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Travel : Dubai : The Historic District. Emirates, March 9th,2022

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

This is the 4th post, continuation of the trip to the Emirates, which started on March 6/2022 (here)

Prof Uzi Rabi -our second scholar guide and an expert on this transformative corner of the Middle east , joined the group today

As an introduction to the visit in the Historic District of the evolving city, Uzi reminded us that the 1.5 Million Emirati civilians, along with all the imposed modernity and progress, which we witnessed in the previous days, still maintain Patriarchal Society within a tribal traditions context, in which blood relation dictates marriage unions.

Yet, many women who are educated for free, in the UK, hold management positions and help moving the striving economy, that is daily executed by the rest 8 Million foreigners, of mainly Indian/Pakistani majority. A federal army of 100,000 consisting of few civilians and many foreigners functioneers work as a career servicemen, fending against the regional Iran and Iraq threats.

Dubai in the 50th

From the Modern and Tall to the Historic small

Strategically located along the Dubai creek,the historic district was, once home to Dubai’s ruling Sheikh family. and where the city's elite resided until the 1950.

The older section of town, as it was known to the British Empire who ruled over this strategic corner from India, for

150 years, started transforming in 1968 when the UK announced its departure within in 3 years.

Historically the mouth of creek space opened to the sea, consisted of minimal infrastructure - a 18c Fort, an old Rashid Port (which traded in perfumes, Coffee and Perls) and crumbling 1930 old streets Shindagha neighborhood, which has gone under renovations, in the past 50 years, Oil revenues from the 2oth facilitated the elite to move out from the debilitated area, build updated housing and rejuvenation the historic ones.

15 museums all Gov sponsored, few galleries and restaurants/coffee places where installed in the small adobe mud reconstructed historical district , right by the Creek's water, as to attract tourists and to boost national traditional heritage..

The Shindagha Bridge over the Creek

Proactive invented traditions, as to galvanize the 7 Emirate's nation and to instill in its people unity, pride, and mutually shared heritage, are the main themes communicated

in the social engineered content on display at those museums.

On the way to the Textile Souk the Dubai oldest Fort , was the first to serve such a purpose. It could be briefly seen from the bus's windows during the morning site-seeing, but was not visited.

Dubai oldest al Fahidi Fort

Built in 1787, this fort , now an historic museum since 1971, was once the monarch's base, a fortified residence, and weapons arsenal and prison, before being renovated during the reign of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum

Al Shindagha Historic Museum

This historic museum which we did visited, a low structure, once a typical historic residence consisting of a labyrinth of small connected rooms, tells the story of "human innovation, resilience, and the desire for progress -true Emirati culture and its origins".

shaped the Dubai of nowadays. How the shared heritage submerged them into what the nation has become within the region and wider world..

Quotation by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

“We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can leave a legacy long after we are gone.”

On display, beautiful artifacts in Gold, Perls jewelry, as well as Ointments, fragrances and incense- Perfume practices and healing herbs, could be viewed and smelled.


Across from the museum a small Gallery exhibited school children's work of small traditional Dhow Sail Boat part of the centennial celebration, and of constructing myths, legitimacy as well as mindful conceptual cosmopolitan connectivity to the wider world.

Saruk el Hadid - “The Way of Iron”, -Archeological Museum

Also located in the historic Shindagha district, on display at the museum are artifacts from the Iron Age, found at an important archaeological site Saruk el Hadid on the edge of the Rub Al-Khali desert,

The site is considered to have been a center of constant human habitation, trade and metallurgy from the Umm Al Nar period (2600–2000 BCE) to the Iron Age (1,000 BCE), when it was a major location for smelting bronze, copper and Iron.

The narrative fed to the public is, that the site was discovered by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum while flying his helicopter. across the desert.

Thousands of iron tools, stoneware, bronze pots, precious beads, gold jewellery and fossils – were unearthed and are now showcased unavailing the era of metalworking – and preserved in mint condition.

Crossroads of Civilizations Museum (CCM)

This unusual Crossroad Museum which was opened in 2012, (years before Abraham Accord) was the initiative of Achmed - a local private Emirate collector, related to the ruler's family, who welcomed us upon arrival, together with the Israeli Yael who curated the Holocaust display.

Prof, Rabi, Achmed and Yael

The 3 parts museum's collection donated by Achmed is actually, situated in an historical royal property in the district, and is owned, as of April 2021, by the government.

The museum's focus is on providing a fascinating glimpse of Dubai's historic role of 3000 years commercial trading and the its link between East and West.

Its emphasis is on the legacy of Dubai and the UAE. as a crossroad of global trade routes between Europe, Africa and Asia, an interplay of almost all the world’s civilizations.

Its collection highlights the "beauty of the variety of these human cultures that contributed to the progress of humanity throughout ages. emphasizing the positive historical relationships between these civilizations and art",

Historic Documents Exhibit

Dedicated to the Holly-land, Balfur Declaration, Theodor, Hertzl and Itzak Rabin

On display are hundreds of artifacts from the Ubaids, Greeks, Romans, Babylonians pieces from Palestine and other civilizations that passed through the region.

16th-c Kaaba curtain,

Highlights include a 7500-year-old bull-shaped vase and a 16th-c Kaaba curtain,

as well as a 1st edition of the 1590 book that first mentions 'Dubai'. Other galleries display swords, daggers and other historical weaponry used across the region.

Jewelry Exhibit - Perls

Holocaust Exhibit

Yael Grafy, the charming Israeli, who greeted us upon arrival to the museum, shared that

an urge to also open a section at the museum, dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust, and as part of the Abraham Accord, brought her back to Dubai and to cooperate with Muchamd and his dedication to spreading tolerance. Her passion moved us all and we were lucky to have the opportunity to meet her and Muchamad in person, that day , and be guided by them

Yael welcomes anyone who is interested to view the display and share the info, so this is a museum not to be missed Yael Grafy _Head of Collections Management & Galleries (COO) 971 43934440. Cell 971544444635

Back to the Future...

A model of an old Dhow on exhibit

The old Queen Elizabeth Ship (QE2) now

moors as a floating luxury hotel

Textile Souq - Bur Dubai - Al Fahidi Metro Station nearby.

A former trading hub for pearl and textile merchants in the 1800s, the area retains some of its originality— with narrow passages winding between low buildings

The Bur historic district is located on the western side of the Creek and refers to Mainland Dubai, a traditional separation of the Bur Dubai area from Deira by the Dubai Creek

At noon the group was dispatched for a free time and lunch in the vicinity of the

Textile Market - right on the creek,

Traditionally, the Dubai Textile Souk was a commercial hub of the exchange in textiles, for functional use of making clothes or for special occasions. Over the years and through Dubai’s rapid globalisation, its commercial importance has since faded

A traditional shopping culture. was recreated. A large Indian and Pakistani influence due to the large number of Indian and Pakistani traders having settled in the region also formed, what is now known as ‘Hindi Lane’ which consists of little Indian shops. Makeshift stalls of piled up high with pashminas, abayas, bindis, bangles, flowers, saris and kaftans in every color of the rainbow. Hundreds of different types of fabrics are on sale here. as well as plenty of fake designer handbags and other trinkets can be found here along with religious items

The general architecture of the Souq is beautiful and consists of covered allies, traditionally known as sikkas, by very tall wooden arches that are designed to allow for air ventilation to keep cool in the heat. The arches are in sections with gaps in between each section and have traditional Arabic lamps within each arch section.


The unattractive Fish restaurants by the water and next to the Souk are a tourist trap. Thus, three of us decided to drift away from the group, and walked the short distance, back to the museums area, where we found a small pleasant place by the water, Bait al Jeyran

and had a lite tasty lunch.

Crossing the Creek -

Opposite to the old Textile Souq, on the other side of the Dubai Creek, crossed by boat, lie the Dubai Perfume, Spice and Gold Souqs in Deira,- the other historic commercial tourist trap center, where trading is done through bargaining..

Access to Deira via the water-way, by traditional Abra boat gets to Baniyas Square,

Abra Boat

Service, from Old Souq Sabkha Abra Station (south of Baniyas Square). is given - 10am to 10pm Saturday to Thursday, with some vendors taking a lunch break from 1-4pm and Friday is 4pm to 10pm only.

It’s one of the cheapest things to do in Dubai,

The view seen on the Creek's crossing

Deira wooden Architecture

In the locality of Al Ras, on Baniyas Street

Deira Souqs

The Souqs have a rich history of trade within the Persian Gulf region and have developed over time as Dubai urbanized markets, maintaining their Middle Eastern historic charm, and overwhelming density and variety.

The Spice Souk is . The souk comprises several narrow lanes which are lined with open and closed-roof stores,

Spice Selection

Comprises of several narrow lanes which are lined with open and closed-roof stores,

A variety of fragrances and spices from frankincense and shisha to the many herbs used in Arabic and South Asian food. as well as, several household, textiles, tea, incense, rugs and artifacts are also sold in the Spice Souq

Gold Selection

The fascinating glittering bazaar is run by Jewelry traders of which over 380 are retailers,. designs from around the world, crafted with a variety of carats are displayed most attractively, in stores and off long lines of market stalls

It is not just a jewelry, but an entire God Wardrobe

All these massive quantities of spices/perfume scents, shining Gold, and mobbed allies were quite intoxicating to my senses, after freely wondering the markets, on an empty stomach... So by the time the group was miraculously reunited, and bused back to the Creek's other historical side, where we had started the exploration earlier in the day, by the old Textile Souq, I was definitely ready for dinner.

Dinner at Bayt al Wakeel

Bayt Al Wakeel Restaurant

Inside the Textile Souq - Bur Dubai - Al Souq Al Kabeer , next to the western side of the Creek's water.

And from Dubai's Historical small back to the Modern tall

# More fantastic Photos taken by Yuval Zaliouk can be found here

To be Continued...


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