Bur Dubai is the area on the south side of Dubai Creek. Small wooden motorboats (abras) travel the Dubai Creek carrying passengers between Bur Dubai to Deira.The arrival of the Al-Maktoum family in 1833 began the transformation of Bur Dubai into the modern city that it is today.The Bastakia area of Bur Dubai has many historic buildings including the Al-Fahidi Fort, which houses the Dubai Museum. Many souqs, restaurants, hotels, shopping malls and mosques are also found within the area.Karama and Satwa are areas of multicultural diversity in Bur Dubai. The Ruler's office, where matters of state are decided, is also located within Bur Dubai.
The Dubai Museum in Bur Dubai is housed in the Al-Fahidi Fort, built in 1787 to defend Dubai Creek. The walls of the fort are built from coral and shell taken from the sea, and held together with lime. The upper floor is supported by wooden poles called handels and the ceiling is made of palm fronds, mud and plaster.The fort has served as the residence of the Ruler's family, the seat of government, garrison and prison. The Al-Fahidi Fort was renovated in 1971 and then extensively in 1995.The entrance to the Dubai Museum has a collection of old maps of the Gulf and the Emirates as well as aerial photographs showing Dubai's expansion between 1960 and 1980. A massive, iron studded door greets visitors.The courtyard of the Dubai Museum has several boats and a palm-leaf house with a traditional wind-tower. The hall to the right of the courtyard features daggers and other traditional weapons, while the hall to the left has a video of traditional dance and a selection of musical instruments.Many large display halls are located underneath the fort. The various displays include a spectacular exhibit portraying the underwater world of pearl diving as well as artifacts such as copper, alabaster and pottery found in 3000 - 4000 year old graves at Al Qusais.Dioramas with life-size figures, sound and lighting effects depict everyday life in period before the discovery of oil. Commercial and domestic life as well as life in the desert and on the sea are highlighted in the various galleries.
Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House
Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum was the Ruler of Dubai from 1921 to 1958 and is the grandfather to the current ruler. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum's House is a national monument that has been restored as a museum.The original house was built in 1896 by Sheikh Saeed's father so he could observe shipping activity from the balconies. The original home was demolished and the current home rebuilt next to the original site. The restoration of the architectural elements of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum's House includes the carved teak doors and windows, wooden lattice screens, and the balustrades of railings. The gypsum ventilating screens have floral and geometric designs, and are set into the thick walls. This 30 room house consists of wind towers and rooms built around a central courtyard. The two entrances into the building include the Creek side and the rear of the building, which was probably reserved for family members.The house is now home to the Museum of Historical Photographs and Documents of the Emirate of Dubai with many historical photographs of Dubai from the period 1948 to 1953. The Marine Wing has photos of fishing, pearling and boat building.Documents such as letters, maps, treaties, coins and stamps provide a glimpse in to the development of the emirate through the years.
Nestled within the eastern quarter of Bur Dubai is the historical Bastakia district. Once a settlement for Persian merchants, the area is known for its old-world charm and heritage buildings.
Heritage and Diving Village
The Heritage and Diving Village displays pearl diving and dhow building, two of old Dubai 's economic mainstays. Another area of the villages re-creates traditional Bedouin and coastal village life, with Persian homes, a traditional coffeehouse and a small Souq. Dubai's architectural, cultural and maritime heritage is showcased. Potters and weavers practice their handicrafts at the stalls set up in the Heritage Village.Local music and dance are performed from October to April and visitors can get advice from practitioners of traditional medicine.The Diving Village exhibits pearl diving displays highlighting Dubai's significance as a pearling nation - before the cultured pearl was introduced.
Bayt Al-Wakeel was the first office building in Dubai, it was built as a shipping office for Gray Mackenzie in 1935. When it was built, Bayt Al-Wakeel had the largest living space at the time, which was occupied by the manager of the office and his family. The building has been restored and now houses a maritime museum dedicated to the fishing and sailing traditions of the Emirate. It is also home to a restaurant, Turathi, which specializes in seafood, Arabic and Emarati dishes.Located at the edge of Dubai Creek, near the abra landing, the Bayt Al-Wakeel is an example of early 20th C architecture in Dubai. Bayt Al-Wakeel was the first location for Dubai imports and exports as ships carrying cargo and passengers docked at this port of call.
The Grand Mosque in Bur Dubai boasts Dubai's tallest minaret. The minaret is the tower from which the call to prayer is broadcast. The current Grand Mosque was built in the style of the original Grand Mosque, dating from the 1900.Considered one of the largest mosques in the United Arab Emirates, the Grand Mosque is at the heart of Dubai's religious and cultural life. Visitors can take photos but cannot enter the mosque.The current Grand Mosque consists of 45 small domes and 9 large with stained glass panels, sand-colored walls and wooden shutters. The mosque is a superb example of a building from yesteryear, making it a notable landmark and important place of worship.The original Grand Mosque served as a Kuttab (an Islamic elementary school) where boys learned to recite the Quran from memory.
The Textile Souq in Bur Dubai is a textile bazaar with abundant stalls displaying all manners of fabrics in a rainbow of colors. The large wooden gateway leads shoppers in to the Textile Souq, which has been renovated. The shop windows are full of raw silks and cotton to entice the shopper inside. On-site tailors can copy from an original item or from a pattern.Visitors can shop around for the best price on textile, colors, textures and weaves from around the world. The best time to visit is in the evening.
Narish Khyma Museum
Narish Khyma Museum houses a collection of local boats, some can still be seen in use today on Dubai Creek. The traditional 'abra' boats are one of the highlights - they are wooden boats with a canvas roof and can hold up to 20 passengers.