Old Dubai: Lost Culture Beneath Megapolis

It is easy to be in trance while holding your daily bag, standing amidst sea of strangers, blankly gazing a myriad of skyscrapers in an ordinary working day. I have a fair long ride from my residence to workplace – an opportunity for wandering thoughts to flourish into my mind, one of which is constant curiosity of what’s beneath the impressive sights, modern edifices, and seemingly limitless count of nationalities from all over the globe. Dubai is a cosmopolitan city in the Middle East – THE CITY, as a matter of fact.

But there’s a drawback from its advances, like in any other cities – Manila, Singapore, Hongkong – history is rather obscure. I was introduced to Burj Khalifa, tallest man-made building in the world; and Burj Al Arab, luxurious ship sail silhouette hotel, but they were never distinct about Emiratis’ culture, heritage, and traditions. So upon chancing a hot-weathered day recently, we had lost-but-soon-found gallivant towards Old Dubai towns: Historical Al Fahidi and Dubai Museum.

Upon entering the wind towers of Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, I couldn’t help but feel transported to a different Dubai. The Arabesque designs blatant in the edifices are just fascinating and spectacular for my camera lens. It was a substantial walk towards their history, arts, religion, and culture.


Meanwhile, some meters away from the first point, we reached the conspicuously situated dhow, which serves as landmark for Dubai Museum. Interestingly, this is the place’s oldest existing building since 1787. Upon entering the museum, you would see life-sized dioramas and audio visual explanations of their history – from date farms, food stalls including spices with vendor mannequins, desert to Bedouin tents depicting their daily olden lives.




However, as the sun was setting while we were walking down the paths, reflections started to creep in. Even if the city is inevitably evolving into much megapolis than it already is, we – as individuals part of a society, as humans coexist with another, as beings fighting for our own spot – can grasp something; knowing that your roots makes you appreciate growth, looking back into your past means that you are living in the now, and understanding your history molds you to learn from it.

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