ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Historical Attractions in Dubai

Updated on September 6, 2011
Azure11 profile image

Marian (aka Azure11) lived in Dubai for 7 years and now travels over there once or twice a year for business and pleasure.

Old and New Dubai

When thinking about Dubai, most people will imagine big skyscrapers, lots of traffic, 7 star hotels, cranes and beaches as well as malls and indoor ski slopes amongst other things! What most people don't realise until they visit is that Dubai does have it's own interesting history and there are still some areas of Dubai where you can see this, albeit they are few and far between.

There are a few areas in Dubai that hold most of the historical attractions and these are down by the creek where the original settlers lived. Dubai has a big history of pearl diving which has died out in recent years but you can still find evidence of this if you look. There are also some great old buildings with wind towers which are often replicated in modern architecture in order to get a flavour of the old style buildings.

Travelling Across the Creek on an Abra

Historical Dubai

For many hundreds of years Dubai (or rather the UAE) was a trading port and the main industries were fishing and pearl diving. The pearl diving industry, although it has died out somewhat with the invention of artificial pearls, still forms a great part of the heritage of the nation and the local Emiratis are very proud of this tradition.

The creek was the hub of the city and even today you see many boats with their loads of cargo moored at the creekside and being offloaded by manual labour to go to the soukhs and markets around the city.

The main areas of the current city of Dubai where you will see traditional buildings etc are therefore in the area of the creek and even with the new buildings that have gone up you can still get a sense of what life was like a few hundred years ago.

So one thing you must do is to take a trip across the creek and you will almost feel like you have gone back at least a few decades, if not more. Jump on an abra, pay your 1 dirham (less than a dollar!) and head over to the Gold Soukh (not so old) or the spice soukh (much more atmosphere) and then back again to the textile soukh. 

An old abra housed in the historical setting of the Dubai Museum
An old abra housed in the historical setting of the Dubai Museum

Places To Go In Dubai

Dubai Museum

The Dubai Museum is located in an old building dating back to around 1790, which has been restored (the Al Fahidi Fort). With such a historical setting in itself, this is the best place to visit to go and see some old artifacts and and to generally find out what life was like for the pearl divers and traders who travelled long distances by camel or boat. It is easy to forget that essentially Dubai is a desert that has been built upon and you will get a good insight into this from visiting the museum which is in the Bastakia area of Dubai, down by the creek.

Visiting Hours
Saturday to Thursday: 08:30-20:30 daily
Friday: 14:30-20:30

Windtowers in the historical area of Bastakia in Dubai
Windtowers in the historical area of Bastakia in Dubai

Bastakia

The bastakiya area of Dubai is also down by the creek and here you can find many old buildings with their traditional wind towers and sand coloured walls. Take a walk around the area and you will find lots of art galleries in the meandering alleyways that use the space in the old buildings to their advantage and some that have coffee shops in the courtyard (see in particular The Majlis Gallery and the Basta Art Cafe).

Wind towers were an essential part of the old buildings in Dubai as they would allow the hot air to escape in the summer and cool the rooms down - a kind of primitive air conditioning system that actually worked very well. Many new buildings that try to replicate the old style have pseudo wind towers as part of their design. 

Mostly New Dubai

So really there has been so much building in Dubai that most of the stuff you see will be new but it is worth heading down to the creek and wandering through Bastakia and it's alleyways as well as taking a trip across the creek, so that you at least get a small sense of the old ways of Dubai.

Bastakia in Dubai

A
Bastakia, dubai:
Bastakia 1 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

get directions

The cultural and heritage area of Dubai

B
dubai museum:
Dubai Museum - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

get directions

Located in the renovated Al Fahidi Fort, definitely worth a visit.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Azure11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marian L 

      7 years ago from UK

      Thanks youmeget, I'm not sure about 'heaven on earth' - I think sometimes that it can feel like that but as with all places there are good and bad :-)

    • youmeget profile image

      youmeget 

      7 years ago

      You've got a lot. At least you've clarified my thoughts, all I was thinking is Dubai is 'heaven on earth'.

      Beautiful hub

    • Azure11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marian L 

      7 years ago from UK

      Thanks Genna

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Just a fascinating hub, and I learned a great deal.

    • Azure11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marian L 

      7 years ago from UK

      Thanks Cogerson, it is a great place and worth visiting for sure, I'll be posting more photos and videos in the coming weeks too!

    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 

      7 years ago from Virginia

      Wow what a great hub....I keep hearing about Dubai....but this is the first time I have ever seen photos and videos....voted up

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)