When we started visiting Dubai, my first reaction was a mix of wonder and astonishment. The city looked like an occidental capital. From the airport to the buildings, from the underground to the cars, everything here is huge. The biggest airport in the world, the tallest/highest skyscraper in the world, this city clearly gives a message of power. Then you cannot miss the modernity: in the districts, the DIFC (Dubai international financial district), the Times Square, Downtown Dubai, the seven star hotel Burj Al Arab shaped as the sail of a boat, the architecture of all this part of the city is extremely new. Most of those constructions have been built in the last fifteen years which is quite impressive. More than half of the touristic attractions at the end of the nineties didn’t exist.
So, even if I found this characteristic interesting, I suddenly began to looking deeper in order to discover the traditional and cultural aspects of Dubai, the ones that clearly show you are in the capital of the second largest emirate of the UAE (United Arab Emirates). Our tour included a special visit of the Golden Souk, one of the most typical Dubai’s souks. Souk is the Arabic world for market and the Golden Souk is a traditional market located in the center of the commercial district in Deira, the old city, where you can find more than three hundred shops that sell gold. When you walk down those alleys, you are approached by local sellers every five minutes. They obviously talk to you in English but they are Arabs. Besides, you can see that you are in the old city because all the buildings around you are old houses with a few flats. To get to Deira from the harbor, you can take the abras, small boats that ferry passengers across the Dubai Creek and this experience is pleasant and instructive because you have a panoramic view of the new city with all the skyscrapers and, at the same time, the old one with its souks and its mosques.
One of the main attractions of Dubai is shopping, that’s why this city is nicknamed “the shopping capital of the Middle East”. In addition to the souks, you can find a lot of modern malls such as the Mall of the Emirates and above all the Dubai Mall, which is the largest mall in the world. From the entry to the aquarium, every detail here contributes to create the “wow effect”. All of the French and Italian luxury brands are accurately displayed on perfect windows of beautiful shops, for every woman’s dream all the most famous shoes designers are put forward in Level, the biggest shoes department in the world, all the restaurants are located in a beautiful area and, to enhance the whole experience, outside the food courtyard you can see the amazing show of the Dubai Fountains with water games accompanied by different kinds of music from the classic to the contemporary Arabic and world music. And you can admire the view of the Dubai skyline with the standing out Burj Khalifa, lighted up in many beautiful colors. That is one of the main examples of luxury made in Dubai, which is huge, modern, golden and bling-bling in harmony with the Emir’s taste.