Old Dubai

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When you think about Dubai the first that come to your mind are reaching the sky buildings, 10 lanes highways or human-built islands, isn’t it? But there is another face of the city – remembering its history and old times. Old in this case means 18th century. It’s not Rome or Stambul but historical area of Deira and Bur Dubai separated by Dubai Creek is worth visiting. It gives a chance to feel old Dubai atmosphere.

First settlement on this land is dated on 10th century but until 18th century it hasn’t gained any importance. It was just a port on the Iran-Oman route. At the turn of 18th and 19th century when Persian ports introduced customs duties, Dubai lowered them. That brought it wide interest and soon made it one of important commercial ports.

At the end of 18th century Al Fahidi fort was built. It’s probably the oldest historic site in Dubai today. It had many functions throughout the years but was built as a defensive fortress. It’s a square construction with three towers built of coral rock. Right now it is the home of Dubai Museum presenting traditional Emirati life. Oustide the building there is an old-type wooden boat exhibited. It’s called the dhow.

Al Fahidi fort, Dubai Al Fahidi fort, Dubai Al Fahidi fort, DubaiAl Fahidi fort, Dubai
Right across the street there is a Grand Mosque, a true copy of built in 1900 original mosque. This main Dubai temple is characterised by 70-meter minaret, the highiest in Dubai and 54 smaller and bigger domes. Available for tourist only from the outside. We already mentioned it here.Grand Mosque, Dubai

Characteristic for the commercial port is presence of the market. In this old part of Dubai we find couple of them. First is Bur Dubai Souk, also called Old Souk. It is located close to the Creek, right next to the port. Its entrance it just by white tower in the port. It gained most popularity among merchants thanks to such location.

Dubai, UAEOld Souk, Dubai

The market originated in the middle of 20th century. It’s a roofed group of stalls with basicly everything. It used to be known as a textile souq. Today it offers everything form clothes to food, handicraft to all kinds of souvenirs. And it’s a perfect place to make new friends of course.Old Souk, Dubai

To get to another souk we had to cross the Creek as it is loacted in Deira district. Deira and Bur Dubai are connected by runing regularily traditional boats. Each wooden abra takes up to 20 people each time. During whole day they transport back and fort thousands of locals and tourists. The cost is 1 dirham.

Dubai CreekDubai Creekabra, Dubai Creekabra, Dubai Creekabra, Dubai Creekabra, Dubai Creekabra, Dubai Creek

Fee is paid on the way to the steersman who sits in the gap in the middle of the boat and is surrounded by passengers. Passengers freely jump on and off the boat as there is no rail and the boat in fact reminds a raft. Baby strollers are allowed but after a try we felt more safely when we had Ola in the woven wrap. Besides this connection abras offer also longer touristic cruises up the Creek.

Across the street from the Deira abra port there is Spice Souk. It used to be famous for the it’s wide selection of spieces. Today just like the souk in Bur Dubai it offers full range of other goods as well as species. It’s still interesting to take a walk its narrow and full of life streets and feel the atmosphere of the souk, bargain a little for some gifts and buy some saffron or cardamom.

Spice Souk, Deira, DubaiSpice Souk, Deira, Dubai

Spice Souk, Deira, DubaiSpice Souk, Deira, DubaiSpice Souk, Deira, Dubai

Few steps further on the right hand side invites Dubai City of Gold. 20% of world gold transactions are done in Dubai. The Golden Souk is just a part of this amount but indeed it is full of glittering goods. All the jewellery that we can only imagine is there: rings, bracelets, earings, watches and so on. Shop windows shine full of gold, silver and precious stones.

Dubai City of Gold Dubai City of GoldDubai City of Gold

Another thing that needs to be seen on this side of the Creek is port full of big wooden boats waiting for loading or unloading. Colorful, wooden, old fashioned looking ships are really currently in use. We couldn’t believe what routes they operate on – they cover the distance from Dubai to India or Pakistan! It’s not just sailing somewhere close, to some neighboring port, it’s a huge distance, hundreds of kilometers. And it’s a standard way to deliver all the goods from clothes to vacuum cleaners or big fridges! All the merchandise is right in front of boats so it’s easy to see what they just have brought or what they will now be loaded with.


There are so many ships that they ocuppy whole coast and almost reach the abra station so coming by abra there is no option to miss them.

And as a contrast of the traditional and new we will finish with famous air-conditioned bus stops in Bur Dubai. They are present all over the city but here are a kind of reminder that Dubai is first of all a modern, progresive and innovative city.

Dubai, UAEDubai, UAEDubai, UAE

Comments (11)
  1. Wiola Starczewska Tuesday October 6th, 2015 at 08:19 PM

    “Byłem na starym mieście w Dubaju” – brzmi prawie jak oksymoron. A jednak. Dlaczego zdecydowałaś się zwiedzać włąśnie tą część miasta?

    • Magdalena Kuźma Tuesday October 6th, 2015 at 10:29 PM

      Tę nowoczesną, najbardziej znaną twarz Dubaju już widzieliśmy, a ciekawiła nas tradycja, historia i to, dzięki czemu rozwinął się Dubaj. Poza tym soukjest świetnym miejscem, aby kupic pamiątki i wszelkiego rodzaju przyprawy!

      • Magdalena Kuźma Tuesday October 6th, 2015 at 10:32 PM

        Na nas one też zrobiły wrażenie. W dzisiejszych czasach, w jednym z bogatszym zakątków świata co najmniej dziwiły stare drewniane lodzie wyładowane nowoczesnym sprzętem.

  2. Łukasz | Kartka z Podróży Tuesday October 6th, 2015 at 10:11 PM

    Nie do pojęcia jest dla mnie, jak takie statki pamiętające jeszcze podboje Napoleona mogą przewozić dobra? To jakoś kłóci się z moim wyobrażeniem tego miasta.

  3. Monika Tuesday October 6th, 2015 at 10:54 PM

    Pamiętam, że kiedy po raz pierwszy usłyszałam o ‘starym’ Dubaju i obejrzałam zdjęcia to bardzo się zdziwiłam. Jeśli kiedyś trafię do tego miasta to na pewno zobaczę i tę część.

  4. PlanetKiwi Wednesday October 7th, 2015 at 08:14 PM

    Nawet nie myślałam, że jest taka ciekawa część Dubaju :) Jedziemy przez Dubaj w lutym i w związku z tym niewątpliwie tam zajrzymy . Dla mnie najfajniejsze są te rynki, o których piszesz :)

  5. Marcin Thursday October 8th, 2015 at 07:41 PM

    Fajnie, że widzę coś innego niż tylko wieżowce. O starym Dubaju słyszałem co nieco od znajomej, która tam mieszka. Mimo wszystko Dubaj bardziej kojarzy mi się jako miejsce do pracy lub miejsce, gdzie można wpaść na chwilę podczas dziennego stopovera.

  6. Tatiana Monday October 12th, 2015 at 04:34 PM

    Po raz pierwszy widzę zdjęcia Dubaju, które mogłyby mnie skłonić do odwiedzenia tego miasta!

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