Originally a small fishing settlement, Dubai was taken over in about 1830 by a branch of the Bani Yas tribe from the Liwa oasis led by the Maktoum family who still rule the emirate today.

The second largest of the seven emirates which make up the Untied Arab Emirates

Traditional activities included herding sheep and goats, cultivating dates, fishing and pearling, but the inhabitants built up trade too. By the turn of the century, Dubai was reputed to have the largest souks on the Gulf coast, with 350 shops in the Deira district alone.

Commercial success allied to the liberal attitudes of Dubai's rulers, made the emirate attractive to traders from India and Iran, who began to settle in the growing town. But, while trade developed, Dubai remained politically a protectorate of Britain as part of the Trucial States extending along the northern coast of the Arabian peninsula.

On the British withdrawal in 1971, Dubai came together with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and (in 1972) Ras Al Khaimah to create the federation of the United Arab Emirates

This was shortly after the discovery of oil in 1966, which was soon to transform the emirate and its way of life. Dubai's first oil exports in 1969 were followed by a period of rapid development that laid the foundations for today's modern society.

Dubai is divided into two parts by Dubai Creek and is the historic focal point of life in Dubai.

The UAE has a sub-tropical, arid climate. Rainfall is infrequent and irregular. Falling mainly in winter, it amounts to some 13 centimetres a year.

Temperatures range from a low of about 10 degrees Celsius to a high of 48 degrees Celsius. The mean daily maximum is 24 degrees in January rising to 41 degrees in July.

The official language is Arabic. English is widely understood and ranks alongside Arabic as the language of commerce.

Clothing and Jewelry

The Arab national dress worn in Dubai is well adapted to the high temperatures of the region.
The white ankle-length, loose-fitting garment worn by men is known as the Kandoura or Dishdasha, while the women’s black long-sleeved full-length robe is also called an abayah. Headcoverings, are used by both sexes for protection from sand and the midday sun. Like women everywhere, the women of Dubai too have a fondness for jewelry and have customarily adorned themselves with gold and silver necklacee, forehead decorations, earrings, bracelets, anklets and rings for fingers, noses and even toes. Henna- a reddish dye obtained from powdered leaves-is widely used to stain the palms and soles of the feet for weddings and other special occasions.

The local currency is the UAE Dirham and mmajior credits are accepted accepted.

Heritage Sites
Dotted around Dubai are a number of historic buildings and sites that offer a glimpse of a bygone era. The following are some of the most prominent. Heritage Sites: Al Ahmadiya School Established in 1912, Al Ahmadiya School was the first regular school in Dubai, located in the Al-Ras Area of Deira. The two-storey building was renovated in 1995 for use as a museum of education.
Visiting Hours:
Saturday to Thursday: 08:00-07:30 daily
Friday: 02:30pm-07:30pm

Heritage Sites: Bait Al Wakeel
Built in 1934 by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Bait al Wakeel was the first office Building in Dubai.
At the edge of the Creek near the abra landing, the building’s restoration was Complete in 1995.

Heritage Sites: Bin Muzaina House
Located adjacent to the Al Ahmadiya School, the house has a large countryyard with a rectangular windtower.
The oldest part of the house dates back to the 1890’s.
Visiting Hours:
Saturday to Thursday: 08:30-13:30 and 15:30-20:00
Friday: 01:30pm-08:00pm

Heritage Sites: Burj Nahar
One of the many watchtowers that once guarded the old city, built in 1870, the restored Burj Nahar in Its picturesque gardens in Deira is popular with photographers.

Heritage Sites: Heritage House
The oldest part of the house dates back to the 1890’s with many newer parts added in later years. It is a large courtyard house with more than 10 rooms and a rectangular windtower.
Visiting Hours
Saturday to Wednesday: 07:30-14:30
Ramadan: Saturday- Thursday: 09:00-17:00
Friday: 14:00-17:00
Telephone: 04-2260286

Heritage Sites: Heritage Village & Diving Village
A tradition heritage village, located near the mouth of Dubai Creek in the Sindagha district, features Potters and weavers practicing traditional crafts, as well as exhibits and demonstrations of pearl diving.
It is a place where the visitor can take a step back in time and experience some of Dubai’s Culture and heritage.
Visiting Hours
Saturday to Thursday: 08:00-22:00
Friday: 08:00-11:00 and 16:00-22:00
Ramadan: Saturday- Thursday: 21:00-24:00
Telephone: 3937151

Heritage Sites: Majlis Ghorfat Um-Al Sheif
Built around 1955 as a summer retreat for the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the majlis is Located in the Jumeirah area near the sea and features a traditional palm tree garden with a “falaj” irrigation system.
Visiting Hours
Saturday to Thursday : 08:30-13:30and 15:30-20:30
Friday: 13:30-20:30
Ramadan: Saturday- Thursday: 09:00-24:00

Heritage Sites: Dubai Museum
Al Fahidi Fort, which houses the Dubai Museum, was built around 1799, and once guarded the landward approaches to the town.
Renovated in 1993 for use as museum, its colourful life size dioramas vividly depict everyday life in the days before the discovery of oil. Galleries recreate scenes from the Creek, traditional Arab houses, mosques, the souk, date farms and desert and marine life.
One of the more spectacular exhibits portrays pearl diving, including sets of pearl merchants’ weights, scales and shieves. Also on display are artifacts from several excavations in the emirate, recovered from graves that date back to the third millennium B.C.

Occupations of the past
Life in Dubai was harsh in the old days.
Nomadic Bedoiun with their camel herds roamed the desert. Sheep and goat herders scratched a living on the arid mountainsides. And cultivators carefully tended date palms wherever a trace of water could be found.
Along the coast, traditional occupations included dhow building, fishing and pearl diving, the latter a major factor in Dubai’s rise to prominence as a trading center.

Old Souks
The two main souks of Bur Dubai and Deira are being restored to highlight the historical commercial roots of the city.
Both markets are covered with traditional roofing materials, with shops featuring old- style wooden doors.

Traditional Culture and Lifestyle
Dubai’s culture is rooted in Islam, providing a strength and inspiration that touches all aspects of every-day life.
Virtually every neighborhood has its own mosque, where the faithful congregate for prayer five times everyday.
One of the largest and most beautiful- Jumeirah Mosque-is a spectacular example of modern Islamic architecture. Built of stone in medieval Fatimid style, the mosque is particularly attractive at night when subtle lighting throws its artistry into sharp relief.

Ramadan, which commemorates the revelation of the Holy Koran, is the Holy Month of fasting when Muslims abstain from all food and drink from dawn to dusk.

Courtesy and hospitality, are among the most highly prized of virtues in the Arab world, and visitors will be charmed by the warmth and friendliness of the people.

Arabian Experiences

  • Desert Safaris, dune driving and wadi-bashing.
  • Moonlight Arabian barbecues in thr street complete with traditional entertainment.
  • Camel Racing and falconry.
  • Cruises exotic of traditional wooden dhow or modern cabin cruiser on the Dubai Creek and into the Gulf.
  • The exotic sights and sounds of traditional commerce in the bustling souks and on the Quays of the Creek.
  • Photographic opportunities galore- elegant mosques, sumptuous palaces, brightly dressed children, majestic camels, ancient windtowers, dusty villages and dramatic sunsets

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