Tag Archives: souq

The Dubai Creek

Sunset Cruise

Khor Dubai (Dubai Creek) is the local name for the saltwater creek that separates Dubai into two main sections – Bur Dubai and Deira Dubai.  It is of great significance to the UAE, because it was here that trading first started between Dubai and traders from India and Africa, – as early as the beginning of the 20th Century. Although not deep enough for large vessels to enter, this creek became the first harbour that Dubai had. Dubai’s “Pearl Industry”  which formed a major section of the country’s economy was based on the trading that happened here.

Since then, this creek has had several changes, it has been dredged to accomodate larger vessel, and is today a major hub for the Dhow traffic that carries almost all forms of cargo, and Personal Effects from Dubai to the neighbouring countries. With the introduction of major ports like Port Rashid, Port Saeed and Jebel Ali, the significance of this route has diminished, but it still remains an important port for the Dhow traffic.

Today the Dubai side of the creek hosts the bustling Textile market and the Museum, while the Deira side has the traditional Spice market, the Gold Souq, the Dhow harbour, several impressive buildings, and a busy trading centre slightly inland.

The easiest, and probably the most enjoyable way, to cross the creek is by the “Abra”, – a traditional wooden craft, powered by an engine. It has a sunshade to protect you from the heat of the day, but thats about it !  You have to sit on a small raised platform in the middle of the Abra, as it makes it way across the creek. There are two points on either side of the creek that are connected via the Abra’s, and this mode of transportation is used by thousands of commuters daily.

The best time however to visit the creek is in the evening. Just as the sun is about to go down, take a stroll along the quay, and you see a flurry of activity as people hurry to get back home, and prepare for the next day. If you are patient enough, you get the whole creek turning a deep blue, reflecting the colours of the sky, as the day slowly turns into night, marking the end of another day.

 

 

 

 

 

The Spice Market

Simply Spices

 

A visit to the traditional spice market (or “Souq”, as it is called in Arabic, meaning “Market”) in Dubai is sure to leave you with a few memories that you will long remember.

Situated beside the Dubai Creek, this market has been here for a very long time. The market itself comprises of several narrow alleys paved with cobblestones. The pillars that hold the roof of the market are made of wood and have traditional lanterns suspended on them. There are several restored wind towers in this market which helps circulate the air, – the scents from the spices can at times be a little strong! The area is generally crowded and is a bustle of activity. There are local traders vying for the best bargains, while on the other hand there are scores of eager tourists/visitors trying to get the best experiences out of their visit to this market. There are several “free lance” porters with their traditional trolleys/handcarts,  transporting the goods from the stores to the trucks, or the nearby launches, for onward transportation.

The stores in the Spice Souq sell a large variety of fragrances and spices, Frankinsence, dried lemons, rose petals, chillies, and many herbs used in Arabic and South Asian food. Whilst the main attraction in this market is the large variety of spices that are available,  this is not the only commodity sold here. Walk past the first alley, and you will find utensils, glassware, foodstuff, textiles, tableware, rugs and plastic goods. There is also a huge variety of incense burners, henna kits, saffron and shisha pipes that you can choose from.

The market is not too large, but it gives you a fair idea as to how business is conducted here in the traditional manner. While shopping here in the summer months can be quite uncomfortable, its a nice market to visit in the cooler months. It is also in very sharp contrast to the posh markets and shopping areas that modern Dubai has to offer.

If you do visit Dubai, this is one of the places you must go to.