Saturday, December 02, 2006

Dubai, the good ol' days. Part 2

I really must be more diligent in posting my old photos regularly because whenever old ones appear on blogs people always ask to see more.

To set the scene I should start with some from another site, the poster unknown, that go back way before I first arrived in Dubai, which was in May 1977. (Just an aside - people were saying even then that Dubai was being spoiled, it wasn't like the good old days any more, and some of them packed up and left. Nothing changes).

Back to the photos. They're worth looking at because they answer the criticism that the old city has been levelled to make way for the new development. In reality the city was very small and almost all of the new development is being built on empty desert. There were areas that could have been preserved, but they were in the heart of the city, prime real estate and I guess that it must have seemed to make sense at the time to replace the mud & coral houses with large multi-storey buildings.

Dubai is very young and it was very small - it was settled by about 800 members of the Bani Yas tribe, led by the Al Maktoums, only in 1833. That was the beginning. One hundred and seventy three years ago, 800 people.

Even when I arrived there were quite a few of the original houses still standing - a few have been preserved in Bastakiyah and Shindagah. Basically mud with coral used as reinforcing they almost certainly wouldn't have lasted even if they hadn't been demolished. The population was only about 250,000 then.

Anyway, on to the photos:

The first is 1949 showing the extent of Dubai. Top left of course is Deira, bottom left is Shindagah and the buildings on the right are Bur Dubai. There wasn't much of it was there! Note that the Creek is silted up. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the then Ruler of Dubai, wisely invested in dredging it as part of his vision to continue developing Dubai as a major trading centre.

The next photo is Shindagah, the area that is now being preserved where possible and with other parts being re-built in the old style. The photo was taken in 1962.

And just one more of these really old photos, this one of Al Fahidi Fort, now the very much worth seeing Dubai Museum. Taken in 1950.

And on to photos I took when I arrived in Dubai in 1977. There were still quite a few of the old traditional houses and buildings, windtowers included.

And plenty of narrow alleyways with sand floors trodden hard over generations between the traditional buildings. There were very few made-up footpaths.

More to come on future postings. I'll give the links to the previous postings too, so anyone who wants to look through all the old photos can do so easily.

Previous posting is here


desert lady said...

Excellent photos. I especially love the last one of the alleyway. I think i'd forgotten that it used to be like that.

It's hard to believe that we lived within these communities.

Looking forward to seeing the rest!

Seabee said...

dl there are still areas like it - at some stage I'll post pics I've taken over the last few months that are not much different from these.

Anonymous said...

I have spent the afternoon looking through this blogger, it brought back so many great memories, it was hard to walk away from the computer. I arrived in Dubai around 1979, and used to take many photos on my walks around the Creek and Bur Dubai areas. But with travels to other countries during the last 30 years I have "lost" many of these precious tangent memories that I have to thank you seabee, for going down memory lane. Im sure we passed eachother and probably said a brief "Hello" as we meandered through the ally ways of this unique and well loved home we have adopted. I am still in Dubai and still taking photos (now digital). But will be checking this regularly as I have saved in Favorites. Thank you!

Seabee said...

Anon thank you, I'm pleased you enjoy the old Dubai as much as I do.
I do regret not taking many more photos in the old days, the dusty old souks, the bakeries and all the rest. I tended to take more photos of friends than the place itself, which now is a shame. I should have taken both!

Have you clicked on the link I have on the blog to Dubai As It Used To be? Fabulous memories on that site.