Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sightseeing in Dubai

While Dubai may seem like a very young Emirate, it does have some historical sites that have been converted to museums and attractions. Entry to most museums is free and the maximum you will pay is 5 dhirams.

Dubai Museum
In the Al Fahidi Fort, is the most popular of all the Heritage attractions in Dubai. It’s a good place to catch up on the history of Dubai, with a peek into Commercial, Domestic and Desert life of yore. There is also a section on pearl diving – the original economic activity of Dubai. Except for a few dhows and cannons, the exhibits are all inside and air conditioned.

A short walk from here will take you into the Bastakiya area, with the largest concentration of traditional houses within the city limits.

Heritage House
Originally built in 1890 and restored in 1994. The house gives visitors an idea of what a traditional Emirati furnished accommodation would look like right down to the bathroom (al zawiyah) and a brides room (al Hijla)

Al Ahmadiya School
The school is located right next to the Heritage House. Religious teaching was started here in 1922. This museum chronicles the development of formal education from religious education

Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House
Built in 1896, this was once the seat of the local government. Its a fine example of Islamic art and design. Definitely explore the barajeel – wind towers – perhaps the world's earliest form of air conditioning.

Naif Museum
Situated in the Naif Fort in Deira, was the first headquarters of Dubai police and was also used as a prison. The museum explores the origin and developments in the police force of Dubai.

Heritage & Diving Villages
Handcrafters and Arab performers provide an insight into the traditional culture and lifestyle of the people of the UAE.

Jumeirah Archaeological Site
Believed to be over 1000 years old, excavations at this location are ongoing. But so far they have already identified residential buildings, a market, caravan serai and a mosque.To visit you will need to apply for permission from the Dubai Museum (04-3496874)

Hatta Heritage Village
This Heritage Village is 115km Southeast of Dubai located in the rocky Hatta Mountains. The history of the village can be traced back around 3000 years. There are 30 buildings made from different building materials. Special live events are held here during public holidays and the Shopping festivals.

Jumeirah Mosque
The only mosque in Dubai that is open to non-Muslims. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding conducts guided tours (1.5 hours) on every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 10am for 10dhs each. The purpose of the tour and the Centre itself is to bring down the barriers between different cultural groups residing in the UAE. Photography is permitted, remember to dress appropriately.

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