Monday, August 08, 2005

Places of Interest

The city of Dubai embraces its namesake creek, dividing it into two halves. The main sightseeing circuit in Dubai is split between Bur Dubai and Deira which lie on opposite sides of the water, and the gently curving Dubai Creek is an attraction in itself. You will have plenty of opportunities for some brilliant views of the city from the water: gleaming skyscrapers on one side, and old trading dhows on the other.

Deira's many attractions include the historic quarter of Bastakia, as well as old souks and covered marketplaces. Wandering along the alleys, you can explore the Spice Souk and the Gold Souk. The Dubai Museum is housed within the beautifully restored Al Fahidi Fort, and is a must-see for first time visitors to Dubai. Built in 1799 to defend the city against invasion, it has served as both palace and prison and the museum's collection includes life-size figures and galleries depicting Arab houses, mosques, date gardens, desert and marine life.

On the Bur Dubai side, Heritage Village, located in the Shindagah area, is a family destination where you can watch potters, weavers and artisans at their crafts. The adjoining Diving Village offers a cultural microcosm of pearl diving and fishing. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House, a museum restored from the house of Dubai's former ruler and dating back to the late 1800s, is within the same complex. With its unusual layered rooms and authentic wind towers, Sheikh Saeed's House showcases regional architecture at its best.

If you drive west from the city centre, you will reach the popular suburb of Jumeirah, home to some of Dubai's finest luxury hotels and resorts, unspoilt stretches of sunny beaches and water sports complexes. In Jumeirah is the Grand Mosque, re-built in 1998, with the city's tallest minaret, nine large domes and 45 small domes - a distinguished landmark and an important place of worship.

About 115 kms south east of Dubai, in the heart of the rocky Hatta Mountains, is the 3000 year old Hatta Village, an important historical site for the region. The two towers overlooking the village used to be defence fortresses against hostile invaders, and during a relaxed day at the Village, you can visit the Houses of Traditional Handicrafts and Palm Products, The Castle Centre, and the 200 year old Sharia Mosque.


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