Dubai is a beautiful cosmopolitan city that has been exposed to innumerable cultures.
The number of languages spoken is one of the many proofs that show the cosmopolitan nature of the Dubai city. Despite this the city has succeeded in conserving its rich culture and heritage. Among the seven emirates in the UAE, Dubai comes second in terms of its size. Situated in the North-Eastern part of UAE it reaches the old village of Hatta. Having expanded along both banks of the Creek, Dubai's central business district is divided into two parts - Deira on the northern side and Bur Dubai to the south - connected by a tunnel and two bridges. Each has its share of fine mosques and busy souks, public buildings, shopping malls, hotels, office towers, banks, hospitals, schools, apartments and villas.
There are three main excavation sites in Dubai, at Al Ghusais, Al Sufooh and Jumeirah. The first two are graveyards dating back more than 2,000 years. The Jumeirah site reveals artefacts from the seventh to 15th centuries.
The old Bastakiya district with its narrow lanes and tall wind-towers gives a tantalising glimpse of old Dubai. Immediately to the east of Al Fahidi Fort is the largest concentration of traditional courtyard houses with windtowers. In the past, the city was famous for a mass of wind-towers which lined the Creek on either side. These were not merely decorative; they were the only means of cooling houses in the days before mains electricity.
Sheikh Saeed's House
Dating from the late 1800s, Sheikh Saeed's House was built in a commanding position near the sea so the Ruler could observe shipping activity from its balconies.
With its windtowers and layers of rooms built around a central courtyard, it is a fine example of regional architecture. ^ Go to Top ^
The city has many fine mosques. One of the largest and most beautiful "Jumeirah Mosque" is a spectacular example of modern Islamic architecture. Built of stone in medieval Fatimid tradition, the mosque with its twin minarets and majestic dome is a city landmark. It is particularly attractive at night when subtle lighting throws its artistry into relief.
Built around 1870 the Nahar tower was one in line of defences to the east and north of the city. One of three watchtowers guarding the old city, the restored Burj Nahar in its picturesque gardens in Deira is popular with photographers.
The souks on both sides of the Creek are attractive not just for their shopping bargains but also as places for the sightseer and photographer. A huddle of narrow alleyways has survived on the Deira side despite intensive building in recent years. In the tiny lanes of the spice souk, the atmosphere and the scents of the past can be savoured. Bags of spices, incense, rose petals and traditional medicinal products are stacked outside each stall.
Along the slightly larger lanes of the gold souk, each shop window is crammed with gold necklaces, rings, bangles, earrings and brooches. In the evening the area is a hive of activity. In other small streets, the visitor can find shops selling nargilehs (hookah or hubble-bubble pipes) and coffee pots, and nearby tea stalls where both of these items are in daily use.
There are traditional bakeries where large flat loaves of delicious unleavened bread are baked to order inside a domed oven called tandoor. Small textile shops sell veils with decorated edges, pantaloons with embroidered anklets, and dress lengths with similarly embroidered necklines reminiscent of The Arabian Nights. On the Bur Dubai side of the Creek are lanes full of textile shops, where a blaze of colourful raw silks and cottons hang in profusion in shop windows.
The fish souk in Deira is an attraction in itself. Early in the morning and late at night, local fishermen unload mountains of fresh fish which they sell in a frenzied bargaining session. Lots of species are available in abundance for most of the year. ^ Go to Top ^
Al Fahidi Fort, which houses the Dubai Museum, is another imposing building. It once guarded the city's landward approaches. Built around 1799, it has served variously as palace, garrison and prison.
It was renovated in 1970 for use as a museum, further restoration and the addition of galleries was completed in 1995. Colourful and evocative dioramas, complete with life-size figures and sound and lighting effects, vividly depict everyday life in pre-oil days. Galleries rescenes from the Creek, traditional Arab houses, mosques, the souk, date gardens, desert and marine life. One of the most spectacular exhibits portrays the underwater world of pearl-diving, and is accompanied by sets of pearl merchants' weights, scales and sieves.
Also on display are artefacts such as fine copper, alabaster and pottery objects found in 3,000-4,000 year old graves at Al Ghusais. The main fort is a fascinating military museum.Heritage and Diving Villages. A traditional heritage village, located near the mouth of the Creek, has been created where potters and weavers display their crafts. Here the visitor can look back in time and experience some of Dubai's heritage. The Diving Village forms part of an ambitious plan to turn the entire Shindagha area into a cultural microcosm, recreating life in Dubai as it was in days gone by.
Housed in the giant Deira City Centre shopping mall, this children's entertainment centre is a unique indoor site with ten-pin bowling, a crawling bungle-jungle, variety of electronic games and a mini pitch and putt.WonderLand The 18-hectare WonderLand family fun park features a wide range of water attractions. Capable of accommodating up to 8,000 visitors at a time, WonderLand's water rides include speed slides, surf hills, twister, wave runners and a Caribbean cruise.
It also has a water mist show and water cinema, with videos projected on a thin film of water, plus a full complement of on-land attractions.
Situated in the Wafi shopping mall, this is an entertainment centre with a difference, with areas for both children and adults. The popular Crystal Maze is featured along with a horror chamber and fascinating 3-D films. The rollercoaster simulator feels like the real thing and children can enjoy a host of rides including the Komet which shoots around the top of the building. ^ Go to Top ^
Located in Jumeirah, the Dubai Zoo is a popular attraction, especially for families.
The zoo's modern facilities though small, house many indigenous Arabian species, including the Arabian Wolf, which is no longer found in the wild, Gordon's Wildcat and the world's only captive breeding colony of Socotra Cormorants. Featured in its large aviary are regional birds of prey. Nine species of large cats and seven species of primates are on show, along with many Arabian mammals.
Parks and Gardens
Situated around Dubai are numerous public parks and gardens offering a peaceful respite from urban life. Particularly popular with families, they offer attractive picnic spots and children's play areas with a variety of entertainment facilities. The largest of the city's parks are Jumeirah Beach Park, Dubai Creekside Park, Mushrif Park, Al Mamzar Park and Safa Park, while many smaller ones throughout the city provide pleasant green oases.Golf Courses
Even for the non-golfer, Dubai's golf clubs are worth a visit, both for the spectacular architecture of their clubhouses and as examples of the successful greening and landscaping of the desert. A nine-hole 'country' course is also available at the Hatta Fort Hotel where golfers have a unique fun experience of playing in craggy mountain scenery.
Outside the City
From seashore to mountain peaks, Dubai is a land of great natural beauty and variety. The desert, that accounts for much of the emirate's almost 4,000 sq km area, encompasses rocky plains, high dunes and, between these two extremes, countless combinations of sand, stone and sparse vegetation. This seemingly barren expanse supports a surprising diversity of wildlife, both plant and animal, though much of the former is seasonal and the latter nocturnal. Once isolated and forbidding, the desert now offers a fascinating and accessible experience for visitors, with an array of recreational opportunities from safaris by four-wheel-drive vehicle to sand-skiing.
A number of roads now cross the wilderness, joining settlements and oases where, thanks to irrigation, ever-larger areas are turning green under the cultivation of vegetables and fodder crops. Along the flanks of the Hajar Mountains, naturally watered date gardens flourish, their foliage a magnet for birds. In the mountain enclave of Hatta, restoration work has preserved the old falaj or irrigation canals. Nearby, water can be found year round in wadis, steep-sided valleys gouged from the mountains by torrents unleashed by winter rains. The wadis are popular with naturalists and explorers, tranquil in contrast to the clamour of the city.
The starkly beautiful exposed rock formations of the mountainsides provide a fascinating insight into the geological origins of the area and the forces which sculpted the rugged landscape. ^ Go to Top ^
Dubai Shopping Festival
The annual Dubai Shopping Festival extravaganza has rapidly become an internationally-known event, with thousands of bargains, draws, shows, promotions and some of the world's lowest prices.
In addition, the hotels and furnished appartments complexes offer reduce accommodation rates, while Emirates offers great deals on tickets.Wild Wadi:-Wild wadi is far more than just a fairy tale,it stands as one of the best water parks ever designed.An intergral feature of the Jumeriah Beach Resort,located 20 minutes drive from the centre of dubai,this breataking 12-acre fun paradise is yet further proof of the emireates growth as an internation tourist destination and its reputation for offering the best that money can buy.Wild wadi is set to become the regions leading adventure destination,combining thrilling rides,efficient service,superlative safety.
Wonders of Dubai
Burj Al Arab:- The Burj-Al-Arab is a luxury hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At 321 meters (1,053 feet), it is the tallest building used exclusively as a hotel and one of the most distinctive structures for a hotel building in the world. It stands in the sea on an artificial island 280 meters (919 feet) away from the beach in the Persian Gulf, connected to the mainland only by a curving path. The path is extremely curving, with most corners being almost 90 degrees.Construction of the hotel began in 1994, and its doors were opened to guests on December 1, 1999. It was built to resemble the sail of a dhow (a type of Arabian vessel) and intentionally placed in such a way that its shadow does not cover the beach. On top of the hotel is a large helipad, extending from the side of the hotel over the ocean and supported by cantilever.
A remarkable element of its architecture is the outer beachward wall of the atrium, which is made of a woven, Teflon-coated fiberglass cloth.
The Burj-Al-Arab features the tallest atrium lobby in the world (180 meters, or 590 feet), and the volume of the atrium can accommodate the Dubai World Trade Center building, which, at 38 stories, was the tallest building in Dubai from the late 1970s to the late 1990s.
Ski Dubai:- Ski Dubai is the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East and offers an amazing snow setting to enjoy skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing or just playing in the snow. Young or old, there is something for everyone, from the beginner to the snow sport enthusiast. Ski Dubai is a unique mountain-themed attraction that offers you the opportunity to enjoy real snow in Dubai all year round. An amazing 22,500 square metres covered with real snow all year round.Following man-made islands, underwater hotels and rotating restaurants, Ski Dubai is the Emirates' latest extravaganza, bringing an Alpine experience to the middle of Dubai's desert. This monumental indoor snowdome has a capacity of 1500 guests .Like a natural ski resort, Snow Dubai features tons of snow produced by shooting water at high pressure into an atmosphere kept at +1C. Green, blue, red and black runs ensure that skiers and snowboarders of all abilities are catered for and the presence of skilifts and snow patrols help recreate an authentic environment. A Snow Park, a Snickers Freestyle zone and a 90-metre quarter pipe are also provided for snowboarders.
Ski Dubai has 5 runs that vary in difficulty, height and steepness, the longest run being 400 meters with a fall of over 60 meters. Skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels will enjoy these various slopes and snowboarders can also practice their stunts on the 90-metre long quarter pipe. Kids and parents alike will have fun in the huge interactive Snow Park, which is 3000 square meters .You don't have to worry about ski clothing or equipment either. Ski Dubai has thought of it all and offers guests the use of winter clothing, ski and snowboard equipment. Your skis will carry you down the slope, and our quad-chairlift and tow lift will promptly carry you back to the top for another run. ^ Go to Top ^
Al Burj Tower:-- Burj Tower is the largest skyscraper in the world which is currently under construction in Dubai. Burj Tower is the centerpiece of the Gulf regions most prestigious urban development, entitled Downtown Dubai.
Burj is an Arabic word which means 'Tower'. So, Burj Dubai means 'Dubai Tower' or 'Tower of Dubai'. Its exact height hasn't been disclosed but it is suggested that it will be over 700 meters tall. Its design was influenced by the six petal desert flower as well as incorporating patterns found within Islamic architecture.
Burj Dubai is being constructed on Sheikh Zayed Road which will be surrounded by a man-made lake. It will also be surrounded by a combination of residential, commercial, hotel, entertainment and leisure outlets, along with open green spaces, water features, and pedestrian boulevards. Its shape will be integral to its impressive size. The design is intended to reduce the impact of wind and to reduce the need for a stronger core - allowing for more space - as it ascends.
ThePalm Islands:- ThePalm Islands are Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali, and Palm Deira. These islands are built in a shape of a date palm tree and consist of a trunk, a crown with fronds, and are surrounded by a crescent island that acts as a breakwater. The islands will support luxury hotels, freehold residential villas, unique water homes, shoreline apartments, marinas, water theme parks, restaurants, shopping malls, sports facilities, health spas, cinemas and various diving sites.
Hydropolis:- Hydropolis is the world's first luxury underwater hotel. It is under construction.Hydropolis is not a project. It is a passion. It has already been compared to both a jellyfish and a sea turtle. The land on which this project Hydropolis is being built belongs to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai. Around 150 firms are involved in this project. It is one of the largest contemporary construction projects in the world, covering an area of 260 hectares.
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