Deira Dubai: A glimpse into 19th century


Deira Dubai: A glimpse into 19th century
The creek divides Dubai into two areas with Deira on the north and Bur Dubai on the south.

Dubai - The area near the Dubai Creek is a place to enjoy the old Dubai, with hints of the new.

By Saman Haziq

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Published: Thu 20 Jun 2019, 9:17 PM

Last updated: Sat 22 Jun 2019, 9:06 AM

If you feel like finding out what Dubai was like before it became a bustling metropolis, visiting the Deira creek can take you back in time.
It hasn't changed much except that there are now iconic buildings here and there. Along the Deira side of the Dubai Creek are the Twin Towers, the old Dubai Creek Tower, Sheraton, National Bank of Dubai and Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. And on the other side of Al Maktoum Bridge, you'll find the Dubai Creek Park, one of the largest parks in the emirate.
The Dubai Creek divides the city into two areas: Deira in the north, which houses several traditional souqs and the Bur Dubai side, which has become a full-blown residential area with live markets and small shops lining the streets.
The 14km creek - a saltwater river that served as the 'lifeline' for the 19th-century settlements in the area - has helped catapult Dubai into a commercial force. It provided the ports that served people well and it became the source of marine bounties, including pearls. Not only was it known for fishing and pearl diving, but it was also the meeting point of traders and merchants.
However, it is more than just a trading hub. Its sunset view is enough reason for one to keep coming back and, through the years, the golden hour on this side of the city hasn't changed. It remains as glorious as ever, residents and frequent visitors have said.
It is a place for one to enjoy the old Dubai, but with hints of the new. There are local dhows and abras, but there are also yachts. There are hip restaurants, but one can't also miss the vibrant spice and gold souqs.
Souqs have retained their distinctive characteristics; bargains and negotiations in these markets are still quite common to this day.
The Dubai Gold Souq, for one, remains famous for the quality and prices of the jewellery its shops offer. The Spice Souq never runs out of affordable deals on expensive spices, such as saffron, dried rosebuds, cinnamon bark, vanilla pods, cardamom, coriander, cumin and cloves, you name it.
When it comes to transportation, the age-old abras continue to ferry passengers between the eastern and the western sections of the Dubai Creek.
Try riding an abra and you'd learn more about how cargo boats are loaded - and unloaded - with all sorts of things. Some of these traditional wooden ships can be seen laden to the gunnels, with TVs and computers.
Across the road is the emirate's busiest souqs, Al Sabkha. Located between the Naif and Al Rigga areas of Deira, Al Sabkha Souq is abuzz with visitors who are on a hunt for textiles and electronics. Here, you'll find everything from iPods to video game consoles, audio systems and photography equipment - all at affordable prices.
To cap the day, hop on the world's largest dhow for a two-hour dinner cruise on the Dubai Creek. Take a moment to relish the view on board, and enjoy live entertainment, traditional dances and a five-star dinner spread.

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