Bur Dubai (Old Town)
Bur Dubai is the oldest part of Dubai, so if you haven't visit Bur Dubai, you haven't actually been in Dubai! It is the historic city center, located at the Dubai Creek. On the opposite side of the creek is Deira, the old financial center, but much more modern then Bur Dubai. Most of the parts of Dubai that are situated south of Bur Dubai, were built less then 20 years ago. In the mid 1990s Bur Dubai was Dubai, and the rest was desert. Bur Dubai literally means Mainland Dubai. Since 2008, construction has going on on the extension of Dubai Creek, turning Bur Dubai into an island.
Here you can find the Ruler's Court, The Juma Grand Mosque (tallest minaret in Dubai), Al Fahidi Fort that hosts the Dubai Museum (oldest remaining buildign in Dubai), the Iranin Mosque, the only Hindu temple in the country as well as shopping streets and a traditional textile souk. From the creek you can take an large wooden restaurant boat or a small abra (water taxi) to Deira on the other side. Al Bastakiya historic area is situated just to the East of Dubai Museum. The area has been famous for its old buildings with courtyards and wind towers. Click here to go directly to Bastakiya. Shindagha, just to the North of Bur Dubai next to Dubai Creek, is also a historic part of Dubai, here you can find the historic Heritage Village and the historic ruler's house. Click here to visit Al Shindagha.
Bur Dubai is mostly a residential area with not so many hotels, and it feels less touristy then the modern parts of Dubai. A large number of inhabitans are from Indian, and the atmosphere is much more gritty with the souks, old houses, small traditional shops called "trading companies" and old boats, so it feels more then India then the Dubai most westeners got the picture of, but the truth is that this is the real Dubai!
We visited Bur Dubai on a Friday. Friday and Thursday are the weekly holidays, like Sunday in the western hemisphere, so many stores were closed during day, but opened later in the evening, but the souk was open all the time.
BUR DUBAI AROUND AL FAHIDI FORT/DUBAI MUSEUM:
Al Fahidi Fort, built in 1787-99, is Dubai's oldest existing building. It hosts The Dubai Museum, that presents the traditional way of life in the Emirate of Dubai and ancient discoveries.The fort was built of coral rock in Portugese style to protect the city, and was historically the home of the regent.
|Al Fahidi Fort/Dubai Museum||Dubai Museum||Dubai Museum|
|QUARTERS AROUND THE OLD SOUK (BUR DUBAI SOUK):|
|Windmill houses in the Old Souk, the oldest kind of air condition||Historic Old Souk||Old Souk and Juma Grand Mosque|
|Deira and Dubai Creek seen from Bur Dubai.|
|Old meats very old: an old fort and Bank of Barroda, 60's modernism||Strange Trading! With the faces of the two sheikhs!||Old Souk and Juma Grand Mosque|
|Police car of Dubai, green and white||Streetscape of gritty Bur Dubai||Streetscape of gritty Bur Dubai|
|Another Iranian Mosque||Iranian Mosque||Streetscape, minaret of Iranian Mosque|
|Ministry of Finance, a postmodern building||HSBC:s postmodern office building||Central Bank, a modern building in traditional style|
|Post office/residential building, Al Fahidi Street||Streetscape, Al Fahidi Street||Backside of Al Fahidi Fort and modern building|
|Dhow at Dubai Creek||Deira and popular restaurant at Dubai Creek||St George Hotel, Deira|
|From the right: Bur Dubai, Al Bastakiya, Deira and Dubai Creek seen from Shindagha||Small mosque, Bur Dubai||Juma Grand Mosque|
|BUR DUBAI AT SUNSET/EVENING:|
|Ali Bin Abi Street||Ali Bin Abi Street||Neon lights at Ali Bin Abi St|
|lIluminated backside of HSBC Bank, riverside||A dhow in Dubai Creek, with neon lights!||HSBC Bank, front|
|A roundabout outside Bastakiya||The souk area at sunset|
Al Bastakiya is the oldest residential area in Dubai (together with Al Shindagha), the oldest parts were built in the 1690s. It is situated along Dubai Creek and is famous for its narrow lanes and wind towers, that are the first kind of air conditioning. Al Fahidi Fort is also considered to be in the Bastakiya district. Bastakiya was built by rich Persian merchants. After the discovering of oil, the rich families have relocated to other parts of Dubai, however. In the 1970s, half of Bastakiya was destroyed to make way for a new building for the ruler of the emirate of Dubai, while the rest felt into disrepair. In 1989, there were plans to demolish the rest of the area, but Rayner Otter, an architect who lived there and that renovated his house, started a campaign to preserve the area. He wrote to the British prince Charles, and met him later that year in Bastakiya. Shortly after it was decided to preserve the area and in 2005 a restoration of the whole area begun. Today these quarters are really interesting with its smal historical buildings in good shape. There are small museums, all where closed during our visit though, since we visited on a Friday (holiday).
|Al Bastakiya consist of old windmill houses that have been restored. The Bastakiya quarters are located in Bur Dubai, near the Dubai Creek. The tallest structure is the Bastakiya Mosque. Some of Deira's modern buildings are visible behind.|
|Bastakiya windmill houses||Part of the wall, windmill house||Only remaining part of the old wall|
|Close-up of the old wall||Arabic Calligraphy House||The wind towers are up to 15m tall|
|Al Bastakiya skyline||Al Bastakiya Mosque||These wind towers are the oldest form of air conditioning|
|Bastakiyah Nights Restaurant. housed in Bastakiyah's oldest house, built 1890-1940 in 3 phases||The flag and the faces of the sheihks - of course!||Bastakiyah Nights Restaurant|
|AL SEEF ROAD - EAST PART OF BUR DUBAI, ALONG DUBAI CREEK:|
|The Ruler's Court. Half of the historic Bastakiyah quarters were torn down to build this office building for the ruler of Dubai! A very bad decision, the only thing you see is a fence||Outside Ruler's Court||Dubai Creek and Deira|
|Al Fahaidi Water taxi station in Dubai Creek and Deira||Deira abra stations and Dubai Creek||Deira and Dubai Creek|
|Monument resembling the old windmill houses||Monument for environment improvement||Monument|
|Bedouin Lifestyle festival||Bedouin Lifestyle festival||Bedouin Lifestyle festival|
|Park and promenade along Al Seef Road, at Dubai Creek||Al Bastakiya and Ruler's Court||Grand Souk and Juma Grand Mosque|
|Dubai Creek, Bur Dubai and Shindagha||Dubai Creek and Deira||A mosque, a plane and a bird!|
|Al Shandagah Watch Tower||Al Shandagah Watch Tower||Al Shandagah metro station|