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5 places in Dubai that changed their names

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Tecom might now be Barsha Heights but it’s not the first part of Dubai we’ve learned to call something else. Fear not, Tecom residents, you’ll get used to it. There are plenty of places in Dubai that have changed their names over the years.

1. Al Bastakiya
Located on the Bur Dubai side of the Creek, this neighbourhood dates from the 1890s, settled by emigrés from the Iranian town of Bastak – who were fleeing high taxes in Persia. Sound familiar? Largely abandoned by the 1990s, it was taken over by the Historic Buildings Section of the Dubai Municipality, who then turned its alleyways and low buildings into a cultural and creative hub. In 2012, it was officially rebranded Al Fahidi Historical and Cultural Area after the 18th century fort in the area – although some claim this was the district’s original name.

2. Chicago Beach
We all know where this is… even if we don’t. This was the name given to the coastline now known as Jumeirah Beach, which runs in front of Jumeirah Beach Hotel and along the front of Madinat Jumeirah. Between the 1960s and 1990s, this was an open stretch of beach that became a popular weekend destination for UAE residents. In 1966, the area was chosen for the construction of three ”kazzans” or offshore oil storage tanks, and the company selected to build them was the Chicago Bridge and Engineering Company. It later became home to the 615-room Chicago Beach Hotel and Chicago Beach Village, a gated community that was demolished in 2001. The jetty to Pierchic restaurant is the last trace of the site’s industrial past.

3. Al Diyafah Street
In 2011, the road that runs from the World Trade Centre Roundabout to Jumeirah Beach Road was renamed December 2nd Street to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the UAE. The Satwa road leads to the giant flagpole, which was the site of Dar Al Ittihad, where the declaration of the UAE was signed on the December 2, 1971.

4. Cinema Square
Now known as Bani Yas Square, and before that Gamal Abdel Nasser Square, this open plaza in the heart of Deira was originally named after the open-air Al Watan Cinema, which used to play a selection of movies – mostly from Bollywood – in the 1960s.

5. Burj Dubai
The world’s tallest structure was given the name Burj Khalifa on its official inauguration on January 4, 2010, but throughout its construction – which began back in 2004 – it was known as Burj Dubai. Sounds strange now, right?

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