The history of Dubai creek is as fascinating as the creek itself. Dubai creek has witnessed the city’s transformation many times over the centuries. Though the stream is essentially a saltwater inlet, it has become a central commercial hub for trading and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Dubai. While Dubai has gained popularity for its modern skyscrapers and thrilling adventure parks, Dubai Creek still offers a glimpse of rich traditional Arab culture.
Dubai Creek, also known as Khor Dubai, is a natural saltwater inlet of the Arabian gulf that spans 14km, and divides Dubai into two major sections- Bur Dubai and Deira. Let us see how this place has become the heart and soul of Dubai in a very short period.
Importance of the Dubai creek in the History of UAE
The very famous creek has existed for many years and has evolved several times over the centuries. The stream served as a safe harbour to cater for vessels trading for years. However, the creek silted through natural erosion in the 1950s and blocked the large vessels entering the port, forming a small canal. During this period, the Dubai rulers decided to expand the creek and planned to build bridges and tunnels across the water. The little canal was then dug up, and a six-fit deep trench was excavated.
The most recent development on this spot is a 3.2 km long Dubai Water Canal, which was inaugurated in 2016.
The creek’s significance in modern Dubai’s development can’t be avoided. Dubai creek has divided the city into two worlds- Bur Dubai and Deira. The entire area is reminiscent of the lost Arabian world. You’ll find heritage buildings, museums, and old-style markets on both sides of Dubai Creek. The traditional markets of Bur Dubai and Deira sell perfume, gold jewellery, spices and leather goods. You can smell the spices and the fragrances from across the creek.
This region has several other attractions, such as Bastakiya village and its excellent windy old lanes and souqs; the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, which draws nature lovers from all over; and the Al Fahidi Fort and its museum.
Interesting facts about Dubai creek
Dubai creek has played a significant role in the region’s economic development for many decades. Let us discover some unknown facts about this harbour.
- A British naval surveyor mentioned the Dubai Creek in a report published in 1822.
- The Dubai creek is believed to get recognition from 1902 when the ruler of Dubai at that time- HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher terminated custom duties on imports, and Dubai became a central trading hub in the Middle East.
- Dubai Creek was a famous pearl diving site long before the city was open to the free-trade agreement. Pearl diving was a fruitful occupation back then, and Dubai pearls were in high demand until the Japanese cultivated the artificially-cultured pearls. Pearl Diving still holds a significant place in Emirati culture.
- Fishing was another essential occupation among the locals along the waterway. It was home to diverse marine life.
- Boats were the only way to cross the water until a bridge was built over the creek in 1963. These small wooden boats are called abra and are still in function today with a modern touch. Although the bridge is used as a current form of commute, pedestrians prefer abra for a quick, traffic-free commute from Bur Dubai to Deira and vice-versa.
- The shallow waters of the creek obstructed the way of large vessels entering the port. This changed in the late 1950s when the stream was dredged to make way for larger ships. This evolution has contributed in the development of Dubai’s trade functions, as vessels of up to 500 tonnes can now anchor in the creek.
- The creek was referred to as “River Zara” by the ancient Greeks.
Things to do near Dubai creek:
1. Enjoy the evening dinner cruise
Experience the Dhow dinner cruise across the bay’s pristine waters, and enjoy a variety of delicious cuisines, including Asian, Middle Eastern and European food options.
2. Have a sparkling night while in Dubai
Fireworks and glittery skyline during the night will surely amaze you as the clear waters of the creek reflect the vibrant colours of the light.
3. Stop and shop at the classic markets
Explore the old traditional markets and use your barter skills while shopping on the famous streets of Dubai. The traditional markets of Bur Dubai and Deira offer a variety of beautiful carpets, perfumes and spices.
4. Explore more
Deira’s traditional souks have an extensive range of gold, perfumes and spices. Hit the narrow lanes for the best shopping experience with serious bargains on your favourite piece of handcrafted jewellery or a delightful fragrance. Visit the world’s biggest gold market with more than 300 gold shops to fascinate you with glittery gold earrings and necklaces.
5. Take a stroll across the seafront
Take a pleasant walk along the paved walkway and enjoy the fresh seaside breeze. Here, all you can see is the vibrant nightlife of Dubai and modern buildings that complement the traditional architecture of ancient times.
6. Do not forget to sail on the traditional abra
As you ride on these little ferries, you’ll enjoy the yachts and cruises sailing on the calm water of the creek. A one-way ride from the waterfront to the Bur Dubai district costs just AED1.!
7. For the Party-lovers
Dubai creek has plenty of options for entertainment, including cafes, restaurants, nightclubs and upscale shopping malls. A paradise for party-lovers, the place has lively bars and trendy cafes.
8. Roam in the streets of Al Fahidi
Explore the historic Al Fahidi district close to the waterfront. History-lovers will be fascinated by the elegant courtyard houses, traditional wind towers, museums and art galleries.
The amazing waterfront of the Dubai creek has a magical aura and its charm. The divine tour of the harbour tells the story of the ancient Arab culture through a series of attractions. Tourists from all over the world fell in love with Dubai’s glittery skylines and traditional architecture.
Dubai creek is a unique and exciting attraction in itself and also an epitome of beauty and elegance. From dinner on a cruise to shopping in the streets of Dubai, the breathtaking views of the harbour are worth every click.