Al Ras closures dubai
The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management has announced increased restrictions on movement in the Al Ras area of Dubai for two weeks from Tuesday 31st March 2020 Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Al Ras in Dubai is a hub for wholesale-trading and is one of the oldest communities in the emirate.

It is a densely populated area with narrow walking streets and bustling business activities. Most residents and visitors know the area because of Deira Gold Souk and Spice Souk but there is much more associated with this vibrant old business hub. It is a lifeline for traders dealing in food materials. Al Ras is located on the western side of Deira on Baniyas Road along the Dubai Creek.

Al Ras came to the limelight on Monday after the Dubai authorities announced increased restrictions on movement in the area for the next two weeks. The restrictions, which include road closures and metro stop closures, will be in effect from March 31 for intensified sterilisation procedures.

It is important to note that the restrictions in the area are applicable 24-hours for the next two weeks starting March 31.

According to the Dubai Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, movement of residents in the area has been completely restricted. Residents of the area are not allowed to leave their homes while non-residents are not allowed to enter the area until April 14.

All businesses in the area will also remain closed for two weeks. The decision comes as part of the UAE government’s measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Al Ras closures
Al Ras in Dubai is subject to strict restrictions over two weeks starting March 31 with no people entering or exiting the area. Entrances of three roads leading to the area, Al Khaleej Road, Baniyas Road and Al Musalla Road, have been closed for the period. Metro stations Al Ras, Palm Deira and Baniyas Square have been closed as well - no trains on the Green Line will stop at these stations Image Credit: Dona Cherian/Google Maps

Al Ras - an area guide

Al Ras literally means ‘The Cape’ because the area is surrounded by Dubai Creek from at least three sides. The oldest office of Dubai Municipality, which is now a museum, is also located in this area. The area is a business and trading hub mainly for the wholesale traders.

Al Ras Map
A map of the Al Ras area in Dubai Image Credit: Creative Commons

Al Ras is also a famous tourist destination in Dubai because of the Spice Souk, Perfume Souk, Gold Souk, traditional shops and the heritage buildings.

Some of the oldest hotels in Dubai including St. George Hotel and Al Ras Hotel are also located in this area.

Al Ahmadiya School

Al Ras also houses Al Ahmadiya School, the oldest school in Dubai. It is the first national semi-regular school in Dubai and was founded and established by the late Sheikh Ahmed bin Dalmouk in 1912. In 1994, the Government of Dubai restored Al Ahmadiya School and transformed it into a historical museum. Dubai Public Library is also located in the same area.

Gold Souk

The Dubai Gold Souk is a traditional market in the heart of old Dubai by the creek. This market mainly sells gold, silver, precious stones and pearls. The souk is home to more than 300 retailers. It is also a must-visit place for tourists to Dubai.

Al Ras area in Deira Image Credit: Ashfaq Ahmed/Gulf News

Perfume Souk

Al Ras is a centre for perfume supply in the UAE. The Deira Perfume Souk makes up a couple of streets with a large number of perfume stores that sell oils, fragrances and sandal wood. Most of them deal in wholesale trade but there are plenty of retail shops. The perfume souk is adjacent to Dubai Gold Souk and is situated on Sikkat Al Khail Street.

Spice Souk

The Dubai Spice Souk is the second most famous wholesale and retail market in Al Ras area. It is a traditional market located close to the famed Gold Souk. This market mainly sells herbs, spices, soaps and much more. The souk is home to over 150 small retailers. The place is always full, with not only tourists but also traders from across the UAE.

Wholesale shops

Most wholesale and retail trading shops in the area deal in spices and food items including rice, sugar, flour and pulses. It is also famous for dry-fruit trading in addition to carpets, perfumes, garments, etc.

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Since it is located right at the ‘mouth’ or the entrance of Dubai Creek, dhows carrying food materials and other supplies from neighbouring countries anchor close to the Al Ras area making it a bustling business centre.

Most traders working are in the area, specially the Spice Souk, are Iranians while Indians and Iranians donimate the foodstuff trading with the considerbaly good presence of Afghanis, Arabs and Pakistanis .

Essential supplies to residents

For those who are worried about buying daily essentials, the General Command of Dubai Police confirmed that teams from the Dubai Health Authority will provide all essential supplies to the residents of the area during the two-week period.

Why was Al Ras area closed

The decision to put in place heightened restrictions was taken due to the high density of population in the area, with the goal of safeguarding the health and safety of residents and to implement the highest level of preventive measures against COVID-19.

The safety and security of all citizens and residents remains the highest priority of authorities in this period.

Dubai Police urged all stakeholders and entities to work with the highest professionalism to ensure effective preventive measures are implemented and the well-being of the area’s residents is guaranteed during the period in which the restrictions will be in place.

Dubai Police also appealed to the public to cooperate fully with the authorities and abide by all instructions to ensure the preventive measures implemented during the two-week period are a success.

Road closures, metro

Dubai’s Roads and Transports Authority (RTA) announced a comprehensive plan to manage traffic and public transport modes in the Al Ras area.

The plan includes the closure of entrances leading to the area from three main roads and interchanges: Al Musalla, Al Khaleej, and Baniyas Streets.

The plan also includes the closure of three stations on the metro green line: Al Ras, Palm Deira and Baniyas Square.

The metro will pass through the area without stopping at these stations. Additionally, as per the plan, all bus routes to Al Ras area will be diverted to Al Musalla, Al Khaleej and Omar Bin Al Khattab streets, and all taxi movement to the area will be restricted.