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Breathing the air of bygone days

from Ancient monuments to bastakiya, uae offers a treasure-trove of sites steeped in history and culture

  • By Fatma Salem, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 May 15, 2010
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: ABDUL RAHMAN/Gulf News archives
  • The wind tower and fort at Emirates Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi offer a glimpse into the nomadic life of yesteryears.

Dubai: Being an essential part of the desert has added an extraordinary authenticity and beauty to the UAE and made it an attractive spot, rich in history that still breathes the air of bygone days.

Abu Dhabi tells a lot through its remarkable heritage seen in the marvellous piece of history that is locally known as Qasr Al Hosn (Al Hosn Palace). Constructed in 1793 it is considered the best place to narrate the original tales about the Al Nahyan family, documented from 1796 until 1966, with it registering all the political circumstances the capital witnessed in the bygone era.

The chain of yesteryears' sites goes on to include the famous Al Jahili Fort which is another vital site that immortalises Al Ain's heritage and dates back to 1898. It consists of two buildings, a square courtyard of approximately 1,300 sq metres and a separate round tower.

It is based near the Al Ain Palace Museum. Al Ain National Museum is another iconic spot that mirrors the true lifestyle of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain; it houses a lot of relics from the stone age, and was established by order of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1971 to coincide with the official formation of the country, due to the great amount of care and responsibility that Shaikh Zayed had paid to UAE heritage. Abu Dhabi and Al Ain are also proud of Al Murabba Fort, the Eastern Fort, and Dhafeer Fort among others.

The ‘Pearl of the Gulf' Dubai, on the other hand, also has a wealth of historical locations such as the famous Bastakiya district which is currently the centre of regional and international artistic gatherings.

Naif Museum mirrors another historical aspect of the emirate's age and was constructed in a strategic location in the main commercial district in Deira and was the first headquarters of Dubai Police. Old Dubai is undoubtedly famous for its irresistible old souqs — which contain the two main souqs of Bur Dubai and Deira and highlight the commercial channels of the emirate.

Original state

In addition to that, Shaikh Saeed's House is considered the official residence of Shaikh Saeed Al Maktoum, who ruled the emirate from 1912-1958, it is located in Al Shindagha.

On Bur Dubai's Creek side buildings have been returned to their original state — made of wooden windows and beautified by a magnificent amount of gypsum panels and screens.

Al Ahmadiah School and Heritage House was founded in the 1912 and is officially considered the first regular school in Dubai. It is located in Deira and in 1995 a great deal of renovation was added to it to be publicly presented as an iconic museum of education.

The emirate is also famous for its archaeological locations that are seen in four zones — Jumeirah, Al Qusais, Al Sufouh and Hatta.

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