Shindagha, Bur Dubai, Deira and Al Fahidi districts will be restored and revamped to showcase Dubai’s rich history and Emirati heritage in three years.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, approved the plans to improve and develop Dubai’s Historical District, the oldest part of the city centred around Dubai Creek.
The initiative will be led by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), in collaboration with Dubai Municipality and Dubai Culture. The project will transform the area into the leading culture and heritage centre in the region, focusing on trade, crafts and the pearling industry.
The project will cover 1.5 sq km based on five pillars: tradition — focusing on Emirati culture and drawing upon the stories of the area; heritage — protecting historical buildings; trade — preserving traditional ‘souqs’ (markets) and reviving and celebrating traditional trade; community — sharing cultural experiences through restoring squares as gathering places for residents, and promoting performance arts; and finally place making – ensuring the original fabric of the area is preserved and made easy for visitors to navigate.
Khor Dubai [Dubai Creek] and the Historical District are the soul of the city and define our cultural legacy and our Emirati heritage. Apart from having contributed to the evolution of the city as a global hub for business by promoting trade and commerce, our community today celebrates the cultural identity of Dubai and serves as one of the most inspiring art centres,” said Abdul Rahman Al Owais, UAE Health Minister and Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (DCAA).
“Dubai Culture is honoured to partner in this ambitious initiative that will transform the city’s cultural heart, and create a vibrant destination that complements the vision of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to establish Dubai as an international cultural destination,” he added.
Cultural tourism is a key focus in attracting visitors to the emirate. The project will create new cultural and commercial opportunities and ultimately attract 12 million visitors to this historical district by 2020.
“The vision set by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid to sustain and grow our cultural heritage has set the foundation for our joint effort with DTCM and DCAA to create a strong and flagship development,” said Hussain Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality.
“Although the overall delivery will take three years, we are sure that the changes will be felt by visitors very soon. We are sure that this development will enhance our ability to register Khor Dubai as a Unesco World Heritage Site,” Lootah added.
More than 60 projects have been planned as part of the overall redevelopment including Al Shindagha Museum that which will feature 17 pavilions and have over 50 collections of historical and cultural artefacts on exhibit. It will also have a promenade that will connect the Al Shindagha area all the way to the Al Fahidi district to enable visitors to walk seamlessly between the areas of the development.
The area will also feature the Al Fahidi Fort and Al Sabkha as part of the largest open air historic district built around Khor Dubai.