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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.