Dubai is the second largest emirate in the UAE and it is probably renown for its large shopping malls and its five-star hotels. However, what you may not know is that Dubai offers a host of other attractions. Here are five such attractions:

Bastakia Quarter

Bur-BastakiaThe Bastakia Quarter is one of the places you must visit, whether you live in or are travelling to Dubai. Although Persian traders built this picturesque heritage site towards the end of the 19th Century, the beautiful traditional courtyard houses and narrow streets still stand today, most of which are open to the public for viewing. One of the key features of this quaint area of Dubai is its wind towers. These towers were built as a way of cooling houses before air-conditioners were introduced to the area.

The Bastakia Quarter is home to a number of art cafes, restaurants, art galleries and the Dubai Museum. The art galleries are filled with exotic art from the Middle East, Iran and the Emirates. At the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding located in the Bastakia neighborhood, visitors can meet with local Emiratis and learn about their traditions and culture.

The Old City Wall is also a must-see. The Old City Wall that stands today is what remains of a defensive wall that was built around the old town of Dubai. The most outstanding feature of this wall is that it is made of gypsum and coral.

While in the Bastakia Quarter, make a point of visiting the Dubai Museum. The Dubai Museum is located in the Al Fahidi Fort. Built in 1799 and with walls consisting of coral and shell rubble, the Al Fahidi Fort is the oldest building still standing in Dubai. The main aim of the museum is to showcase the traditional way of life of the Emiratis.

The Grand Mosque

grand-mosqueAnother attraction that you should visit during your Dubai holidays is the Grand Mosque. It is one of the most spacious mosques in the world. It was first constructed in 1900 A.D in traditional Persian architectural style. The building features wooden structures, domes and sand-colored facades that are characteristic of Persian architecture. In 1998, the mosque was rebuilt, and care was taken to maintain the original Persian style.

However, it is worth noting that non-Muslims cannot access the Grand Mosque, but they can still enjoy the aesthetics of the building. In fact, the decorated glass panels, the designs on the walls as well as the 54 domes of the mosque make it a remarkable sight. The Grand Mosque when lit up at night is also exceptional.

The Residence of Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum

Shiekh-Saeed-Al-Maktoum-HouseBuilt in the 19th Century in traditional Islamic design, the walls of this house are made of coral treated with lime. Additionally, it features four wind towers that were used to cool the house before the advent of air conditioning. In 1986, the house was restored to its former glory and is now an example of Arabian architecture. Today, it houses an exhibition of photographs as well as paintings and art that showcase the history of the Emiratis in Dubai. As such, art and history lovers should include this house on their Dubai holidays itinerary.

The Palm Islands

Sat_Map_Jan_07_OLThe Palm Islands are today synonymous with Dubai holidays. These islands refer to three artificial islands located along the coastal area of Dubai. They include the Palm Jumeirah and the Palm Jebel Ali. The third island is the Palm Deira, which is yet to be completed. However, former two islands attract tourists from all over the world. The Palm Jumeriah, which is the smallest of the three, boasts of villas, restaurants and cafes. The Palm Jebel Ali, on the other hand, is home to a number of tourist attractions. These include a water park, a Sea Village and six marinas.

Traditional Emirati Food

foodWhen in Dubai, you must try the local cuisine. However, it is worth noting the local food is typically very spicy and has a unique taste. Shawarma and hummus are very popular dishes in the country. One particular dish that you should try while in Dubai is stuffed camel, which is the largest meal in the world, according to The Guinness Book for World Records. Stuffed camel was a traditional dish only served at the wedding ceremonies of elite families. The stuffing usually consists of other meats such as lamb and chicken.

In conclusion, Dubai holidays are very popular with both tourists and the locals alike. In addition to large shopping malls and world-class hotels, Dubai also boasts of a rich cultural heritage, including amazing traditional architecture and incredible local cuisine.

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