top of page
Deira & Bur Dubai

One of Dubai’s oldest neighbourhoods, a commercial district flanked by Dubai’s busy saline creek and an area where traditions remain unchanged from the significant changes that took place in the city from the ‘oil boom.’ What was once a sleepy fishing village, formed when members of the Bani Yas tribe (led by the Maktoum family) settled at the mouth of the creek in 1883, at that time the main industries were fishing and pearling. Over time the fishing village expanded and by the early twentieth century, the creek was home to a busy port, where ships would come from as far as Africa and India to trade. It is this melting pot of cultures, traditions and global influences that show just how multifaceted a city Dubai is.

Dubai Creek

Historically, the creek divided the city into two main sections – Deira and Bur Dubai. In the early 20th century, the creek, though incapable then of supporting large scale transportation, served as a minor port for dhows coming from as far away as India or East Africa. Although it impeded the entry of ships due to current flow, the creek remained an important element in establishing the commercial position of Dubai, being the only port or harbour in the city. Dubai's pearling industry, which formed the main sector of the city's economy, was based primarily on expeditions in the creek, prior to the invention of cultured pearls in the 1930s. 


The creek's initial inlet into mainland Dubai is along the Deira Corniche and Al Ras areas of eastern Dubai and along the Al Shindagha area of western Dubai. It then progresses south-eastward through the mainland, passing through Port Saeed and Dubai Creek Park. The creek's natural ending is at the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from its origin at the Persian Gulf. The traditional form of transport between the eastern and western sections of Dubai via the creek was through abras (water boat), which continue to operate in Dubai for transportation and touristic purposes.

Al Bastakiya Quarter

The oldest standing residential area of Dubai. First established at the end of the 19th century by rich textile and pearl merchants from Bastak, Iran, today the Bastik Quarter or Fahidi neighbourhood is a maze of old-world wonders. While taking a walk through the tight, winding alleyways, you will see ochre-coloured buildings made of coral, mud, gypsum and palm wood. When you look up, notice that the houses are adorned with towers. Wind towers are the traditional air conditioner of the Middle East; an old Persian invention that funnels cool air through a building. Most of the wooden doors that you will stumble on will lead to hotels, cafes and galleries, so go ahead, explore the old town.

Burj Al Arab.jpg
The Souks

Travel back in time to the heart of old Dubai where the bustling souks will treat your senses to rich sounds, sights and scents. Follow your nose to the Perfume Souk – home to Arabian scents such as oud - or indulge your desire for sought-after jewels and precious metals at the Gold Souk. Across Dubai Creek, wander through the Textile Souk in Bur Dubai to dig through swathes of brightly coloured silks and embroidered fabrics. Dubai also offers a modern take on the Arabian market. Souk Madinat Jumeirah in Madinat Jumeirah and Souk Al Bahar overlooking the Dubai Fountain both make great souvenir stops. There’s plenty of traditional shopping to be found at the famous Gold, Spice and Textile souks, which are worth a visit for their location in fascinating old Dubai.

The Frame

Dubai Frame is the most recent landmark added value to Dubai traditional and luxurious heritage. The project comprises a 150-metre-high, 93-metre-wide structure built to resemble a huge picture frame, through which landmarks representing modern Dubai such as Emirates Towers and Burj Khalifa can be seen on one side, while from the other side, visitors can view older parts of the city such as Deira, Umm Harare and Karama. Exterior design of Dubai Frame was inspired from the logo of Expo 2020. The past, present and the future of Dubai: witness three dimensions in one destination! Dubai Frame: past, present and future, three dimensions in one destination.

bottom of page