A Travellerspoint blog

Old Dubai

Bur Dubai and Deira

sunny 39 °C

Dubai originally formed as a fishing and pearl diving village and was located around a small river called the Dubai Creek. It became a center of commerce and trading gold, spices and textiles. Way back in 1892 Sheikh Maktoum formed a trading agreement with the British government to permit a full tax exemption to all foreign traders - that agreement continues to this day making this Emirate truly a hub of trade and export. To support the trade over the years they created a large port which has been dredged and is now the largest deep water port in the world.

Areas on both sides of Dubai Creek developed and are characterized by very narrow, winding streets lined with shops selling everything from spices to textiles and buildings with square wind towers. The creek today remains an area of very active shipping with many small and very decrepit boats tied up often 3 deep along the waterfront.


Thousands of people commute across the creek each day on small boats called abras for the nominal fee of 1 AED - about 25 cents. They load about 20 people onto each abra and set off whenever they are full.

An abra ready for passengers.

A full abra setting off across the creek.

We then went to find the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House but it was closed until 3 in the afternoon because it was Friday - the sabbath. It was prayer time and many people were in the local mosque – we could hear the prayers from the outside. Even the security guard had left a notice saying he had gone for prayer. The father of the current Sheikh and Leader of Dubai used to live in this house before it was turned into a museum.

Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House

We returned the next day to visit the Dubai Museum. This was very well done with a number of exhibits showing past life and times of Dubai. They also had a number of boats and also archaeological artifacts which have been found in several "digs" in the area.

Dhow outside the Dubai Museum

Inside the Museum scene - drinking coffee and smoking the shisha

An Arab school - probably in a mosque

Leading a camel - note the khanjar at the belt - a traditional dagger.

Posted by DavidandHazel 07:30 Archived in United Arab Emirates

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint