More than just a square

BANIYAS SQUARE or, as it was once called, Nasr Square, was a Deira landmark in the eighties and gradually transformed from a rather sparse and low level building block surrounding a half hearted garden in the middle.

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Published: Tue 22 Nov 2011, 12:30 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:50 AM

Today, it is a bustling 21st century plaza, the stringy constructions having given over to high rises housing commercial ventures and the garden now a tourist’s delight with beautifully sculpted landscape, fountains and swathes of green lawn.

The traffic still swirls around the square and is testimony to the pace of business in this financial district. To many, it is still the heart of the old city and hotels and restaurants offering eclectic menus thrive. For the budget tourist it is still one of the best places to stay. On a pleasant day it is a nice little walk to the waterfront and some of the old shops do still have the façade of the past and spark a little nostalgia.

If we jog down that road it is, indeed, quaint to witness the red plush seats in the open air cinema in the sixties, scarcely any cars and clearly an area set for a boom but not quite there. Half a century later, the contrast is dramatic. But those who have lived in that area will agree that the modern era just crept up on them and they never really noticed things were changing at such a pace until one day they woke up and saw a whole new place as ultra-modern as any famous financial hub in the world. It would not be wrong to say Downtown Deira is where the action is, in more ways than one.

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