The picturesque Bastakiya district, one of the oldest heritage sites in the city, gives a tantalizing glimpse of Dubai’s past. The distinctive wind towers of the buildings on the Bur Dubai side of the Creek dominate the skyline of the old city. Restored to their glorious original state, the traditional courtyard houses stand on narrow lanes. Their facades are characterized by wooden windows, decorative gypsum panels and screens.
Delve into Dubai’s history in the museum housed in the imposing 180-year-old Al Fahidi Fort. Pre-oil days are vividly depicted through evocative dioramas with life-size figures, sound and lighting effects. The galleries recreate scenes of everyday life that used to line Creek, putting on display traditional Arab houses, mosques, souks, date gardens, desert and marine life. Be awed by the spectacular exhibit portraying the underwater world of pearl diving. Artifacts such as fine copper, alabaster and pottery objects found in 3000–4000 year old graves at Al Qusais are also on display. Since its 1970 renovation, the main fort is a fascinating military museum.
The Grand Mosque has the city’s tallest minaret at 70 meters after it was re-built in 1998. This distinguished landmark boasts stained glass panels with 45 small domes in addition to nine large ones.
Heritage & Diving Village
Located near the mouth of the Creek, this village focuses on the emirate’s maritime past, pearl diving and architecture. Visitors can experience some of Dubai’s traditional culture and lifestyle. Storybook displays of a tented Bedouin village come alive with potters and weavers displaying their crafts and shops selling handicrafts. Camel and pony rides are also available.
Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House
The former seat of the local government, the official residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, overlooks the mouth of the Creek at Shindagha and is listed as a national monument. Showcasing the history and development of Dubai, the house has exhibitions of rare photographs depicting traditional ways of life.
Camel & Horse Racing
Camel racing is one of the most traditional sports in Dubai. The camel racing track is located in the outskirts of the city at Nad Al Sheba, with two stadiums to accommodate spectators.
Horse racing is a major event in the city and Dubai is home of the world’s annual richest horse race. Endurance racing also takes place in winter.