Learning the history of your adoptive city, I say, is a must. Do not be a stranger, acquaint yourself with your new home albeit temporary. If you happen to be here in the desert city, one good place to start at is the Dubai Museum at Al Fahidi Port.
Entrance fee is very minimal at AED 3 for adults and AED 1 for children 6 years-old and below. It opens from 8:30AM to 8:30PM Saturdays-Thursdays and 2:30PM to 8:30PM on Fridays. The museum is a walking distance from the nearest metro stations Al Ghubabia and Al Fahidi.
Before the discovery of oil in 1966, Dubai thrived on pearl diving, fishing and sea trade. The souk (market) along the creek coastlines became the center of commerce.
The museum is divided into sections highlighting the different facets of the origins of the emirate – desert life, fishing and pearling, weaponry, pottery, and artifacts from archaeological sites. There’s also a diorama presenting the way of life before oil was discovered and a multimedia section which shows footage of the emirate’s humble beginnings to its rapid growth.
The first settlers were cattle herders who later on became pioneers in growing date palm in the region. This was a breakthrough as it was the first time that the land was used for agriculture. Dates became a major part of the local diet.
Falconry also plays a vital role in the history and culture of Dubai and the UAE as a whole. It is one of the oldest traditions of the country and is presently practiced as a form of sport.
Dubai Museum sits at the location of the Al Fahidi Fort – one of the oldest existing buildings in the city. Another area where you can further explore the lifestyle and traditions of old Dubai is the Heritage Village which is nearby. Though it is currently closed for renovation and no word yet as to when it will re-open.
At present, Dubai is one of the world’s leading export and re-export hub and is tagged as the city of superlatives. This global city is home to the world’s tallest structure, biggest mall, 7-star luxury hotel, man-made islands, innovative and modern architectures. Dubai’s forward thinking government has ushered and achieved a development and economic growth you wouldn’t think possible in a relatively short span of time.