Last month we celebrated ME’s birthday by going to Dubai for the weekend. After making the arrangements, I googled Dubai to find out where to go and what to do. I was blown away by the bigger than life attractions.“Dubai has become a major tourist destination attracting worldwide attention with the many innovative large scale construction projects and the major sporting events it holds.” What follows are some of the places we visited.
I am going to start in the historic area before we look at some of the modern large scale projects.
Al Bastakiya in one of the oldest residential areas in the city. The homes were constructed with windtowers. It is a natural ventilation system that directs airflow downwards to cool the large rooms in the house. They are still very common throughout the Middle East. Al Bastakiya lies along the Dubai Creek which is also the home to many souks (markets). Many years ago dhows boats where used to offload goods coming in from India and East Africa to be sold in these markets. Today they are used to furry tourists across the creek. Evening dinner cruises are also popular.
I just figured out to zoom in, click on the picture several times
Dubai is known as the City of Gold which is still a major part of the economy. Across the Dubai Creek is the Gold Souk. Years ago Dubai became a hub for the gold smuggling trade exporting gold ingots to India. There is also a spice souk where you can find a variety of fragrances and spices from frankincense and shisha to many herbs used in Arabic and South Asian foods.
The beautiful Jumeirah Mosque is a spectacular example of modern Islamic architecture. It has an “open door, open mind” policy and is one of a handful of mosques open to non-Muslim’s in the Middle East. They offer a one hour guided tour and education program with a Q&A session after the program. It gives you a fascinating insight into Islam. Over the next few weeks and months I will go into more detail about the daily prayers and Islam.
Dubai has been called the “shopping capital of the Middle East” it has more than 70 shopping centers, including the worlds largest, Dubai Mall. The city draws large numbers of shopping tourists from countries around the region. We went to the Mall of the Emirates, the home of the world renowned Ski Dubai, the Middle Easts first indoor ski resort and snow park. Featuring a 280 foot mountain(?) 5 slopes and the world’s first indoor black diamond run. The Snow Park area features sled and toboggan runs, icy body slides, climbing towers, giant snowballs and an ice cave. Every night several inches of snow is made. Winter clothing, skis or snowboards are included in the price of admission.