Dubai, in all its glory and grandeur, boasts of many firsts and world records. But little do the people know that this emirate does not depend on oil as its primary source of wealth like many other Middle Eastern cities. Its rulers have wisely invested in travel and tourism.
From the tallest buildings to the biggest recreation areas, this ambitious City of Gold has triumphantly placed its name in one of the most visited places on the planet. Its local population take up only 20 percent of the total population. This hodgepodge of a society has become home to a multitude of nationalities who make up the manpower behind this artificial but great city in the deserts of the United Arab Emirates.
But apart from the modern and more popular places the city has become popular of, the locals have made sure to preserve the culture that started it all. Let me show you a few of the things one can enjoy experiencing in some of the preserved and developed architectural heritage sites of Dubai.
This is how traditional houses in the region looked like prior to the modernization of this Arab coast. They have towers that promote passive cooling. Some of these structures have become museums that house coins, maps and other artifacts that date up to ancient civilizations.
Fishing was the prevalent industry in the old times. For a fee of AED1 one can board an abra and experience how it was to travel from one coast to another just like the fishermen of Dubai.
A bigger relative of the abra, the dhow was used by the fishermen to carry merchandise for trade. Now, while some of these boats are still used for water transport, a lot of them have been developed for tourism. They’re now used to tour people around the creek, where the civilization in Dubai started. A few of the larger dhows have buffet dinner set ups for a more romantic feel.
A souq is a marketplace in the old Arab world. Dubai is known to have preserved and developed quite a few souqs, each one specializing in the trade of a particular item group such as spices, textile, electronics and even gold.
Sitting on an artificial island is a gold-trimmed, sailboat inspired Burj Al Arab. It’s currently the third tallest hotel in the world—the tallest being JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, also in Dubai. Although reviews have rated it to be the only 7-star hotel in the world, the management has not made any claims that it was officially rated as such. It has a helipad so big that it once hosted a tennis Match between Andre Agassi and Roger Federer.
Strolling through the biggest mall in the world, Dubai Mall, is like walking around 50 football fields, but with a luxurious feel. Apart from being the biggest, it holds the record for most visitors coming to a shopping and leisure destination, so much more than those coming to New York or Los Angeles.
Luxury is a household terminology in Dubai, and it’s home to some of the most luxurious Cars in the world. This stretched hummer is only one of the few limousine services one can rent for a good afternoon stroll into the city.
Contrary to popular belief that there is no life in the desert, and with Dubai being the land of the impossible, it has successfully come up with the largest natural flower garden in the world. The garden is open during the colder months of the year, some time around November to February.
And of course, what is an article about Dubai without showing you the tallest building in the world? Here is Burj Dubai, later renamed Burj Khalifa during its inauguration in January 2010. It was originally planned to be a purely residential building, but it eventually housed the Armani Hotel, several floors of residential apartments, a few corporate levels, and some floors utilized for recreation. The building holds numerous world records up to date.