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Written by Tanmayee on May 16, 2020 Share on

Take a peek into the history of Dubai – Then vs Now

What once was a fishing village has now emerged as a global metropolis and a prime business hub in Dubai. Looking back ten or fifteen years ago, who would’ve thought that this global metropolis would be built out of sand dunes. You must be wondering how Dubai has grown into becoming one of the most popular metropolia in the world. The guide below will take you back to the past to see the history of Dubai and its transformation.

Dubai was once a small community with 800 members of the Bani Yas Tribe lead by Maktoum bin Butti. The Bani tribe was interested in the natural harbour formed by the creek flowing through Dubai. They decided to turn the harbour into a small fishing and pearling centre. Later, the Bani tribe along with the Bedouins, the Arabian nomads, also settled near the creek. So, Dubai started off as a humble pearl-fishing village in 1833.

In 1894, trading got a major boost, which triggered the massive influx of foreign workers and thus the business was thriving. While this was a reasonably successful period, they were still mainly dependent on fishing and pearl diving. And when Japan invented artificial pearls, Dubai’s economic vulnerability was exposed. However, this didn’t last as long as everything changed when they discovered oil in 1966.

Dubai realized that majority of the revenue was from the oil reserves, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum decided to develop the oil sector rapidly and thus began the evolution of Dubai and the formation of the United Arab Emirates in the 1970s. And that’s how a newfound resource transformed Dubai from a small fishing village to a city of grandeur that we know today.

Dubai Then and Now

It is amazing to see how Dubai looked decades ago and how it has evolved into a stunning city over the years:

1. Sheikh Zayed Road In 1990 Vs Now

Sheikh Zayed Road in 1990
Image credits: Wikipedia

The longest road in the Emirates is the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. It is one of the main highways and connects all the seven emirates. The construction of this road begun back in 1971, and it took nine years for the construction to be completed. It was formerly known as the defence road and when the road was expanded, and along with this improvement, the name of the road was also changed. The ruler of Dubai at that time named the road after the then President of UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The Sheikh Zayed Road is also home to some of the architecturally marvellous buildings.

2. Dubai Marina In 2007 Vs Now

Dubai Marina in 2007
Image credits: Commom.wikipedia

Dubai Marina is a district in Dubai. It is an artificial canal city built across a stretch of 3kms of the Persian Gulf shoreline.  To form an artificial marina, the developers brought in water from the gulf into the designated site of Dubai Marina and created a man-made waterfront. It is home to some of the iconic architectures like the Jumeirah Beach Residence,  Masjid Al Rahim mosque, and the world’s largest mall- the Dubai Marina Mall. The Dubai Marina claims to be the world’s largest man-made marina.

Also Read: The Dubai Frame – A look at the past, present and future

3. Dubai Waterfront In 1954 Vs Now

Dubai Waterfront in 1954
Photo by Noor Ali on commons.wikimedia
Dubai Waterfront
Google Images

The Dubai waterfront is definitely another stunning landscape in the list of landscapes in Dubai. It was expected to be one of the largest waterfront and man-made establishment in the world. The Dubai Waterfront was designed to hold a number of canals and several man-made islands stretching across the coastline of Dubai reaching into the Persian Gulf. The Dubai waterfront is one of the most ambitious projects authorized in the world. The construction began in 2007, however, it has been on hold due to certain financial constraints.

Also Read: Monuments in Dubai

4. Dubai Creek In 1950 Vs Now

Dubai Creek in 1950
Photo by Jibran on Commons.wikipedia
Dubai Creek
Google Images

The Dubai Creek is a man-made waterway designed for the convenience of trade ships. Dubai creek plays a major role in the history of the city’s formation. The Bani Yas tribe lead by Al Makoutum settled near the creek, after their independence from Abu Dhabi.

The Bani tribe started their civilization near the Bur Dubai creek, thus paving the way for the Al Maktoum dynasty in the city. Now, Dubai Creek separates the city into two major sections – Deira and Bur Dubai.

5.Dubai Airport In 1965 Vs Now

Old Dubai airport
Photo by Patche99z on Commons.wikipedia
Dubai airport
Google Images

The first airport in Dubai was built in 1959 on the orders of the then ruler Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum. It was officially opened in 1960 with its first airstrip built on a 1,800m long runway made of compacted sand. Later the Dubai airport was expanded and became one of the top airports in the world.

6. Downtown Dubai In 2000 Vs Now

Downtown Dubai
Google Images
Famous Dubai Downtown
Photo by David Rodrigo on Unsplash

Downtown Dubai what once used to be an empty land is now the city’s busiest tourism hub. Downtown Dubai has grown into becoming one of the most popular places to stay for tourists when they are visiting the city. The downtown area has become popular as it offers some of the city’s largest landmarks, a wide array of restaurants and cafes, and high-end accommodation. Downtown Dubai is home to some of the architectural marvels such as Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, and Dubai Fountain.

Also Read: Museums in Dubai

7.Deira Clocktower In 1969 Vs Now

 Dubai Clock Tower
Google Images

Dubai’s Clock Tower is positioned in the middle of Deira and it was constructed back in the year 1963. Settled at the very gateway of Maktoum Bridge which serves as an essential link between Bur Dubai and Deira. Back in the 1960s, the clock tower was an undeveloped structure surrounded by nothing but sand. However, today the same structure has become one of the most happening hubs of Dubai.

8.Dubai World Trade Center In 1980 Vs Now

Dubai world trade centre
Photo by Creativesaravana on Wikimedia

The Dubai world trade centre is a 38-story building constructed in the year 1979. The Dubai world trade centre is the first tallest building in the history of the United Arab Emirates. Later it was surpassed by the many architectural wonders built in Dubai. The trade centre was built for the purpose of conducting events and exhibitions. The Dubai world trade centre has played a major role in shaping the economic history of Dubai.

Also Read: Bastakia In Old Dubai

9.Dubai Jumeirah Mosque In 1974 Vs Now

Jumeirah Mosque
Photo on Wikimedia

Jumeirah Mosque – The construction of the Jumeirah mosque began in 1976 and it took over 3 years for completion. The mosque which can accommodate up to 1200 worshippers has been built from white stone in the traditional Fatimid style, with twin minarets overlooking a large central dome. As the Mosque follows the open doors open mind policy, it welcomes visitors from all faiths to appreciate the architectural beauty and learn about its culture.

You must add this stunning city to your travel bucket list and see how it has evolved into the magnificent cosmopolitan that is it. So, start planning your Dubai holiday packages with Pickyourtrail and get experts’ advice for your customised itinerary.

Also Read: Top 20 Arabian Souvenirs to Bring Home from Dubai

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