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Art & Culture Dubai

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

Take a step back in time with a visit to the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. Once an important administrative and commercial district, the neighbourhood now offers a glimpse into the Dubai of the late 19th and early 20th century. Discover traditional architecture as you navigate the winding alleys and sunlit squares. The area is bustling with museums, exhibitions and cultural activities, and it’s always worth checking if there are any special events taking place during your visit – Al Fahidi hosts numerous cultural events throughout the year, such as the Sikka Art Fair and Heritage Week. You’ll find plenty of traditional teahouses and cafes where you can sit back and soak up the old-school ambience.

Grand Mosque

A short walk from the Textile Souk is the Grand Mosque Dubai in Bur Dubai. Built in the traditional Islamic style, this stunning mosque forms the hub of Dubai’s religious life. Laced with blue mosaic and intricate geometric carvings, it’s an architectural masterpiece – and, after dark, the spectacular illuminations make it the most photographed mosque in Dubai. Nearby is the Imam Ali Mosque, commonly known as the Iranian Mosque. Founded by the local Iranian community, this mosque is a real architectural delight, ornately designed in the traditional Fatimid and Persian style.

 

The UAE is also home to large Hindu community and it’s well worth visiting their temple, nestled above the labyrinth of old shops nearby the Grand Mosque. Built in the 1950s, this is the only Hindu temple in the emirate, and provides peaceful, serene environment for visitors and worshippers alike.

Al Shindagha Museum

Sat on the shore of the Creek, Al Shindagha is a historical neighbourhood where the ruling family set up home in the early 20th century. The Al Shindagha Museum celebrates Dubai’s remarkable history and wider heritage of Emirati culture. The museum hosts the ‘Story of the Creek’ – a stunning multimedia experience that charts how modern Dubai took shape on the banks of the Creek. It’s also home to the aromatic Perfume House, where you can learn about traditional Emirati scented oils and perfumes, and their role in religious and cultural life.

Dubai Creek

Abras are small motorised water taxis that ferry passengers between Bur Dubai and Deira. These traditional boats are very cheap (only AED1 each way!) and offer the perfect way to experience the historic Dubai Creek. Once you arrive in Deira, head to the famous Spice Souk and immerse yourself in a rich landscape of colours and aromas from the furthest corners of the globe.

Karama

Once used to house military personnel, Karama is now a relatively gentrified neighbourhood – as well as one of the most populous districts in Dubai. Its many restaurants offer a rich range of ethnic cuisines from the Indian subcontinent, such as Gujarati, Rajasthani and Keralan. There are also some architectural features worth looking out for, like the distinctively uniform low-rise residential buildings that characterise much of the area.