natives thanks to fishing and the collection of pearls. The first establishments seem to have sprung up as far as 4,000 years ago, while there is the talk of a modern era starting in the 1930s, which coincides with the arrival of the Bani Yas people. Along the river, you can visit the small port of the dhows, traditional boats of Indo-Arab origin. Some dhows have been sailing these waters for over 100 years! It is possible to spend some time only calmly observing the loading and unloading maneuvers at the port, or get on a dhow for a tour offered by one of the locals, who will show you the lifestyle of those working onboard these boats,

If the water is your element, don't miss a ride in an abra (a small wooden boat) that will take you from the shore of Bur Dubai to that of Deira.

7. The Jumeirah Mosque

This mosque is probably the most beautiful of those that populate the city. It is an identical copy of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, only eight times bigger! The stone blocks used in the construction follow the medieval Fatimid style, and the night lights projected on the walls make the Jumeirah Mosque extremely fascinating after sunset. Inside the mosque, the Cultural Understanding Center of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid offers tours, Arabic language classes and workshops aimed at explaining Muslim religion and culture. It's worth a look. Definitely one of the things to see in Dubai to make your trip complete!

8. Deira

Deira is located on the north bank of the river and is a clear example of the melting pot of cultures and nationalities that is Dubai. It is interesting to observe the contrast between the traditional dhow on the shore and an endless row of modern buildings in the background, housing banks, hotels and offices.

Do not miss the various markets, or souks, one of the main attractions of this neighborhood. The Gold Souk is one of the most famous bazaars for buying and selling this metal, while the Spice Souk will amaze you with its aromas and fragrances and an incredible offer of cumin, paprika, saffron, sumac, thyme , etc. You can draw inspiration for your next multi-ethnic dinner!

For architecture lovers, the Heritage House and the Al-Ahmadiya School are two restored marvels not to be missed. The former belonged to a rich family of Iranian merchants, while the latter is the oldest school in Dubai and is currently the Museum of Public Education.

9. Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard

This street surrounds the financial and modern district of Dubai. With its 8 lanes, you can whiz between skyscrapers that reflect the warm and intense sun, and that alternate with flower beds and fountains treated to perfection. It is worth taking a look, at least, at the first section that goes from the roundabout to the first intersection, to admire the various shopping centers on the sides: the World Trade Tower, for example, is a magnificent skyscraper that offers a considerable view from the top floor (a less expensive alternative to rival Burj Khalifa), while for magpies who love everything that glitters, the Gold and Diamond Park is a must, with its 118 artisans and 30 jewelers under one roof .


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