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Dubai Photo Gallery - 1. Bur Dubai, Deira, and the Creek

In July and August 2006, we traveled to Dubai, Mount Kailash and Guge Kingdom in Tibet, Muscat, Iceland and a brief stop in London.

Dubai 01 01 Dubai From Google Earth We visited Dubai in the summer when anyone who has the means leaves Dubai for cooler climates. We jumped from air-conditioned accommodation to an air-conditioned taxi to an air-conditioned destination. The temperature was quite comfortable at night and early morning with temperatures around 30C, but in the later morning and afternoon it skyrocketed to the low 40s.  Here is a view of Dubai from Google Earth.

Dubai 01 01 Dubai From Google Earth

Dubai 01 02 Airport Inside We landed at Dubai’s award-winning airport, only a few kilometres from the city centre.

Dubai 01 02 Airport Inside

Dubai 01 03 Arabian Courtyard Hotel Outside With Dubai Museum Dhow We took a taxi to the Arabian Courtyard Hotel, opposite the Dubai Museum and near Bastakia and the Creek. Because it is off-season, we got a great rate less than half their regular rate. Here is a view of our hotel with the traditional dhow displayed outside Dubai Museum in the foreground.

Dubai 01 03 Arabian Courtyard Hotel Outside With Dubai Museum Dhow

Dubai 01 04 Arabian Courtyard Hotel Inside Lobby Here is the entrance lobby at the very comfortable and affordable Arabian Courtyard Hotel.

Dubai 01 04 Arabian Courtyard Hotel Inside Lobby

Dubai 01 05 Arabian Courtyard Hotel Inside Atrium We took the elevator up to our floor and looked down the atrium and Lobby of the Arabian Courtyard Hotel.

Dubai 01 05 Arabian Courtyard Hotel Inside Atrium

Dubai 01 06 Arabian Courtyard Hotel Room Here is our comfortable room at the Arabian Courtyard Hotel.

Dubai 01 06 Arabian Courtyard Hotel Room

Dubai 01 07 Arabian Courtyard Pool The Arabian Courtyard Hotel has a small and refreshing outdoor swimming pool.

Dubai 01 07 Arabian Courtyard Pool

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 01 Nightime View From Our Hotel Room With Grand Mosque Here is a nighttime view of the Dubai Museum from our hotel room window at the Arabian Courtyard Hotel. In front of the museum is a traditional dhow and beyond the Museum are the minarets of the Grand Mosque.

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 01 Nightime View From Our Hotel Room With Grand Mosque

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 02 Daytime View From Our Hotel Room With Grand Mosque2 Here is a daytime view of the Dubai Museum from our hotel room window at the Arabian Courtyard Hotel. In front of the museum is a traditional dhow and beyond the Museum are the minarets of the Grand Mosque. Dubai Museum is located in the Al Fahidi Fort, an imposing building that once guarded the city from landward approaches. The fort was built around 1787 and is thought to be Dubai's oldest building. Since that time it has served as a garrison, a palace and a prison. In 1970, the fort was renovated and turned into a museum, and in 1995 additional galleries were completed.

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 02 Daytime View From Our Hotel Room With Grand Mosque2

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 03 Entrance The two cannons standing guard at the Dubai Museum are the only evidence of the Portuguese presence in the area in the early 1600s.

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 03 Entrance

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 04 Water Tank As we entered the fort’s courtyard, we saw a big wooden tank, which was used to carry fresh water on pearling boats. This reminds us that water is one of the most precious goods in this desert country.

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 04 Water Tank

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 05 Fishing Boat Several small boats are also in the courtyard, including a shasha, a small fishing boat made of palm fronds. There was also a canoe carved from a single tree trunk.

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 05 Fishing Boat

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 06 Palm-leaf House Here is a barasti house with a wind tower at the Dubai Museum. Barasti is a palm-leaf house made from a skeleton of wooden poles (date palm trunks) onto which palm leaves are woven to form a strong structure though which air can circulate.

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 06 Palm-leaf House

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 07 Typical Souq The tower at the far corner of the courtyard leads down to a large underground area where the rest of the museum exhibits are. Souqs have been often referred to as the real heart of Arabia, and nowhere is this more true than in Dubai There was a detailed re-creation of a typical souq as it would have looked in the 1950s.

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 07 Typical Souq

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 08 Desert Scene The Desert is the traditional habitat of people throughout the Arabian Peninsula. The Bedouin, who were the earliest inhabitants of the region, once lived in strong tribal communities and roamed the blazing sands with their camels, in search of food, grazing and trade. Here is a lifesize display of the Bedouin lifestyle, surrounding a fire, with their dog nearby.

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 08 Desert Scene

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 09 Archeological Find There is also a display of the archeology of the area, including finds from the digs at both Al-Qusais and Jumeirah. Here is a chlorite vessel decorated with incised glos designs from Al Qusais (2C BC).

Dubai 02 Dubai Museum 09 Archeological Find

Dubai 03 01 Bastakia Entrance With Desert Camp Mosque Built in the late 1800s, the Bastakia quarter was once the home of wealthy Persian merchants, most of them from the Bastak district in southern Iran (hence the name Bastakia) and lured to Dubai by tax-free trading. Bastakia occupies the eastern portion of Bur Dubai along the Creek. Dubai Municipality is planning to renovate all the historic buildings of the Bastakia area to open more museums, galleries, restaurants and traditional markets. In front is a reconstruction of a desert sitting area, with a mosque behind.

Dubai 03 01 Bastakia Entrance With Desert Camp Mosque

Dubai 03 02 Bastakia Wind Tower Bastakia features a number of traditional old wind-tower houses built in the early 1900s, once the homes of wealthy Persian merchants. Barjeel (wind towers) are the Gulf’s unique form of non-mechanical air-conditioning. In Dubai, scores of original wind towers still exist, traditionally rising 5m or 6m above a house. The tower is open on all four sides to catch the breezes, which are channeled down around a central shaft and into the room below. In the process, the air speeds up and is cooled. The cooler air already in the tower shaft pulls in, and subsequently cools, the hotter air outside through simple convection.

Dubai 03 02 Bastakia Wind Tower

Dubai 03 03 Bastakia XVA Gallery Courtyard XVA is a recently restored traditional house in Bastakia with the rooms arranged around a central courtyard, which houses an art gallery, café and guesthouse. Houses in Dubai were traditionally built around a central courtyard, which was considered the heart and lungs of a house.

Dubai 03 03 Bastakia XVA Gallery Courtyard

Dubai 03 04 Bastakia XVA Gallery Room With Art XVA has four exhibition rooms that display contemporary paintings, sculptures and art, exhibits changing monthly.

Dubai 03 04 Bastakia XVA Gallery Room With Art

Dubai 03 05 Bastakia XVA Gallery Cooling Down With A Juice We had some delicious fresh juice in an air-conditioned room, sitting in comfortable sofas and wicker chairs, admiring the art and sculpture on the walls.

Dubai 03 05 Bastakia XVA Gallery Cooling Down With A Juice

Dubai 03 06 Grand Mosque Outside The multi-domed Grand Mosque has sand-coloured walls and wooden shutters that blend in perfectly with the surrounding old quarter of Bur Dubai. Rebuilt in 1998, the Grand Mosque boasts the city’s tallest minaret (70m), and has nine large domes and 45 small domes. With its beautiful architecture and vast quantities of stained glass, the Grand Mosque has become both a distinguished landmark, and an important place of worship.

Dubai 03 06 Grand Mosque Outside

Dubai 03 07 Ali Bin Abi Taleb Mosque Outside The outside of the Ali Bin Abi Taleb (Prophet Mohammed’s cousin) Mosque is beautifully decoated in blue tiles.

Dubai 03 07 Ali Bin Abi Taleb Mosque Outside

Dubai 03 08 Shindagha Tower Near the mouth of the Creek, the Shindagha Tower was built in 1901 and differs from other watchtowers in the UAE in that it is square rather than round. Dubai was originally situated at Shindagha.

Dubai 03 08 Shindagha Tower

Dubai 03 09 Sheikh Saeed al-Maktoum House The two-story Sheikh Saeed al-Maktoum (ruler of Dubai from 1921 to 1958) House was built in 1896 and was reopened as a museum in 1986, housing an exhibition of photos, mainly from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, documenting the history and development of Dubai. The house has a wind tower at each corner of the courtyard. It was built of coral quarried from the Gulf and then covered with lime and plaster around a courtyard.

Dubai 03 09 Sheikh Saeed al-Maktoum House

Dubai 04 01 Dubai Creek With Bur Dubai and Deira Dubai Creek, the historic focal point of life in the city, is a natural seawater inlet that cuts through the city's centre and separates Deira from Bur Dubai. The creek is alive with trade and tradition, the loading and unloading of trade ships that still travel ancient routes, and the beautiful promenades that line both sides of the water. In this view from near the mouth, the Grand Mosque dominates the Bur Dubai skyline, while the buildings of Deira are behind, including the Etisalat building with the golf ball on top, the Dubai Creek Tower, the curved National Bank of Dubai, and finally the triangular Dubai Chamber of Commerce building.

Dubai 04 01 Dubai Creek With Bur Dubai and Deira

Dubai 04 02 Deira Gold Souq Along with Bur Dubai, Deira is the heart of old Dubai. Trading has been going on here for centuries. The Deira Gold Souq has tiny lanes of shops with windows crammed with necklaces, bangles, rings, broaches, earrings, and bar-gold alike.

Dubai 04 02 Deira Gold Souq

Dubai 04 03 Deira Spice Souq The Spice Souq in Deira has sacks overflowing with frankincense, oud, dried lemons, ginger root, cardamom, dried fruit, nuts, pulses and saffron.

Dubai 04 03 Deira Spice Souq

Dubai 04 04 Abra Ride on Dubai Creek We hired an abra (water taxi) to take us down the Dubai Creek, where you can feel the old, represented by dhows juxtaposed against the breathtaking modern skyline.

Dubai 04 04 Abra Ride on Dubai Creek

Dubai 04 05 Dubai Creek and Wharfage Located along the bank of the Dubai Creek in Deira, the Dubai Wharfage provides berthing, together with cargo loading and unloading facilities, for over 250 of the traditional sailing dhows used as trading vessels throughout the Gulf and further afield. In front is an abra taking people across the Dubai Creek from Bur Dubai to Deira.

Dubai 04 05 Dubai Creek and Wharfage

Dubai 04 06 Deira Twin Towers In front of the creek in Deira are the blue Twin Towers Deira 1 and 2 (102m, 22 floors, 1998), multi-use buildings composed of a shopping centre, a residential tower and an office tower.

Dubai 04 06 Deira Twin Towers

Dubai 04 07 Deira Etisalat Tower and Dubai Creek Tower On the Deira side of the creek are several architecturally interesting buildings. On the far left is Al Reem Tower (103m, 22 floors, 1995). In the middle is Etisalat Tower I (100m, 17 floors, 1992), the national telecom company building, which is recognizable by the giant golf ball that perches atop all Etisalat headquarters. The ball represents the world encompassed by the power of global communications. To the right is the Dubai Creek Tower (117m, 29 floors, 1995), which in 1995 was the second tallest building in Dubai after the World Trade Center Building.

Dubai 04 07 Deira Etisalat Tower and Dubai Creek Tower

Dubai 04 08 Deira National Bank of Dubai and Dubai Chamber of Commerce The National Bank of Dubai (125m, 20 floors, 1998) is a long thin D-shape shimmering building overlooking the Creek and has become one of the symbols of Dubai. The bronze windows reflect the activity on the Creek. Next door is the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry 1 (91m, 18 floors, 1995), a triangular building blanketed in sheets of blue glass.

Dubai 04 08 Deira National Bank of Dubai and Dubai Chamber of Commerce

Dubai 04 09 Deira Nightime View Of Etisalat Tower, Dubai Creek Tower, Sheraton, National Bank of Dubai and Dubai Chamber of Commerce We walked down the Bur Dubai promenade along the Dubai Creek in the slightly more comfortable early evening, and looked across at the buildings on the Deira side of the creek. On the far left is the Etisalat telecom building with the golf ball on top, then the Dubai Creek Tower, the Sheraton Creek Hotel (60m, 12 floors, 1978) with a triangular front, the curved National Bank of Dubai, and finally the triangular Dubai Chamber of Commerce building on the far right.

Dubai 04 09 Deira Nightime View Of Etisalat Tower, Dubai Creek Tower, Sheraton, National Bank of Dubai and Dubai Chamber of Commerce

Dubai 04 10 Deira Nightime View Of National Bank of Dubai and Dubai Chamber of Commerce From the Bur Dubai promenade at dusk, here is a view of the National Bank of Dubai, a long thin D-shape shimmering building overlooking the Creek, and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, a triangular building blanketed in sheets of blue glass.

Dubai 04 10 Deira Nightime View Of National Bank of Dubai and Dubai Chamber of Commerce