As you are whisked through the scorched, dusty, mall lined streets of modern Dubai in your air-conditioned taxi you could be forgiven for not realising that Dubai is an old city.
It has been a maritime trading centre for centuries, and there are still a few pockets of the city where this is apparent, one being Dubai Creek. This whole area is fascinating and if you are in Dubai, it’s well worth checking out. It was nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2012, but didn’t shortlist.
Even so, it is where old Dubai meets new. There are a range of Souks including the Old Souk, the Spice Souk and the Gold Souk, which are great to explore. As we walked around this area the call to prayer was wafting over us from a nearby minaret and in small squares men were turning to Mecca and praying. Women in dressed in burka’s were going about their day amidst the hustle and bustle. It felt like the Middle East and was fascinating.
As we left the Spice Souk, we were amazed to find the wharf of the Dubai Creek crammed with old wooden cargo boats called Dhow. It was dark and they were being piled high with every conceivable product including car tyres, air conditioners, random parts etc. Turns out these traditional wooden boats still ply their trade between Dubai Creek and Iran, Oman, India and Africa. As Sanctions from the West still cripple Iran these boats keep the flow of goods alive. My Middle Eastern geography needs improving, as I hadn’t realised that Iran was only 50NM across the water from Dubai… a very short trip!
Our brief visit to Dubai has left me thinking there is a lot more to this City than the malls, resorts and Burj Khalifa the average visitor sees.