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A trip to Dubai is not complete without visiting the Dubai Museum, located in Al Fahidi Fort. Originally built as a defense against foreign invasion, it was later transformed into a museum and allows visitors to delve into the rich and unique heritage of the city. Exhibitions offer visitors an insight into desert life, depicting traditional Arab homes, mosques, fishing, pearl diving and trade. One of the highlights at the museum is an exhibit featuring artifacts from excavated graves in the Emirates from the 3rd millennium BCE.
The district of Al Fahidi in Dubai is known to be a prestigious historical site. It previously housed the rich families of the city protecting their privacy. Sophisticated architecture and the rough-walled houses are a stereo type in this district. Al Fahidi also has a number of restaurants and cafes. Spending time here would transport you to a different era altogether.
Nestled in Bur Dubai's Al Fahidi Historic District, Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, is a center that aims to promote and dymystify the diverse cultures, religions and customs existing within the UAE. This esteemed cultural center was launched in 1998 by the prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The center's motto, "Open doors. Open minds", urges a cross cultural understanding amongst locals and visitors through their award winning programs, workshops, events and activities. Guests can join in for cultural lunches, visits to religious sites, learn Arabic and more.
A fine example of early 20th-century architecture, the Bait Al Wakeel was the first building in Dubai dedicated exclusively to administration. This early office building is worth a visit to check out the primitive facilities that Dubai's bureaucracy had to contend with. Dubai is a port city and this comes across clearly at Bait Al Wakeel, which is now home to a museum that offers an educational window into Dubai's fishing and maritime traditions. It also houses a fine heritage restaurant which is worth a visit.
Deira Spice Souk is one of the vibrant markets of Dubai and is filled with shops in narrow alleys. It is next to the Gold Souk and will lure you in with its sweet and pungent aromas of spices and fragrances. You will find herbal products, dried fruits, common and rare spices, incense, saffron, frankincense, rose petals and hibiscus. It is also among the best places in town to buy quality spices at bargain prices. Only thing is you have to haggle a lot and carry cash.
This historic landmark marks the city's first school. Originally built in 1912, the Al Ahmadiya School underwent major renovations in 1920 and 1922. With a religious curriculum, this institution upheld the educational standards initiated by the earliest sacred figures, the Al-Muttawa and the Muttawa. Throughout its history, teachings have included the Koran and Islamic law. The carefully crafted architecture makes it an excellent place to get a sense of the history that has helped define Dubai. Admission is free.
You will find perfumes of local and international repute here. The fragrance of Arabic perfumes wafts about in the souk. The oily scents and incense sticks, especially Frankincense, are a hit here. You can also buy Carolina Herrera, Ted Lapidus and other designer perfumes tax-free. Although credit cards are accepted, cash payers usually get bigger discounts. This is one smelly affair you won't forget and should be on everyone's list of things to see in Dubai.
On the Shindagha edge of Dubai Creek stands the former residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai from 1912-1958 and grandfather of Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. A historical attraction for visitors in Dubai, the late 19th Century Arabian architecture is appreciated by all. Built in the 1890s, the Sheikh Saeed House was once the seat of Dubai's local government. Today, tourists can observe a rare collection of historic photographs, coins, stamps and documents of Dubai's history inside the building. The building itself is an architectural jewel; not to be missed. For a small admission fee, H.H. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House makes for an enlightening visit.