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Historical attractions in Dubai

Historical attractions in Dubai

Historical Attractions

Dubai Creek

The Creek, a natural sea-water inlet which cuts through the centre of the city, is the historic focal point of life in Dubai. A stroll along its banks evokes the city's centuries-old trading traditions.

Visitors will be captivated by the colour and bustle of the loading and unloading of dhows which still ply ancient trade routes to places as distant as India and East Africa.

An attractive way to view the Creek and the dhows is from an abra, one of the small water taxis which criss-cross the Creek from the souks of Deira to those on the Bur Dubai side.

Boatmen will also take visitors on a fascinating hour-long trip from the abra embarkation points to the mouth of the Creek and inland to the Maktoum Bridge, passing on the way many of the city's historic and modern landmarks.

Redevelopment work has transformed parts of the Creek's banks. On the Deira side, a broad and well-lit, paved promenade extends from the Corniche, which faces on the Arabian Gulf, all the way to the attractive purpose-built dhow terminal constructed beside Maktoum Bridge.

On the Bur Dubai side between Maktoum and Garhoud bridges, Creekside Park provides pleasant paved walks and extensive landscaped public gardens.

At the inland end of the Creek is a large, shallow lagoon, now a wildlife sanctuary which has become a haven for migrating shore birds. Some 27,000 birds have been counted here at one time during the autumn migration. The most spectacular are the many Greater Flamingos which have made the Creek their permanent home


Situated 115km southeast of Dubai city in the foothills of the majestic Hajjar mountains, Hatta provides the visitor with a fascinating glimpse into Dubai's historical past. The historic Hatta Fort overlooks the heritage village of Hatta which was opened to public in February 2001. The fort, built by Sheikh Maktoum bin Hashr Al Maktoum in 1896 to provide protection to the viceroy, displays old weaponry, knives, daggers, swords, guns and pistols. The village contains a number of other important houses and buildings with additional displays and models. The Hatta site consists of many historical buildings, traditional houses, a public restaurant and the international Hatta Fort Hotel. A perfect holiday resort!

Visiting Hours: Saturday- Thursday: 0800-2000 daily Friday: 1400-2000 Telephone: 04-8521374

Sheikh Saeed House

The official residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai (1912-1958) and grandfather of the present Ruler, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has been restored to stand proud again on the Shindagha end of Dubai Creek. The house, which dates from 1896, today houses a rare Collection of historic photographs, coins, stamps and documents that record Dubai's history.

Visiting Hours: Saturday- Thursday: 0800-2030 daily Friday: 1530-2130 Telephone: 04-3937139

Dubai Museum in Al Fahidi Fort

A Visit to the Dubai museum is a must on every Dubai itinerary. Housed within the beautifully restored Al Fahidi Fort, which was erected around 1799 to defend the city against invasion, the museum's diverse collection of exhibits offers a fascinating insight into the rich history and cultural heritage.

Renovated in 1993 for use as museum, its colourful life size dioramas vividly depict everyday life in the days before the discovery of oil. Galleries recreate scenes from the Creek, traditional Arab houses, mosques, the souk, date farms and desert and marine life. One of the more spectacular exhibits portrays pearl diving, including sets of pearl merchants' weights, scales and sieves. Also on display are artifacts from several excavations in the emirate, recovered from graves that date back to the third millennium B.C.

Visiting Hours: Saturday - Thursday: 0830-2030 daily Friday: 1430-2030 Telephone: 04-3531862

Heritage and Diving Villages

In the Shindagha area, along the creek, the Heritage and Diving Villages provide a rare glimpse of Dubai's traditional culture and lifestyle. Exhibits focus on the emirate's maritime past, pearl diving traditions and architecture. Several shops also sell handicrafts.

Visiting Hours: Saturday to Thursday: 08:00-22:00 daily Friday: 08:00-11:00 and 16:00-22:00 Telephone: 04-3937151


The old Bastakiya district with its narrow lanes and tall wind-towers gives a tantalising glimpse of old Dubai. Immediately to the east of Al Fahidi Fort is the largest concentration of traditional courtyard houses with windtowers. In the past, the city was famous for a mass of windtowers which lined the Creek on either side. These were not merely decorative; they were the only means of cooling houses in the days before mains electricity.

Al Ahmadiya School

Established in 1912, Al Ahmadiya School was the first regular school in Dubai, located in the Al-Ras Area of Deira. In the early phase of its life, the subjects of Hadith-the prophet's sayings, Tafseer-the Qu'ran explanation, and Islamic law was taught. Classes took place on mats made from palm-tree leaves. The two-storey building was renovated in 1995 for use as a museum of education.

Visiting Hours: Saturday-Thursday: 0800am-0730pm Friday: 0230pm-0730pm Free Entrance Telephone: 04-2260286

Bait Al Wakeel

Built in 1934 by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Bait al Wakeel was the first office Building in Dubai. At the edge of the Creek near the abra landing, the building's restoration was Complete in 1995.

Bin Muzaina House

Located adjacent to the Al Ahmadiya School, the house has a large courtyard with a rectangular windtower. The oldest part of the house dates back to the 1890's.

Visiting Hours: Saturday - Thursday; 0830-1330 and 1530-2000 Friday-1330-2000 Telephone: 04-3946343

Burj Nahar

One of the many watchtowers that once guarded the old city, built in 1870, the restored Burj Nahar in Its picturesque gardens in Deira is popular with photographers

Majlis Ghorfat Um-Al Sheif

Built around 1955 as a summer retreat for the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the majlis is Located in the Jumeirah area near the sea and features a traditional palm tree garden with a 'falaj' irrigation system.

Visiting Hours: Saturday-Thursday 0830-1330 and 1530-2000 Friday: 1330-2000 Telephone: 04-3946343

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