Sebastian Sykes02 Jun 2019 AT 02:11 PM

Dubai's Deira markets get revamp

The old-town has had a bit of a makeover
Sebastian Sykes02 Jun 2019 AT 02:11 PM
Dubai's Deira markets get revamp

A project to revive the traditional markets of Dubai's Deira has been completed.

The revamped area, in one of the city's oldest trading places, has kept its character but gained some creative touches.

There's now a fancy new information centre at the entrance of the Grand Souq, with a second close to Al Ras Metro station. They offer tourist maps and information brochures on the traditional markets and historical landmarks.

Add some shades to the souks, development of the floors and ceilings, new signs at the markets and directions helping people get around and you have an altogether better tourist experience.

There are also new seats and street names and nameplates have been changed to reflect the heritage and traditional spirit of the place.

Those wanting to cross Dubai creek now have an abra station opposite the historic Shindagha district and a bus stop.

Dawoud Al Hajri, director general of Dubai Municipality, said: "Dubai has witnessed significant leaps in its development over the past few decades and has become a global trading and business hub in a short period of time.

"The retail sector in the region is supported by a range of modern markets that are among the most prominent in the world and attract some of the world’s prestigious international brands. However, this drive for modernity has not diminished the importance of traditional markets, which have been at the heart of the city’s commercial and economic life.

“We received clear directives from HH Sheikh Mohammed to give special attention to these traditional markets and restore the prestige they enjoyed over the decades, which gave them an important place in the emirate's history," Al Hajri added.

The Dubai Municipality project aimed to preserve more than 220 historical buildings by renovating their facades and restoring their historical and architectural uniqueness. The project also sought to enhance the urban spaces surrounding these buildings by modifying traffic routes to highlight the distinct character of the historic area.

The oldest commercial complex in Dubai was restored and rehabilitated following specialised studies focused on restoring the architectural authenticity of the markets. The shops were renovated according to the general requirements of the commercial area.

Dubai Municipality said it is currently reviewing a comprehensive plan for the development of the entire historical areas in Deira and Bur Dubai. It also includes the launch of a smart application that offers a tour of the market and information on its most important heritage features.

The market is the largest, oldest and most important in the area thanks to its direct connectivity with the harbour on the creek that enables it to receive merchandise from cargo ships from Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

Located along a narrow strip, the pedestrianised market featuring small shops has traditional air towers that cool the atmosphere. Large doors made of dark red wood add to the character of the place. The markets offer a wide range of merchandise including souvenirs, metal works, pots, trays, spices, perfumes, medicinal herbs, shawls and fabrics.