Traditional markets in Deira restored to glory

Street names and nameplates were changed to reflect the heritage and traditional spirit of the place.

The project to revive the traditional markets of Deira and preserve its distinctive architecture is now complete, announced the Dubai Municipality on Saturday.

This initiative is part of the development projects approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, last January during his visit to the Dubai Municipality headquarters.

Dawoud Al Hajri, director-general of the Dubai Municipality, said: “We received clear directives from Sheikh Mohammed to give special attention to these traditional markets and restore the prestige they enjoyed over the decades.

“Dubai has witnessed significant leaps over the past few decades and has become a global trading and business hub in a short period of time. However, this drive for modernity has not diminished the importance of traditional markets, which have been at the heart of the city’s commercial and economic life,” Al Hajri added.

The project works included installation of shades, development of the floor and ceiling, installation of market entry signboards and billboards, facilitating market connectivity and visitor traffic movement, as well as installing seating areas . Street names and nameplates were changed to reflect the heritage and traditional spirit of the place.

The oldest commercial complex in Dubai was restored and rehabilitated following specialised studies focused on restoring the architectural authenticity of the markets. The shops were renovated according to the general requirements of the commercial area. As part of ensuring its sustainability, traditional materials like coral stone, gypsum, palm branches and wood were used in the restoration project.

Two phases of development

The development of the Dubai markets was carried out in two phases, the first of which included the completion of the main information centre at the entrance of the Grand Souq in Deira. The information centre welcomes visitors, receives proposals from traders, and provides assistance and information for tourists. A second centre, built close to Al Ras Metro station, offers tourist maps and brochures on the traditional markets and landmarks.

The second phase of the traditional market development project included the addition of an abra station opposite the historic Shindagha district in addition to allocating a bus stop to give easy access to tourists. These sites will be implemented in conjunction with the Deira Waterfront Development project.

Historical significance

The traditional market in Deira district of Dubai is one of the most important commercial markets established since 1850. The market is the largest, oldest and most important in the area thanks to its direct connectivity with the harbour on the creek that enables it to receive merchandise from cargo ships from Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

Located along a narrow strip, the pedestrianised market featuring small shops has traditional air towers that cool the atmosphere. Large doors made of dark red wood add to the character of the place. The markets offer a wide range of merchandise including souvenirs, metal works, pots, tspices, perfumes, herbs and fabrics.