A Glimpse of Culture at Dubai Heritage Village

It was one of those lazy afternoons when after enjoying a heavy lunch, Mr. HD and I decided to check out Dubai Heritage Village near Shindagha. DSF is in its full bloom and citing fears of not being able to acquire a good parking spot, we decided to leave early. Only to find an almost empty parking lot at 4pm on a Saturday! With so many expectations built up, was it worth the visit? Let’s find out!

The main area of the village, which is complete with old-fashioned huts or ‘barastis’, men and women dressed in traditional arab attire preparing local delicacies, a henna artist, a tea stall and a mini shopping area. Mud buildings with narrow alleys surround the central atrium each lined with lanterns. The floors of the village are fitted with spotlights that adopt an ethereal charm by night. But the unmistakable aura of the modern era was still inherent in this ‘heritage’ structure. It is common to find huts fitted with modern plug points, lanterns with CFL bulbs inside. (Heritage?)

The Dubai Heritage Village also includes a Diving Village, which Mr. HD said that during the early years of the Dubai Shopping Festival was a hub of activity! You could pledge a diver to take a dive and draw out an oyster for you. If you were lucky, it would be complete with a pearl. However now, the place stands as well maintained relics. At the creek side of the Diving Village however stands a restaurant where you can feast on middle eastern delicacies, and enjoy the view of passing Dhows while taking puffs of flavored sheesha.

The Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House is a historic building and former residential quarters of Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, former ruler of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The building is located along the Dubai Creek in the locality of Al Shindagha and is a part of the Heritage Village. Most of the rooms have been converted into a museum, and one can see items ranging from old pictures of Dubai, coins, stamps, maps, documents and other artifacts. At a fee of only AED 3 per person, this home is indeed worth the buck. Here are a few glimpses:

Verdict: The Dubai Heritage Village is a nice place to visit on a relaxed evening when you have plenty of time to kill. Although don’t expect to be taken back to the good old days and sample the life of the ancestors as the place has enough modernism to effectively obstruct your journey down the memory lane.

Well maintained walls and alleyways, CFL fitted lanterns, mosaic floors – these were quite the opposite of the rundown forts and rusted door handles that I went expecting. Also, the fun and fanfare during Dubai Shopping Festival that the place would witness a few years ago has shrunk to less than bare minimum, and don’t be surprised to find that you and your group of friends are the only few to be there at a given point in time. History junkies will be disappointed, as there is frankly not much of history to be found.

Visit If: You have plenty of time to kill and want to find a place of peace and calm in the bustle of the city.

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