Historical sites and buildings enjoy a lot of attention from local authorities. The emirate’s government makes huge efforts to guarantee that future generations will inherit historical places in immaculate shape. These heritage buildings evoke a time before modern Dubai, a time when pearl divers, potters and weavers practiced their art and made a living in the middle of the undulating desert .
Sheikh Saeed’s House
Built in 1896, the Sheikh Saeed House was once the seat of Dubai’s local government. The official residence of Sheikh Saeed AI Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai (1912-1958) has been restored to its former glory on the 5hindagha end of Dubai Creek. Today, it houses a rare collection of historic photographs, coins, stamps and documents that record Dubai’s history.
This is one of the oldest residential areas in Dubai, its Construction dating back to the 1890s. Originally home to the local rich, the discovery of oil allowed these moneyed families to move to other parts of the city. Later, many expatriate families moved to this heritage area. The AI Fahidi Fort is only a short walk away, and other attractions of the area include its wind towers, and other traditional architecture.
Hatta Heritage Village
Nestled in the Hajjar Mountains, the Hatta Heritage Village dates back to the 16th century. The drive is as fascinating as the destination itself, taking the visitor through burnished sand dunes and mountains covered in
myriad hues. Overlooking a spectacular oasis, this village was built to showcase the inimitable skill of the potters and weavers of yore. The site also boasts two breath taking watchtowers and the Juma mosque.
Burj Nahar, located 10 minutes away from the international airport, was one of three watchtowers that guarded Dubai against invasions from the east and north. A splendid garden around the tower makes it a favourite with photographers, especially at night. Built in 1870, it was restored in 1992 and now stands tall in the picturesque neighborhood of Deira.
Bait AI Wakeel
This was the first building in Dubai that was dedicated completely to administration purposes. Originally, it was meant to serve as the office of Gray Mackenzie and, as it was convenient for the abra landing at the edge of Dubai creek, it also served as the first location for imports and exports. In 1995, the building was Remodeled into a maritime museum. It now offers educational programs for those interested in studying the fishing and maritime traditions of the city. The well-known restaurant Turathi is perched above the creek.
AI Ahmadiya School
Started by a philanthropist pearl merchant Sheikh Mohammed bin Ahmed bin Dalmouk in 1912, this school is the oldest in the city. Initially, AI Ahmadiya taught only a handful of subjects like mathematics and Arabic to nearly 200 boys. The main focus of the school was the Quran. More schools opened by the end of the decade and AI Ahmadiya closed, re¬opening again in the 1930s. Thirty-five years later the school closed for good and the building was restored in 1995 as a museum of public education.
Next to Dubai’s first-ever school, is the house of the man who started it: Sheik Mohammed bin Ahmed bin Dalmouk. Built in 1890 and originally home to a wealthy Iranian merchant, the house is located on the Deira side of Dubai creek. It was restored in 1994, a year before the restoration of the Ahmadiya School.
Majlls Ghorfat Umm-AI Sheif
Built in 1955, as the summer residenc of the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed A Maktoum, Majlis Ghorfat Umm-AI Sheif is one of Dubai’s most important historical buildings. Standing two storey’s tall in Jumeirah, it was built in the traditional style and designed so the interiors were cooled by the sea breezes. The Dubai Municipality restored the building in 1994, reinforcing the walls and foundation, and providing traditional furnishings.
There are four main excavation sites in Dubai, at AI Qusais, AI Sufooh, Jumeirah and Hatta. The first two are graveyards dating back more than 2,000 years. The Jumeirah site is the largest of its kind in the UAE, and excavations here have revealed stone houses, souks and various artifacts from the 7th to 15th centuries AD. Many of these are displayed in the Dubai Museum. These sites are not ye open to the public. However tourists 0 tour operators may obtain a special permit from Dubai Museum to visit the digs.
Located in Jumeirah, on the site of former ruler His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed AI Maktoum’s office, the Roundhouse is a replica of the original Roundhouse, where documents forming the UAE were signed in 1972.