I was fortunate to spend a few days in Dubai in 2010. We did all the usual tourist things; we shopped in the spice and gold souks, spent an evening in the Desert, visited an enormous mall and went sightseeing near the Burj Al Arab. All the usual glitz, glamour, and beautiful people.
Dubai isn’t all glass, diamonds and wealthy women out shopping though. There is incredible old architecture, some very down to earth places to visit, and then there’s Dubai Museum, which is a world away from the glass facades and conspicuous consumption.
Dubai Museum is located in the Al Fahidi Fort, built in 1787 and is the oldest existing building in Dubai. The museum was opened by the ruler of Dubai in 1971, with the aim of presenting the traditional way of life in the Emirate of Dubai. It includes local antiquities as well as artefacts from African and Asian countries that traded with Dubai. It also includes several dioramas showing life in the emirate before the advent of oil, in addition to artefacts from recent discoveries of treasures as old as 3000 B.C. It covers the archaeology and history of Dubai and is also a historic site by itself.
Dubai Museum is quiet and, being partly underground, wonderfully cool after roaming the souks in 40+ degree heat. There are signs everywhere saying “do not stand in the exhibits” or “do not touch the camel” but when I sidled up to a camel and had my photo taken with it the guard just smiled as thought he had seen it happen a thousand times before, and no doubt he had!
We haven’t got camels, moth-eaten looking pelicans, or even any guards, but we can provide an oasis of calm and quiet any time you are passing through South Taranaki – and we’d love to see you.