Tourism & attraction
The Al Fahidi fort located in Bur Dubai behind Al Fahidi St, houses Dubai Museum. The old fort building contains regular exhibits of weapons, traditional costumes and musical instruments and the courtyard has good examples of ‘arish huts and wooden boats. The new underground section of the museum houses wonderfully lifelike exhibits of an ancient souq, a quran school, typical Arabic households and an oasis. There is also a display on the desert by night with interesting local wildlife. A separate room is dedicated to lively modern exhibits of pearl diving and fishing. Archaeological finds are displayed near the shop.
Jumeirah Archaeological Site
This affluent suburb to the south of Dubai city is the location of an important archaeological site dating to the early Islamic period. Large houses built of beach rock (farush) covered with lime plaster have been excavated at Jumeirah by a team from the Dubai Museum. Based on a study of the pottery found at the site, Jumeirah seems to date to the first two or three centuries of the Islamic era. Thus, it is in part contemporary with the sequence at Kush in northern Ra’s al-Khaimah, and with Jazirat al-Hulaylah. Jumeirah is, however, the only complete settlement with well-preserved architecture yet excavated from this important period. A selection of the finds from Jumeirah can be seen in Dubai Museum.
Heritage and Diving Village
Located next to Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoums’s House in Al Shindagha, the village features reconstructions of Dubai’s maritime past. Displays include a tented bedouin village with traditional weapons, chests and household utensils. Shops sell handicrafts and camel and donkey rides are sometimes available. Folk dance and music performances are staged from time to time. The village boasts a number of cafeterias and a seafood restaurant.
From the world’s biggest shopping mall to the intimacy of the souk, from dazzling jewelries, gold and designer fashions to a simple bag of spices, from Arabian art and crafts to a Western-style tailored suit, Dubai’s array of shopping opportunities is unparalleled in the Middle East.
Dubai showcases leading brands from around the world, with an increasing choice of fashion and jewelries imported from Europe and elsewhere to complement locally produced luxury goods. Expect to find a vast choice of beautiful carpets from across Asia; high-carat gold and exquisite precious stones, fine porcelain, fragrant perfumes and electrical goods, all at great prices: shoppers in Dubai benefit from the city`s tax-free shopping policies and low import duties, meaning much merchandise is available for less than in its country of origin.
Dubai’s rapid development as a luxury travel destination is due in large part to its classy shopping. The Dubai Mall, part of the Burj Dubai development, is set to become the world’s biggest shopping mall when completed in 2008; the Emirates Mall will boast the world`s largest indoor ski slope under its roof, and the spectacular Dubailand complex is adding another dimension to Dubai’s shopping and entertainment options.
This jewel of the Middle East offers some of the world’s most palatial shopping malls, notably on the Bur Dubai side of the Creek. A few of the premier malls for luxury goods and designer labels are the pyramidal Wafi Mall, The Village on Jumeirah Beach Road and the Twin Towers on Beniyas Road. The residence of high-fashion BurJuman brings the world before your eyes. Here`s where the world`s leading brands mingle comfortably with one another. Temptations abound, but the feeling of getting the finest in an ambience of absolute comfort and luxury is wonderful. With 300 leading stores including Saks 5th Avenue, you`ll always be spoilt for choice. Located in the heart of Dubai, the BurJuman Centre is a distinctive landmark which comprises of 800,000 square feet of retail space.
The Deira district is a shoppers’ delight: Deira City Centre features 280 stores, a definitive ‘shop till you drop’ experience, whilst the Al Bustan and Abu Hail Shopping Centres, the Galleria and Hamarain Centre sell leading brands of fashion, watches, jewellery, sports goods and more under one roof.
Dubai`s oldest shopping centre, Al Ghurair Retail City, offers over 100 stores selling exotic perfumes, elegant clothes and electrical items as well as refreshment centres. Another eminent shopping area is the Jumeirah district, featuring an assortment of fashionable malls including Magrudy’s Shopping Mall, the Beach Centre, Markaz Al Jumeirah, the Town Centre and Jumaira Plaza, whilst Lamcy Plaza offers plenty of fun for the family.
Just outside Dubai is the UAE’s second largest shopping centre, the Ibn Battuta Mall, where five themed shopping ‘zones’ take their design inspiration from China, India, Persia, Morocco and Eygpt.
Dubai is also famous the world over for its souks. The Gold Souk sells high-carat gold jewelry, gold bars and bullion coins, plus dazzling necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Neighboring the Gold Souk is the Spice Souk, where aromatic spices from all over the Middle East are brought together. For the best perfumes in Dubai, visit the Perfume Souk, the home of thousands of seductive aromas. Dubai is also one of the best places outside Iran to buy Persian carpets.
The Al Fahidi Street sells all manner of electrical goods, Cosmos Lane for rich fabrics from East and West. Just outside the city centre is Karama, the place for bargains. The Al Mulla Plaza is another place to shop if you are looking for something out of the ordinary and a little less expensive than the upscale shopping malls.
Worthy of special mention is the Dubai Shopping Festival, a retail extravaganza attracting millions each year for a month starting mid-January, when even better bargains are to be had on shopping and at hotels.
How everything started
Known as the Pearl of the Arabian Gulf, Dubai is strategically located on a 10 kilometre long creek. It began its remarkable transformation from a fishing settlement when it was taken over in 1830 by the current rulers of Dubai, the Maktoum family. The 19th century and early 20th century saw Dubai build itself as a commercial and business centre with a thriving pearling and trade industry. The discovery of oil in the 1960’s led to a boom and the emirate used its resources to diversify into a wide scope of industries and economic sectors with some bold initiatives such as the offshore Jebel Ali Free Zone.
Today, crude oil plays a minor part in the emirate’s economy and other principal industries include international trade, manufacture, tourism, finance and service related industries. Dubai is hailed as a model of economic development in the Middle East and continues to grow, attracting foreign workers from all over the world. Its population is estimated at just over 1 million with the majority being expatriates and non-UAE nationals. The emirate is continuously developing its infrastructure with large property developments and landmark skyscrapers being the order of the day, including the Palm Islands, a massive project that will expand and transform Dubai’s coastline.
Tourism plays a major role in Dubai’s growth today based on its sunshine, clean and welcoming environment, good shopping and a range of sporting facilities, coupled with an array of high standard resorts and hotels. Dubai hosts the world’s richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup and the European Tour Dubai Classic Golf Tournament. Tourists can enjoy many activities in Dubai such as golf, joining the fun at Wild Wadi, Dubai’s premier water park for adults and kids, a desert safari, taking a dhow cruise or relaxing on the beach. Dubai is also known for its shopping with glitzy shopping malls stocking international brands and designer labels to the traditional souks, including the gold, textile and spice souks. Dubai also has a vibrant nightlife with many of the best bars mostly found in the hotels and resorts.
Dubai’s central district is divided into two parts by its creek; Deira on the north side and Bur Dubai to the south. These are connected by a tunnel and two bridges. Deira is the commercial and business centre of Dubai and home to the souks. Jumeirah Beach lies to the west of the creek and is home to many of Dubai’s premier hotels and resorts.
Dubai Means Business
No corporate income taxes, no foreign exchange controls, competitive labour, energy, and real estate costs; attracted and still attracting overseas companies to set up their business in Dubai.