Dubai, a destination loved by everyone has something to attract tourists across all age groups. From the best of adventure attractions to the most relaxing and rejuvenating experiences, Dubai has it all for every type of traveller. But not many know that this entertainment and tourism hub of the world was once nothing but a small Bedouin fishing village. In a matter of just three decades, Dubai rose to become the premier travel destination in the world.
What makes Dubai even more distinct is the fact that not only the latest attractions but Dubai have preserved its heritage and culture beautifully for the world to see, learn and admire. Yes, while you’re in Dubai, don’t forget to visit some of its amazing cultural and historical attractions.
• Bastakiya Quarters
Known as the most engaging neighborhood of Dubai, the Bastakiya Quarters was established in the 19th century by the pearl and textile traders who came to Dubai from Bastak and settled here. Visiting Bastakiya is like peeping into Dubai’s past through its wind towers, elegant 19th-century buildings, hanging oil lamps, wooden lattice and an atmosphere that is a reminiscence of the era gone by. Enjoy the cultural breakfasts and meet the Emirati locals offering a rare opportunity to know the rich historical past of Bastakiya quarters and its life.
• Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
They say your cultural understanding of Dubai is incomplete without experiencing a tour of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. This non-profit organization is solely built with an aim to promote the awareness and understanding of the prevalent diverse cultures of Dubai. With Creekside tours, Jumeirah Mosque visits, special Arabic classes, heritage tours, cultural meals, cultural awareness programs and special events; the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding tries to develop a completely different understanding of Islam and the Arabian culture, unlike the common notion. With their banner “open doors open minds”, the center assures you of showing a Dubai unknown to many.
• Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House
Built in the year 1896 in the Al Shindgha area of Dubai, the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House was the official residence of the ruling family of Al Makhtoum until 1958. Post that, it was converted into a museum housing the important documents of the events of historical importance in the growth of Dubai. This is also the place where tourists can take a sneak peek into the life of the ruling family of Dubai. This is the house where the sons and grandsons of the ruler of Dubai were born and therefore, most of the important event photographs, and other mementos are beautifully preserved there for the tourists. Every year, the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House receives thousands of visitor’s foot falls to know more about the history of Dubai and its royal family.
• Heritage Village
Very close to the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House is the Heritage Village of Dubai. It was built in the year 1997 to give the visitors of Dubai an idea of the primitive lifestyle of a traditional Emirati along with promoting the cultural art and craft. The rural life of the village ranges from people living in the mountains, country, desert and coastal. The place throws deep insights on the medicines used in the old era to treat patients. Those that were made for bone setting, branding, and many more deadly diseases. The houses too were made of stones, tents, and palm fronds. The village aptly displays the cultural beliefs and practices of the Emiratis in that era. All in all, a village offers a great insight into the life of Dubai when it was a humble Bedouin fishing village settlement.
• Dubai Museum
One of the best-maintained museums of the UAE, the Dubai museum witnesses millions of tourists every year, and rightly so. The museum was originally opened in the year 1971 and has been renovated many times since then. It features various galleries, restored Arabic houses, mosques of that era, daily life depiction and other important exhibits of the life in Dubai during the pre-oil era. The museum also has the lifelike depiction of souks (markets), date farms, marine and desert life along with the exhibits of pearl diving village, the traditional Dhows (Arabian boats used for fishing), and more. Dubai museums is a must visit if you want to understand the past of Dubai and admire its present achievements.
• Al Fahidi Fort
The oldest fort of Dubai, the Al Fahidi fort was built in the early 17th century and till today stands proud as the most visited fort of Dubai. Built to protect the city from invasion and to keep a watch for enemies, the Al Fahidi fort houses cannons, arms, and ammunitions used in that era. The is the fort that houses the famous Dubai museums as well. O, when you visit the Al Fahidi fort, you can also see the mesmerizing and extremely informative Dubai museum.
Some unknown cultural lifestyle and historical facts of Dubai
• Dubai’s prominence started when the Ban Yas tribe led by the Maktoum family settled here and started the pearl diving and fishing trade.
• Dubai creek divides the city of Dubai into two halves- the Bur Dubai and Deira, since centuries.
• Traditionally boasts also known as Dhows were used for fishing. Now the same can be experienced through the modern-day Dhow cruise in Dubai creek every evening with song and dance.
• Abras were once the only mode of transportation from one side of the creek to the other.
• The local residents of Dubai are known as Emiratis and the main religion is Islam. However, the local population only makes 15% of the total citizens and the other 85% are the expats coming majorly from the Asian countries and other parts of the world.
• Dubai is considered to be the safest city on earth and has till date never experienced communal violence in spite of having so many residents of different religions.