Dubai is one of those places that has a very distinct reputation; you’re not going for the culture, the history or the scenery, you’re going for the shopping, the money and the ritzy hotels. I mean, what is there to actually do apart from ogle at the money splashed around? At least, that’s what I thought before I went. As we only had a few days, I assumed our time would be spent mostly taking in the excessive new builds.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find pockets of history; the museum and the covered markets in the old part of town. Of course, there are a huge number of flashy hotels and massive skyscrapers as well! It’s definitely an unusual place; the people are a rough mix of expats, young Arabs working in hospitality and recent graduates working in the city. Just 11% of the population are native to the country. Can you imagine the UK with just 11% of the population being British? It is crazy.
I really loved the old town, where we got around via water taxi (as shown in the pictures) and I especially enjoyed Dubai Museum which is housed in the old fort. It is astonishing to think the fort was at one point the capitals main building for defence: a huge fixture on an otherwise empty landscape. Today it is not even the most notable building on that street- we actually walked past it and had to double back as it is surrounded by skyscrapers.
Dubai has undergone MASSIVE growth in the last century, with the population increasing from 3000 at the turn of the century to 2 million in 2013. As anybody who has been will tell you, building seems to be constantly ongoing with a development site every which way you turn. It was really bizarre to think about what it must have been like to watch this huge modern city spring up around you in an otherwise very empty part of the desert. Have you been to Dubai, and if so, what did you think?