Representational image
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Step Back In Time: Exploring Dubai’s Majestic Historical Sites

From the historical neighbourhood of Al Fahidi to the timeless charm of Dubai Creek, these historical sites offer a fascinating journey into the city’s rich past

Dubai, famous for its towering futuristic skyscrapers and ultra-modern skyline, also harbours a treasure trove of historic landmarks. These landmarks tell the tale of Dubai’s evolution over the past decades into the international metropolis it is today.  Come with us as we delve into the historical depths of Dubai, offering an enlightening glimpse into the transformative journey of this global city.

Old Town

Old Town
Old Town

Located on the banks of Dubai Creek, this heritage quarter known as Dubai Old Town offers a trip back in time. It used to be the gateway to the Gulf's most prosperous pearl-diving port. Due to the fishermen and merchants crossing the waterways in their traditional dinghies, you can still feel their presence.

This place allows you to learn more about the history of the Emiratis and their traditions. The Gold Souk in the Old Town is the best place to buy gold in Dubai or to learn more about the city's jewellery market.

Formerly known as Bastakiya, the Al Fahidi historical neighbourhood offers a glimpse into the Dubai of the late 19th century. Characterised by its traditional wind-tower architecture, the district is a maze of narrow lanes and courtyards, home to art galleries, cafes, and museums.

Al Fahidi Fort

Al Fahidi Fort
Al Fahidi FortShutterstock

The fort was constructed in 1787 during the reign of Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, a notable ruler of Dubai at the time. It is home to the Dubai Museum, which showcases the history and cultural development of the city. The exhibits transport us back to the traditional Bedouin way of life, the age of pearl diving, and historic trade routes as the city evolved into a modern global metropolis.

Housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest existing building in Dubai, this museum provides a comprehensive overview of the traditional way of life in Dubai. It features dioramas, local antiques, and artefacts that depict various aspects of desert and marine life. It offers visitors a glimpse into the pre-oil history of the region.

Timings: 8:30 am to 8:30 pm every day except Fridays

Entry fee: INR 70 for adults and INR 25 for children

Dubai Creek

Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek

Dubai Creek is a natural seawater inlet cutting through the heart of Dubai. It is not only a picturesque landmark but also a significant historical and cultural site. Dubai Creek has been a vital component of the city's life for centuries, serving as a major port for trading vessels. Its waters were instrumental in the development of Dubai as a centre for fishing, pearling, and trade. The prosperity and growth Dubai experienced in the early 20th century were largely due to the bustling activity along the Creek.

Embark on a typical abra (water taxi) out on the stream and enjoy the bustling activities of the busy waterway as you travel past historic buildings. Enjoy the classic vistas of traditional wooden boats or dhows loaded with cargo while admiring the views of the Al Maktoum Bridge and the Dubai skyline.

Timings: There are no specific creek timings, but the Abra stations that lead people to Dubai Creek operate from 5 am to 12 am.

Souk Spots

A random souk
A random souk Shutterstock

The souks in Dubai are the perfect yesteryear from the city's former affluent lifestyle. Catch the traders exchange their goods here from all around the Gulf. Are you in the mood to buy gold? Stroll through the Gold Souk. Or create your own perfume here at the wide range of vendors at the Souk.

Close to the Gold Souk, the Spice Souk is a vibrant market where you can find a variety of spices, herbs, incense, and traditional medicinal products. The aromas and colours here are a feast for the senses.

Jumeirah Mosque

Jumeirah Mosque
Jumeirah MosqueUnsplash

One of Dubai's most treasured architectural assets is the Jumeirah Mosque. It is a gift from the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. It is built in the traditional Fatimid style, originating from Syria and Egypt. The mosque's intricate artistry, with detailed Arabic calligraphy and ornate decorations, makes it a splendid example of Islamic architecture. The mosque can accommodate up to 1500 people at one time.

It's one of the few mosques in the United Arab Emirates that welcomes non-Muslim visitors, playing a significant role in bridging cultural gaps and promoting a better understanding of Islam.

Timings: 10 am to 8 pm (Closed on Fridays)

Burj Nahar

Burj Nahar
Burj Naharjimpaliouras13/instagram

Burj Nahar is a stunning historical watchtower surrounded by lush green gardens and a moat, which adds to its allure. With its elaborate design and vibrant tiles, its building is a prime example of classic Arabic architecture and is one of Dubai's main attractions. These towers were built in the late 19th century and have played an important role in the city's history.

Like other watchtowers in Dubai, Burj Nahar is built in a traditional style. It features a round tower made of coral and mortar. These materials were commonly used in historical Emirati buildings. The tower has narrow windows and a small entrance, typical of defensive structures of that period. The building was initially built to serve as a watchtower to ward against invaders. It now houses a museum that displays the history and culture of Dubai. Anyone who wishes to explore Dubai's rich past must visit the Burj Nahar.

Timings: Open 24/7

Getting There

The quickest and most convenient way to get to Dubai from India is to fly, which costs around INR 8,500 to INR 25,000. Assuming you’re travelling from Mumbai, it will take around 7 hours and 45 minutes to reach.

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