The Bur Dubai district in Dubai is the historical heart of the principality. It is located in the eastern part of the city on the shore of Dubai Kirk Bay. This is one of the oldest districts, as well as Deira, located on the opposite shore. The place is considered the origin of modern Dubai and all the Arab Emirates. It was from here that the grandiose transformations began, which marked the beginning of the transformation of the archaic primitive locations of the Arab world in the middle of the last century into an ultra-modern urban landscape in the high-tech style, which became the hallmark of the principality.
About the area
Bur Dubai is unique by the organic fusion of tradition and modernity. It embodies not only history and cultural values, but also the evolutionary transformations that have taken place in the UAE over the past few decades. Here is the oldest structure of Fort Al Fahidi, built from local building materials, which now houses a historical museum. By visiting it, residents of the city and its guests can learn a lot about how the state was created, plunge into the world of cultural and traditional values. But even after leaving the museum, the feeling does not leave that the exposition continues: every street and every house literally breathe the history and patriarchy of an original Muslim society.
At the same time, the architects managed to combine Arab archaism, historical heritage with modernity and progress. The unique architectural flavor is formed due to the harmonious combination of traditional low-rise dwellings with old apartments and modern high-rise buildings, townhouses and villas. Next to the oldest mosque Grand Mosque with slender carved minarets, the iconic avant–garde architectural structure Dubai Frame is located – a frame building, from the upper floors of which a charming panorama of the city opens. Traditional markets are adjacent to the Wafi Mall shopping center.
In these combined transformations lies the main value and uniqueness of the location. It is a must-visit for everyone who is interested in the origins and traditions of modern Dubai and the Emirates in general.
- The name of the location means “the main land of Dubai”. The community got this name due to its geographical location. Initially, long before the beginning of the oil age, this place was actually the center of civilization. Bazaars, trading shops, houses of rich citizens and the home of the ruler of the emirate were located here. There were fishermen’s villages where Jumeirah is now located, and there was a desert at all on the site of Downtown.
- Bur Dubai houses the main Grand Mosque and the historic Fort Al Fahidi building. Until the early 70s of the last century, sheikhs who ruled the emirate lived in it.
- Currently, Bur Dubai is both the historical and administrative center of the emirate. The administration of the principality, the main state institutions, embassies of some countries are located here.
- From the point of view of transport convenience, this community is the most unfavorable. The old layout with narrow streets is the cause of traffic jams during rush hours. There are very few parking lots, and it is impossible to build new ones: ancient architecture prevents this.
Hotels and other accommodation options
The community has 60 hotels of various stars, which is not so much in comparison with other locations. Ten of them have 5 stars. The most expensive and popular are:
- Grand Hyatt Dubai. It has almost 700 rooms, several swimming pools and restaurants.
- Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Al Jaddaf Culture Village offers 326 rooms, a fitness center and an outdoor pool. Located next to the metro station.
- Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel, located near the main attractions: The main mosque and the Historical Museum. And from the top floor, where the restaurant is located, a charming panoramic view of the city opens.
- Palazzo Versace Dubai is an ultra–luxury hotel, made in the shape of an Egyptian pyramid, facing the embankment. The interior is decorated in Italian, Greek and Arabic styles. It offers landscaped gardens, outdoor pools and 8 restaurants.
- Raffles Dubai features spacious rooms and a variety of services for a luxurious stay.
The cost of a night in any of these hotels is from 250 to 350 dollars. But in most others the prices are much lower: 60-80 dollars, but you can find it for 40-50. At the same time, the level of comfort and service remain high.
Apart-hotels account for 30% of the total number of rooms in the district. That’s more than anywhere else. Here you can find accommodation from an inexpensive studio apartment to an elite townhouse or a villa with several bedrooms.
If you need to rent a house for a long time, then there are also enough options here. Annual rent of a one-room apartment will cost 35 thousand AED, 2–room – 47 thousand AED. You can rent multi-room luxury apartments for an average of 100 thousand dirhams, villas cost an average of 190 thousand dirhams.
Thanks to the combination of tradition and modernity, shopping in Bur Dubai is a separate journey. The fact is that traditional oriental bazaars, indescribable in color and assortment variety, are located here. A hike to each of them will take at least a day:
- The most interesting is the Textile Souk, which consists of hundreds of meters of labyrinths built of counters on which silk and cotton fabrics, rolls of wool and velvet of manual and machine production, as well as clothing from traditional Arabic to modern urban are laid out. Most of the products presented here cannot be found elsewhere. Prices are democratic, but a prerequisite is bargaining. It is he who distinguishes any oriental bazaar and creates a specific aura of communication. Sometimes even the initially low price can be knocked down by one and a half to two times.
- At Meena Bazaar, the assortment is less specialized. Here you can buy clothes, appliances, souvenirs.
- Al Fahidi Souk is a world of fragrant spices, crafts and souvenirs from local craftsmen.
More traditional shopping options are opened by large shopping centers – Wafi Mall and Burjuman Mall. It is the center of hundreds of branded boutiques, expensive restaurants and many other entertainment for children and adults.
Sights and interesting places
Built in 1787 as the residence of local rulers. He performed this function until 1971. Now the fortress building houses a historical museum. Its exposition includes local household items, boats, antique weapons, jewelry. The tour clearly reveals the interesting history of the region, dating back more than three centuries.
It was built in 1900 and is located behind the Al-Fahidi Fort. The height of the building is 72 meters, it is the highest mosque in the principality. The interior can accommodate 1,200 visitors at a time, but only Muslims. It is forbidden for representatives of other faiths to enter inside, so tourists can admire the religious building only from the outside. During the last century, the building was rebuilt twice (the last time in 1998) and equipped with equipment that meets the requirements of the time and the technical capabilities of the state.
Zabeel Park and Dubai Frame
The area of the Zabeel Park is 47.5 hectares. In the shade of thousands of trees, there are several places for recreation and sports: a 4 km long running track, a barbecue area, a playground for skateboarders. But the main attraction of this green zone is the frame building, which is a picture frame 150 meters high, painted in the color of gold. There is an observation deck at the top, from where you can admire the panorama of the city and the bay.
The park has two mini-parks with thematic exhibitions. In the first, tourists can wander among hundreds of dinosaur sculptures, and in the second, one and a half hundred glowing and ice sculptures have been placed.
This is a giant entertainment center, which hosts not only shows with the inhabitants of the sea. There is also a program featuring exotic birds and a huge mirror maze, an interactive cinema.
The Dolphinarium Arena is designed for 1,280 visitors, but all seats are occupied only on Saturday and Sunday. Shows with dolphins and fur seals take place three times a day, the rest of the time marine animals live in a separate huge aquatic enclosure.
Prices for visiting the dolphinarium are low, admission is free for kids up to two years old. Those who wish can swim with dolphins in the pool.
This is one of the oldest districts of the city with buildings of the sample of the XIX century. Most of the buildings were built from local building materials – coral stone – in the classic Middle Eastern style. A distinctive architectural feature of many buildings are wind towers – natural air conditioners designed to cool the air inside with the help of air movement, which is skillfully guided by internal engineering structures.
In the century before last, only the richest citizens lived here, as well as Persian merchants. When work began in Dubai on the construction of high-rises and the transformation of the city into a metropolis, many historical buildings were severely damaged. However, the government paid attention to this in time and engaged in restoration work. So narrow streets with sandy buildings turned into a real open-air museum.
Ski Dubai Ski Complex
This is the only such structure in the Middle East. It is located in the Emirates Mall. Lovers of snow and skiing all year round can pamper themselves with these entertainments, despite the fact that outside the complex the air temperature reaches +40 ° C. On a huge area there are several descents of varying complexity for adults and children, a separate track has been built for snowboarders, children can just go sledding. A walk through an ice cave makes an indelible impression.
Dubai Marina Mall
This is a chic shopping mall located in the city community of the same name. It works around the clock 7 days a week. On the floors there are one and a half hundred boutiques, including shops of famous world brands. A distinctive feature of the mall is its relative sparseness and regularity. Tourists and vacationers do not crowd here, so there is an opportunity to spend time in a relaxed atmosphere or wander around the shops, slowly choosing clothes, jewelry, souvenirs.
This is a two–kilometer walking area along the coastline, where hundreds of snow-white yachts and boats are located on the water, and dozens of cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs are located on the shore. At the rental station, you can rent a yacht and ride along the canal or even go out into the bay. There are also stations located here, from which excursion Arab boats regularly depart. In the evening, in the rays of the setting sun and after sunset, the atmosphere becomes especially charming and romantic. This is a favorite vacation spot for young people.
Falconry is a popular entertainment in the UAE. Its history goes back more than 300 years. You can learn the history, get acquainted with the principles of training birds, the peculiarities of their maintenance at the Falconry Center located in Al-Markab. There is also a bird market where you can buy a hunting falcon. The center often hosts a show with the participation of birds.
This location is inhabited mainly by immigrants from India and Pakistan. It is located in the city center and is completely pedestrian zone. For tourists, the main interest is the fabric market, where you can also buy ready-made clothes at reasonable prices or order tailoring in the workshop.
Advantages of Bur Dubai
- All hotels are located within a 10-minute walk from metro stations, of which there are 9 in the area.
- The proximity of the airport. You can get to it in 20 minutes by metro.
- A motley national composition, which softens the communication process. There are many immigrants from South and Southeast Asian countries, but the number of Europeans is several times more than in any other community of the city.
- Lack of beaches. To sunbathe and swim in the sea, you need to go to other locations. The channel is not adapted for a beach holiday. Some hotels provide a shuttle service to the beach. It is very convenient and profitable.
- The Bur Dubai area in Dubai is characterized by round-the-clock noise. There is no silence even on the narrow historical streets. You can relax in relative silence only in park areas.