Dubai is not just skyscrapers, here's where to go to know the pre-oil history of Dubai, the advice is to visit the districts of Bur Dubai and Al Fahidi, read here to know how to reach these alternative neighborhoods.
Always skeptical of the idea of visiting Dubai, the city of skyscrapers and splendor erected in the middle of a desert and without culture, I was pleasantly surprised during my visit.
To understand more of the Arab culture you have to move to the north of the city. Away from Burj Khalifa and Dubai Marina, in the neighborhoods of Bur Dubai e Al Fahidi you will find the most authentic and genuine face of ordinary citizens who move the Dubai of dreams.
The soul of the city will unfold right here. Traditional buildings, small shops and modest people who lead a life no different from ours. It will be enough to walk through its avenues to get back down to earth, and rethink the city of the sheiks from another perspective.
Unmissable in Bur Dubai is the historic district di Al Fahidi, also known as Al Bastakiya, considered the cultural capital of Dubai. The complex dates back to the last years of 1800, but was dismantled in the XNUMXs to adhere to an urban development plan, however the area is then subjected to redevelopment to preserve the city's first cultural core. Walking through its alleys lined with typical stone houses, you can breathe the magic of the desert land, a dip in the past where time is marked by the inclination of the sun's rays and the silence of hot afternoons.
The district's period structures house today small art galleries and boutiques, cafes and clubs that, keeping the soul of the places intact, create an interesting mix of contemporary and vintage art.
Among the various buildings, it is worth visiting the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) where it is possible to touch the traditions and customs of Arab culture through a full cultural program that it offers culinary experiences traditional, guided walks and much more. As well as, the house of Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum, an important politician in the history of Dubai, now used as a museum that tells the story of history of Dubai in the pre-oil era.
Here you can also indulge in shopping at the traditional souq of the neighborhood: the rays filter through the wooden roof, under which the daily life of an Arab market unfolds.
For a taste of the traditional Arabic cuisine, the Arabian Tea House it's the right place. You can taste typical dishes, the classic Arabic tea with dates or snacks on comfortable sofas in the shade of the trees, which recreate the atmosphere of the traditional Emirates. The place is a real gem.
The neighborhood is located along the Dubai Creek, which will give you another superb image, especially if you go in the late afternoon: the seagulls fly low over the water, parading among the dhows, the traditional wooden boats, while in the background sumptuous buildings stand out.
With very few cents you can achieve Deira on the other side.
Getting lost in the alleys of Al Fahidi, I saw the soul and heart of Dubai, which opens up only to a few with great caution. Precisely because they are difficult to penetrate, they hold you there and never leave you.