Discover the charming old Dubai
Dubai – a city of awe-inspiring architecture and glamorous shopping malls will surely capture your heart. Dubai is a land of manmade wonders, of incessant activities, of show and pomp. However, if you want to discover a quieter aspect of the city, visit ‘Old Dubai’. Deira was once the main commercial hub of the city but now it has lost its lustre to the recent developments within the city. Today, it beautifully presents to us the old world charm of Dubai, when the creek formed one of the most important routes for business. At Deira you will be far removed from the jazzy shopping arcades and can watch the mercenaries go about their regular business. Walk through the local souks (markets). Away from the hustle-bustle of modern life, Deira is a treat for your senses. At every nook and corner, you’ll find a flourish of colour, different scents, unique sights and attractive items that make great souvenirs. Bargain your way into one of the world’s largest spice markets or wander through alleys filled with gold shops. Towards evening sit by the Dubai creek or book a cruise.
“It is easy to rule through fear, but it takes a rare leader to rule through love.”
– His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE
The ruler of Dubai and Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE – His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has transformed the region with his visionary leadership and strategic planning. He is responsible for the staunch growth of Dubai as a global city. He has also been responsible for the launch of various enterprises such as Emirates Airline and the Jumeriah Group. He has been the driving force behind the iconic Palm Islands and Burj Khalifa.
Sheikh Mohammed is loved by is people not only for his commitment to welfare but also for his wisdom and pleasing personality. He loves poetry and drives his own vehicle. He is also an avid social media user often taking to twitter to express himself. He has a philanthropic nature and is associated with various welfare programs. Sheikh Mohammed is both – a dreamer and an achiever. As he famously said “We, in the UAE, have no such word as “impossible”; it does not exist in our lexicon. Such a word is used by the lazy and the weak, who fear challenges and progress. When one doubts his potential and capabilities as well as his confidence, he will lose the compass that leads him to success and excellence, thus failing to achieve his goal. I require you, youth, to insist on number one.” He is truly a global leader and a world-wide inspiration.
An architectural marvel
While we are all aware of Dubai’s architectural prowess that transformed a desert city into a hub of glitz and glamour, let’s take a closer look at its skyline that’s dominated by numerous high rises. Till about 50 years back, Dubai had only one skyscraper but today is is home to more than 400 high rise buildings, some of them ranking among the world’s tallest structures. We all know about the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The edifice is 2717 feet tall with 164 floors. Apart from them the city boasts of the highest mosque, observation deck, restaurant and night club. Dubai also has one of the world’s few seven star hotels – the Burj al Arab – rated among the most luxurious properties. The building, beautifully constructed to resemble the sail of a ship, is a marvel in itself just as the artificial island that it has been built on. Dubai also has the tallest residential building and hotel tower in the world.
It is a stretch of saltwater that separates Bur Dubai and Deira – two very important sections of the city. The Dubai Creek once used to be a major economic support system, before oil was discovered in the city. Dhows from various regions such as India and Africa would come in to the creek establishing commercial ties of Dubai with the world. It was home to the only port or harbour in Dubai. Pearling was also a thriving industry that centered around the creek. In 1963, the first bridge – Al Maktoum – was built over the creek connecting Deira and Bur Dubai. As numerous other ports were built across Dubai, the creek lost its commercial importance and significance.
Today the creek is a famous spot for tourism. One can take a cruise on the creek and absorb the beautiful surroundings. Or take a walking tour of the Dhow Wharfage area – an interesting mix of visuals, sound and smell. Many street shows are also organised around the area. During shopping festivals, the area around the creek is lit up and abuzz with cultural activities and programs. The Dubai Creek is a must visit spot. The unique ambience of the place – its mix of old world charm with contemporary atmosphere – is a beautiful memory to take back home.