Exploring Old Dubai: Heritage Sites and Cultural Hotspots
A journey into Dubai's past starts with the districts of Deira and Bur Dubai. These areas offer a wealth of experiences for those curious about the traditions and culture of the emirate.

Despite the fact that Dubai is usually associated with incredible skyscrapers, luxury lifestyle, and white-sand beaches, Old Dubai allows you to explore the city's heritage and roots.

Here we’ve gathered for you some key activities and places to visit in Old Dubai.
Discovering History in Al Fahidi Quarter
In Dubai's oldest residential neighborhood, Al Fahidi, beautifully preserved ancient buildings, antique shops, authentic cafes, and art galleries. After admiring the gypsum and coral buildings restored to their original glory, complete with iconic windtowers, here's what you can do in Al Fahidi:

  • Al Fahidi Fort — explore the city's oldest building. This fortress, built in 1787, served as the residence of local rulers and was the main defensive structure of the emirate;
  • XVA Gallery — discover works by contemporary Arab artists;
  • Arabic Calligraphy House — learn about the traditional art form of Arabic calligraphy and its significance;
  • Coffee Museum — dive into the history of coffee and enjoy special local blends;
  • Al Oqaili Poet's Museum — get familiar with the life and works of Al Oqaili, one of the most significant classical Arab poets.

Al Fahidi has something for everyone, helping you explore local traditions and fall in love with this remarkable emirate.
Dive into traditional shopping at Deira markets
Vibrant Arabian culture waits for you at the world-famous markets located in Deira. Here you'll find renowned markets for gold, perfumes, and textiles.

Spice Souk is the world of exotic spices and herbs. Don't miss out on Dubai's favorite spice for meat and bread, zaatar, and their delicious dates. The Perfume Souk offers a vast array of traditional Eastern fragrances and famous oils. Look out for the locals' favorite natural aromatic oil, oud.

Explore the Textile Souk for kaftans or pashmina shawl to style into a modern unique look, while the Gold Souk lets you select jewelry with precious stones and metals.

Here are a few tips for visiting Dubai's bazaars:

  • Bargaining is not just common but expected at these markets;
  • Markets often close for a break during midday, so plan your shopping trip for after lunch or in the early hours.
Tours into Dubai's past
The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding offers a variety of tours to help you discover Dubai's culture and traditions.

You can book a walking tour through Old Dubai, a cruise along Dubai Creek on a traditional wooden boat called an abra, or experience traditional Emirati breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Taste of national cuisine
Along the shores of Dubai Creek, numerous restaurants offer Eastern cuisine.

At the renowned Coffee Museum, try savor rich Arabic coffee known as kahwa, while Arabian Tea House presents hundreds of tea varieties alongside traditional Arab pastries and desserts. For classic Lebanese and Emirati dishes like lamb kebabs, seafood, citrus salads, visit the museum-restaurant Bayt Al Wakeel, and Al Khayma Heritage Restaurant, which specializes in local sourced farm-fresh ingredients.

Whichever path you choose to explore Dubai's traditions, we hope your adventure will be unforgettable!
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