Saturday, October 15, 2016

Rediscovering Dubai, UAE: Al Fahidi Fort - Dubai Museum

       Today I decided to do some cultural exploration amidst the bustling city of Dubai. Behind its towering skyscrapers, lies the oldest existing building in Dubai - the Al Fahidi Fort. It was built in 1787, some 229 years ago, located in the present Bur Dubai.

       The late Sheikh Saeed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum chose the historic Al Fahidi Fort to be Dubai's Museum in honour of his ancestors. In 1971 he laid the foundation stone for the museum, thus continuing the development of Dubai's progress.

Facade of Dubai Museum
       The wooden gate of Al Fahidi Fort leads to halls containing a wealth of displays and exhibits which bear witness to the rich history of Dubai. Beyond the courtyard, the north wing shows the history of the Emirate and the fort. The ancient cannon in the northeast tower has been there since the tower was built. The military section is housed in the south wing of the fort, where old weaponry and the methods of their production are displayed.

Watchtower
       In the southwest tower,  visitors are guided through a tunnel of history in words and pictures . Arriving at Dubai Creek you then pass through the bustling souq and on to the old city where you can see aspects of social, religious and cultural life. In the desert and Oasis you can experience Bedouin life by day and night and learn about their traditional crafts and culture. Here, you also see some of the natural history of the Emirate before going onto astronomy and natural phenomenon.



Me sitting on an abra



Artifacts
       Inside the four walls of the fort are artifacts and displays of the old life of Dubai. From boats, some weaponry, and even  their primitive house, every one can have a glimpse of the past.

Fintas (Water Tank)
Al Banoush - used for transporting people
       Before yacht and water taxis, there was Al Banoush.
Al Baggarah - used for pearling
       Before the boom of oil industry and tourism, Dubai's precious source of income is pearling.

Al Abra- used for transporting people between the two sides of the creek
Al Hourey - a small boat carved from a single tree trunk
European bronze cannon
       This cannon dates back in 1785, used in Dubai during the 19th century


Dawar Shami
This is a device for pulling boats from the sea.


       This must be a device for fetching water from a deep well.

Al Kaimah and Al Arish
       Al Kaimah is the primitive house in which the inhabitants of the Gulf coast area resided. It is built of palm tree branches. Al Kaimah usually consists of one room having different sizes. This light building is constructed of palm tree fibres. It is warm in winter, cool in summer and allows draughts of air to blow through when it gets very hot. 

       Al Arish is a summer house with a wind tower made of burslap pieces placed on top. This wind tower is an effective means to get in breezes of air blowing in whatever directions. In winter, people tend to leave Al Arish and live in the tent seeking warmth.



Al Manama - a bed for sleeping outside in summer
       This is like a balcony where they usually stay when it gets very hot inside.

Kitchen
       The kitchen displays their old source of fuel like woods and clay pots for cooking. Also displayed are the utensils and jars they used to eat and store water.

Interior
       Upon entering the house, you will see their living room and their bedroom. Very far from Dubai's current luxury villas and apartments but I must say the old one is cozy.

Galleries

       The four walls of the fort housed the galleries of weaponry, the methods they used, and some displays of Dubai's history.










A Blacksmith with his assistant making a sword

       Then there's a stair going underground that leads to galleries about marine life, astronomy and natural phenomenon. Their is also archaelogical displays that will take you back to discoveries from 3,000 BC so you can take pride in a city which dates back 5,000 years now called Dubai. For some reasons, I wasn't able to go down there for I have a limited time.

Visiting Hours
 Saturday - Thursday
8:30 AM - 8:30 PM

Friday
2:30PM - 8:30 PM

Public Holidays
8:30 AM - 8:30 PM

Admission Fees
Adult - 3.00AED
Child - 1.00AED

How to get there?
       I must say the Metro is still the easiest way to get around the city plus its more affordable. The nearest station is the Al Fahidi Station (Green Line). From the Red Line, get off at either Union or Burjuman Station and then take the Green Line. From Al Fahidi Station the fort is about 10 minutes walk.

       It is just amazing to think that Dubai had such a humble  beginnings. All other cities out there have perhaps the same life as Dubai before but the latter has made a giant leap from a modest life into a luxurious and sophisticated life that has envied the whole world. -Jon-

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