Top Ten Arabic Words

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

Dubai is a melting pot. Step outside and you’ll hear people speaking in English, French, Russian, Hindi, Urdu, Swahili and a dozen other languages from all over the world. However, the true language of the Emirati people is Arabic. If you want to get around in Dubai, it’s helpful to know a few basic Arabic phrases. Here is our guide to Top Ten Arabic Words to help you in the UAE.

Greetings

The formal way to greet someone in Arabic is Assalam Alaikum, which means “Peace be with you.” It’s the phrase you would use when greeting a business colleague, a teacher, an elderly person or anyone else you would like to be particularly respectful of. The response to this phrase is Walaikum Assalam, which means “and to you peace.” If you would prefer a more casual greeting, there are many words in Arabic for hello. The most common words are Marhaba and Ahlan, which can be used as hello or welcome interchangeably. A tourist newly arrived in Dubai will likely hear those words used as they enter the country and encounter the famous Arabian hospitality. Definitely the first of the Top Ten Arabic words to help you in the UAE.

You can also use greetings based on the time of day. In English, people who hear these sorts of greetings usually just repeat them back – so someone who hears
“Good morning” responds by saying “Good morning” back. In Arabic, the response is a continuation of the original greeting. Sabah Al Khayr is “good morning” and the response to that is Sabah Al Noor, which means “a morning of light.”

How are you?

In Arabic, you sometimes need to alter your speech based on whether you are addressing a man or a woman. When asking ‘how are you?’ there is a slight difference in pronunciation depending on whom you are addressing. When asking a man, you say Kayf Halak and when addressing a woman, you say Kayf Halik. The response to this is usually Zayn, Al Hamdu Lillah, which means “Fine, praise be to God.”

What is your name?

The people of Dubai are very friendly, especially to tourists. You’ll likely be meeting many new people and introducing yourself to them throughout your journey. To ask someone his or her name, say Ma Ismakh. You can reciprocate by saying Ismii…, which means “My name is….”

Yes and No

These simple words are a great way for you to participate in an Arabic conversation even if you don’t have much to say.  Yes is Na’am and No is La.

God willing

You’ll often hear the phrase Insha’Allah peppered into conversations in Dubai, even in conversations taking place in English. The phrase simply means ‘God willing’ or ‘by the grace of God.’ It is a way of acknowledging that we do not have full control over our own fate. For example, someone might say, “I’ll have it ready by tomorrow, insha’allah,” in order to speak about their own plans while still acknowledging that unforeseen circumstances could arise.

I don’t understand

For a tourist in a new country, it’s important to be able to admit to your limitations. If you’re struggling to comprehend what someone is speaking, try saying La Afham, which simply means, “I don’t understand.”

I am lost

This is definitely another useful phrase for a tourist. Ada’tu tareeqi means “I am lost.” If you do get lost when in Dubai, don’t be overtly worried. You’ll find the people here are extremely friendly and they will usually be happy to help a tourist get their bearings.

Please and Thank you

Mind your manners! Please in Arabic is MinFadlak and thank you is Shukran. Why not try using these words the next time you are ordering a meal at a restaurant or purchasing something from a store? It’s sure to make your transaction go smoother.

How much?

Dubai is a city that celebrates shopping, whether it’s in a glitzy mall or in a crowded souk. By saying Kam Ath-Thaman you can inquire about the cost of an item, to help you as you bargain.

Knowing a little bit of the local language can help you a lot when visiting a new country. We hope you’ve found this guide to Top Ten Arabic words to help you in the UAE helpful. Give the language a try and soon you’ll be signing up to learn even more!

Dubai Emaar Public Art Work

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

Dubai has a fine collection of art galleries, displaying luxurious works of art from all corners of the globe. Visitors to Dubai can wander their polished halls or take a more in-depth look through one of our Art Tours. However, for visitors who want to see the art of the city as a part of the city, they should look no further than Downtown Dubai’s Emaar Boulevard. The area is host to a collection of fine public artworks specially commissioned to truly capture the spirit of the city. In this post, we’ll describe some of the most eye-catching pieces of Dubai Emaar Public Art Work.

100 colours100 colours

This is one of the newer pieces on the boulevard and certainly one of the biggest. It was created by French artist Emmanuelle Moureaux and it spans across 1km of the boulevard. The installation consists of 300 gates, each stretched over with hand-dyed fabric that together encompass the entire colour spectrum. The bright hues and the length of the chain make this piece perfectly Instagram-worthy. And if you do make the opportunity to sneak a selfie with this breath-taking piece of public art, know that you’ll be in good company. 100 colours has previously been displayed in cosmopolitan cities all over the world, like Tokyo, Osaka, Brussels and Buenos Aires.

Life Size Andalucian I

The Arabian Peninsula has a strong history of horse rearing and racing. Life Size Andalucian I, by sculptor Vincent Da Silva, is a tribute to the city’s illustrious equestrian heritage. The piece was cast in bronze and stands at 1.8 meters high and 2.6 meters long. The figurative piece represents the fluidity of a horse in motion and carefully captures the feeling kinetic energy and wild power found in these majestic beasts.

Camels

camel

This simply named sculpture represents the animal that is truly a symbol of the Arabian Gulf. Camels, by Donald Greig, is a series of three life-size sculptures of the humble beasts. The trio includes a standing camel, a seated one and a camel calf. Greig is an artist known for his sculptures of wildlife and he created Camels after spending hours observing and riding camels. The sculptures were then melded into silicone and cast into wax. After, they were dipped to add 15 layers of ceramic and finally finished off with molten bronze. The tallest of the camels stands at 3 meters and weights about 800 kilograms.

Al Sidra

Al Sidra is a free-shaped bronze sculpture. Kuwait sculptor Sami Mohamed Al Saleh has created this beautiful sculpture. It is located on the boulevard next to Al Manzil Hotel. The sculpture’s inspiration comes from the humble Sidra tree. It is a native species of plant life known for its ability to grow in the harshest of conditions. According to the artist, the piece is also meant as a tribute to the resilience of Arabian women, with their ability to thrive despite any challenges they may face along the way.

Together

together

Syrian artist Lutfi Romhein has created this striking piece. It consists of two tall figures standing side by side. One is made of white marble and features a man dressed in a khandoura. The other is made of black granite and depicts a woman wearing an abaya. The marble for the male figure is from Carrara, Italy while the granite for the female hails from Sweden. The two figures are quite imposing, standing at 4.25 meters high. By positioning them together, the piece depicts how one cannot exist without the other and how together, they are stronger than they are apart.

Gathering

Gathering is a cluster of ten basalt sculptures created by Spanish sculptor Xavier Cobero. The ten figurines weight over 20 tonnes and are meant to be artistic renderings of the human form. They stand with the Burj Khalifa as a backdrop and according to the artist, he feels there is a special connection between his work and the famous skyscraper, as both invoke feelings of ‘nature, imagination and reality.’

 

Art in Dubai is not locked away – it’s a part of the city itself. A simple stroll along Emaar Boulevard will lead you to a trove of stunning works of public art. We hope you’ve found our guide to the public art on Downtown Dubai’s Emaar Boulevard useful. Make sure to take some pictures the next time you are by!

 

 

Top Art Hotels in UAE

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

The UAE has a growing reputation as an artistic destination. We ourselves have launched our Art Tours of Dubai, to help you explore the creative side of the city.  While you may expect to see art in museums and galleries, you might be unaware that certain hotels are incorporating art into the guest experience, allowing you to witness the creativity of the region without ever leaving the lobby. Here, we take you through the top Art Hotels in UAE.

XVA Art Hotel

xva

This small boutique hotel is probably the city’s most famous example of an Art Hotel. There are only 14 rooms, each individually curated to showcase the architectural and cultural motifs of the region. One room will be themed based on the hand decorating practice of henna, another around the Emirati clothing item the Dish dash and so on. The sense of heritage is strong in this hotel, as it is located in Bastakiya, the city’s heritage district (and the site of our Old Dubai Walking Tours!). In addition to the stylized rooms, the hotel also boasts its own art gallery for guests and other visitors to see examples of local works.  The vibe of this hotel is very unique and its small size allows for a more tranquil guest experience. However, it’s important to note that while the service is friendly and the hotel well cared for, don’t expect the little extras like fluffy white towels and chocolates on the pillows – this place is far too trendy for that.

Dusit D2 Kenz

Dusit D2 Kenz is a contemporary hotel conveniently located by the Dubai Internet City Metro Station in Barsha Heights. Emirati artist Zeinab Al Hashemi designed the artwork in this hotel, inspired by the shape of a dhow’s sail. The artworks vary from a striking installation hanging from the hotel’s lobby to blue prints of a ship framed in individual rooms. The sculptures in particular are of note, making use of geometric lines of metal and wood accented with rope and twine. The entire experience is a game changer. It transforms the contemporary hotel into a canvas that showcases Dubai’s history in a modern fashion. The hotel itself is part of a Thai based chain, so visitors can be certain of exemplary hospitality while there. Make sure to enjoy the rooftop pool or take advantage of the D’Stress Spa for an incredible massage and body wrap.

Jumeirah Creekside Hotel

The hotel is in the heart of Dubai overlooking the Dubai Creek. It is a fusion of contemporary design and architecture and offers a cultural experience through the

Middle Eastern contemporary art collection. If you want to connect with the local culture, then this is the place to be. The art collection is well placed throughout the hotel and its grounds. It comprises of 482 works by over 51 contemporary artists including paintings, sculptures and mixed media works. The collection is curated by Camelia Esmaili, the founder of I’Atelier Camelia.

Ritz Carlton DIFC

Located in the heart of Downtown Dubai, Ritz Carlton DIFC is a 5 star accommodation which is a treat to your senses. Canvas Atlanta- the Art collection incorporates keys elements of Emirati culture. The falconry, pearls, Arabic architecture, flora and fauna reflect a true eclectic grouping of work. Canvas has created a mix of work that is international in flavor, yet shows a reference to the local and regional style.

Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort

Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort is the only art inspired resort in Fujairah. The hotel is ideally situated for excursions, be it hiking, diving, snorkeling or scuba diving. This exclusive retreat boasts 180 rooms, each with a view of the ocean or marina. The pieces on display are sourced from all over the world. A design best described as bohemian meets art deco with a touch of arabesque. One of the most striking pieces on display is a six-meter long canvas decorated with seven layers of Arabian calligraphy done in a graffiti style. It’s a wonderful juxtaposition of old and new. Other striking pieces include giant ostrich egg sculptures in the waiting areas and an installation of framed vintage jewels. The piéce de résistance, however, lies in the mosaic-tiled pool, with its beautiful blue scrolling pattern that nods to the traditional Arabesque designs.

Rove Downtown Hotel

The Rove Downtown Hotel is a mid-market hotel located just a short walk away from the Burj Khalifa. The hotel appeals to the young and the young at heart, and trendy artwork is part of the guest experience. The entire building is Instagram-friendly, with plenty of quirky pieces scattered around the common areas (including some that incorporate hashtags!). There is a sense of discovery to the art here. A caravan of camels are fixed to the ceiling feet first, graffiti stencil designs are sprayed high on the wall or near the corner of the ground and a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ with mixed media pieces stands proudly in the lobby. All of this adds to the feel of art truly infusing the location.

Noon Art Boutique Hotel Apartments

This art-inspired boutique hotel features the works of three regional artists. They are the Emirati Najat Makki, the Qatari Ali Hassan and the Tunisian Khaled Bin Simane. The works of these artists are presented collectively on different levels of the hotel.  Makki’s work has a strong nod towards feminine figures, to acknowledge the key role played by Arabian women in society. Hassan specializes in calligraphy, with his pieces for the hotel playing on the Arabic letter ‘noon.’ And Simane’s passion lies in ceramics, following the tradition of Islamic pottery and punching it up with bold shots of color. These three unique perspectives combine to create a cohesive homage to the region’s landscape. The hotel itself is located in Al Barsha, behind Mall of the Emirates and possesses a plethora of modern conveniences.

There is a lot of wonderful art in the city – even in places you would not immediately expect.  If you want to be inspired by the creative vibe of the region, why not consider booking a stay at one of the UAE’s art hotels? You’ll enjoy a unique guest experience and take home some memorable photographs to boot.

Islamic Art

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

Islamic art is a term that encompasses a variety of visual arts that began from the 7th century onwards, hailing from regions of the world with strong Islamic populations. As you can imagine, this encompasses a great deal. In this post, we’ll provide an introduction into Islamic art.

Islamic Art vs. Religious Art

One of the most interesting aspects to note about Islamic art is that it is not synonymous with religious art. Western audiences may erroneously think it similar to the paintings of Biblical scenes that can often be found in European museums. But in fact, Islamic art frequently includes secular elements as well – the name is more in reference to a region than to a religion.

Islamic Patterns

Interestingly, Islamic art usually does not focus on depictions on figures. This is usually avoided, as the depiction of the human form can, to certain Muslims, be seen as a form of idolatry. Instead, Islamic art has a great focus on patterns in various forms – geometric, floral and even calligraphic. The two main forms of Islamic patterns are specifically arabesque and girih.

Arabesque patterns are curved-patterns that recreate foliage and other forms of curving tendrils. The sweeping, scrolling designs bring to mind the beauty of nature. Artists who work in this style traditionally would include a small misstep in the pattern. This was seen to be a sign of humility and an acknowledgement that only God is able to create something perfect.

Girih patterns are more angular. They are made up of interlocking geometric lines that usually take the shape of stars or other polygons. These patterns are carefully made with the help of compasses or dividers to ensure perfect symmetry. Girih patterns are often seen in tiles in Islamic buildings.

islamic art

 

Islamic Pottery

Islamic art is also quite noted for its beautiful ceramics and pottery. Historic Islamic potters developed cutting edge technology at that time. Furthermore, this allowed the creation of pieces that were truly unique and beautiful. Also, Islamic potters were among the first to develop the technique of tin-opacified glazing. The whiteness and opaqueness created by this form of glazing encouraged decoration with colour. Lustre ware was another Islamic technique, first developed in Mesopotamia in the 9th century. Lustre ware is a technique that gives the ceramics a metallic glaze, so that the ceramic maintains a striking iridescent glow.

Islamic pottery was highly sought after by European collectors. One example of this is the albarello, a type of jar used by apothecaries to store their ointments and herbs. These jars were usually highly decorated. When they were first brought to Italy by traders in the 15th century, they became very fashionable. Italian potters used these Islamic designs as inspiration and worked to create and decorate albarellos in a style of  their own.

islamic art

 

Islamic Carpentry

Islamic rugs, better known as Oriental rugs, are probably the Islamic art product that is most known to the rest of the world. In the Islamic world, these rugs can be seen in various forms, from floor coverings to prayer mats to even cushions. The earliest patterns of Islamic carpets were decorated with straight geometric lines, which were the simplest to do with the techniques available at that time. As techniques improved, the patterns changed to incorporate the curving arabesque loops that are now most common in Oriental rugs. Common designs usually have a central medallion-style motif called a gul, with wide, bold borders. These pieces can make a striking addition to any household. Therefore, it’s no wonder that these rugs have become famous throughout the world.

Islamic Calligraphy

Islamic calligraphy is found in countless forms of Islamic art products – coins, tiles, metalwork, paintings and even the walls of buildings. The practice of Islamic calligraphy is tied into the Qur’an and religious practice. Writing is a central notion in Islam. In fact, it is claimed that the Prophet Mohammed once said, “The first thing God created was the pen.”

Several styles of Islamic calligraphy have arisen, but the most popular two are specifically kufic and naskh.

Kufic: This is the oldest form of the script, which focuses on angular, rigid strokes. While it is at heart a linear form of writing, floral or foliated versions have also developed over time.

Naskh: Naskh is a cursive script. Originally, it was considered informal as it lacked the discipline and elegance of the traditional kufic mode of writing. However, as Islam grew more popular, the need for a script that could be written out faster grew. The Naskh style was in fact developed to combine the ease of cursive with the neatness of a defined writing system. Soon this became the most popular style of Islamic calligraphy.

Today, examples of Islamic calligraphy in the UAE can be seen everywhere from the lobbies of modern Arabian buildings to contemporary artworks made by up-and-coming Emirati artists.

 

Islamic art takes many shapes and forms. The list above is a just a small selection of what the term encompasses. We hope you found this introduction to Islamic art useful. If you’d like to learn more about Islamic art and its prevalence in everyday  Arabian life, our Art Tour of Dubai takes you to see insightful examples of what the forms looked like in the past and what they look like today.

Top Emirati Artists

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

The UAE is home to glamorous buildings along with its stunning coastlines and breathtaking sand dunes. Amidst all this beauty, it’s no wonder that the country has incubated a collection of find Emirati artists. These creatives draw inspiration from the city around them and the traditions they grew up in. Furthermore, they interpret what they see in new and exciting ways for the public. In this post, we’ll highlight a collection of the top Emirati artists.

 Zeinab Al Hashemi

Zeinab Al Hashemi is a contemporary artist who often takes inspiration from Emirati cultural traditions. She has a unique ability to look at what is popular and then interpret it into something totally unique. She specializes site-specific installations and public artworks, which she refers to as ‘Construction Design Art’ that straddle the boundary between art and design.

Her work can be seen in the hotel lobby of Dusit D2 Kenz Hotel. It is an installation of a Dhow Sail that hangs from the ceiling. It is inspired first fictional work of Emirati literature (Shahinda) by Sheikh Rashid Abdullah Al Nuaimi published in UAE. The love story is about the title character’s relationship with the sea and the Desert which is depicted in the installation.

dhow

In 2016, she collaborated with Swarovski for a project “Hexalite”, an outdoor Kaleidoscopic Installation at Dubai Design District. The work was the centerpiece at D3 with Swarovski crystals and 33 hexagonal mirrored-steel structures that reflected after dark. No wonder, she is one of the top Emirati artists.

hexalite

Hassan Sharif

Hassan Sharif was one of the most prominent Emirati artists. He is known for pioneering conceptual art in the Middle East. His work is difficult to categorize, as he was constantly challenging himself to try new and unexpected ideas. In fact, this tendency led him to refer to himself as a nomad (a tongue-in-cheek designation, as he actually spent the majority of his life in Gulf). Some of his most interesting works were created using trash from the streets of Dubai – newspapers, ropes, cardboard boxes and threadbare cloths. All his work, from 1970 till his death in 2016, was infused with an intense energy that captured the hustle and bustle of the city. Truly, he was the grandfather of conceptual art in the Middle East and his influence is felt even after his passing.

Mohammed Kazem

Mohammed Kazem is one of Sharif’s best-known protégés and a famed conceptual artist in his own right. He works primarily with video, sound, photography and performance. A common theme in his work involves looking at transient phenomena, such as light and sound. He finds ways to make his work more tangible. It’s a fitting motif for a man who has lived his life in the UAE, and seen the many changes the city has gone through.

To learn more about the history of Dubai, check out our walking tour of Old Dubai

Abdul Qader Al Rais

Abdul Qader Al Rais is an award-winning painter. A self-taught artist, he began his artistic journey by painting watercolours of the UAE’s landscape and architecture. He gained acclaim for these photorealistic paintings, that capture the likeness of the city in impressive detail. Eventually, he became drawn to more contemporary modes of expression. Today, he also creates abstract paintings incorporating Arabic letters. He uses small geometric squares which makes his work noticeable.

Abdullah Al Saadi

Abdullah Al Saadi‘s works span a broad range-paintings, drawings, found object sculptures and more. He grew up in the beautiful region of Khor Fakkan. The natural beauty and rural life of his hometown has informed his works. One of his most poignant works is “My Mother’s Letters,” a collection of objects – chocolates, rocks, string –  that his illiterate mother would leave in his house as small tokens to let him know that she has stopped by.  Many of his works involved some aspect of collecting and finding order in the rural world.

Ebtisam AbdulAziz

Ebtisam AbdulAziz is a contemporary artist whose works center around geometry and mathematics. One of her earliest and most memorable works – involved standing in a black bodysuit printed with bright green numbers taken from her bank statements. It is a searing commentary on the materialism that infects our humanity, and a brave artistic expression for an Emirati woman to make in such a public manner. Her works have continued to be bold and daring, while still maintaining her dedication to mathematics and systems

Maisoon Al Saleh

Maisoon Al Saleh is an Emirati painter in the surrealist style. Her works show a fascination with anatomy and contain a recurring skeleton motif. Her haunting paintings work to comment on Emirati culture, both traditional and modern. One of her most well-known works is an exhibition called The Dara Chronicles. It is a mixed media series that focuses on a ship that wrecked off the coast of Dubai in the 1960s.  Al Saleh’s grandfather was a survivor of the incident, adding a special poignancy to the work.

The UAE is home to some fine Emirati artists who are pushing boundaries while paying homage to their traditions. Plenty can be learnt about the city through its artists and their works. If you’d like to know more, be sure to check out our Art Tours of Dubai, which take you on a creative journey through the city.

 

The Yard Dubai

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

The people behind the developments like La Mer and The Beach JBR, The Meeras Group has come up with a new development destination. The new destination, The Yard Dubai has been unveiled recently and is definitely a place worth visiting. In this post, we will tell you all about The Yard Dubai.

What is The Yard ?

The Yard Dubai is a whole new area to explore in Dubai. It is a 350,000 sq. ft extension to the existing Last Exit D89 . The destination features playful mural, similar to the Art Work across buildings in La Mer.

The Yard comprises a rustic courtyard, an organic farmer’s market, a bakery, a lake with two bridges spanning it, shaded walking trails. The inspiration behind this is Dubai’s agricultural heartland, showing a blend of rural farm environment with urban accents. It also has air-conditioned and open-air restaurants and dining spaces.

The place is perfect for you to get beautiful pictures for your Instagram account. The 18-m high wind wall, wishing well, decorative vintage trucks scream “Instagram me”!

Now open to public, it is aimed to be a 2.8 million sq. ft “urban destination” project. The Yard is open 24*7.

Where is The Yard Located?

It is located in the Al Khawaneej area on the outskirts of the city, near Mushrif Park.

How do I get to The Yard?

If you want to use public transport for going to The Yard, you can take a bus from Rashidiya Metro station bus stop. RTA Buses F05 and 11A take you to Mushrif Veterinary and it is approximately a 2km walk from there. The most convenient way is to go by car or a cab. There is plenty of free parking and drop off points at the location.

What is the highlight of  The Yard?

Dubai’s first “Promise Bridge” is located here. Also known as the love locks bridge, it is an ode to the original bridge in Paris, Ponts des Arts. People make symbolic promises to their loved ones here, by attaching padlocks with usually their names on them

Stepping stones from here lead to the 550m walkway.

What are some good restaurants at the Yard Dubai?

Krush Burger: Burgers are always a favourite for everyone. And extra cheese and fries make it even better. This food truck serves Fast Food and American Burgers.

The Inventing room: This food truck satisfies your dessert cravings. Their frozen hot chocolate is a recommended drink.

Mooyah: The food truck also serves fast food but their Loaded fries is what people generally order.

 

Meeras is creating imaginative and exciting family friendly destinations for Dubai residents. There are plans to host community events to bring residents and visitors in Al Khawaneej area together to socialise, create and innovative. It would be exciting to see The Yard Dubai once it is fully constructed.

 

Sikka Art Festival 2018

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

Dubai has a thriving art scene which is all because of the passion and support of the city’s residents and the government. Sikka Art Festival is one of the many festivals during the Art Season in Dubai. In this post, we will tell you all about Sikka Art Festival 2018 and why should you visit it.

What is the Sikka Art Festival?

Sikka Art Festival is an initiative by Dubai Culture and part of the multiple events during the Art Season that goes on from March 1 to April 30. The other festivals are Art Dubai, Emirati Lit Festival, Dubai Canvas etc. The festival is proud to encourage local emerging talents and focuses on the work of artists based in UAE and GCC regions. It is a combination of visual arts, performing arts, music and film. This year highlights the eighth edition of the Sikka Art Fair.

sikka- dubai by foot

What does the word “Sikka” mean?

The word Sikka means alleyways of Bastakiya. The place, Bastakiya is one of the oldest heritage sites in the city. Now known as the Al Fahidi Historical neighborhood, this area dates to the early 1900s.

When is the Sikka Art Festival held?

The ten-day event is held from March 17 to March 26 this year.

What are the timings for Sikka Art Festival?

Saturday, March 17: 6pm-11pm

Sunday, March 18: 6pm-10pm

Monday, March 19: 6pm-10pm

Tuesday, March 20: 6pm-10pm

Wednesday, March 21: 6pm-10pm

Thursday, March 22: 6pm-11pm

Friday, March 23: 5pm-12am

Saturday, March 24: 5pm-12am

Sunday, March 25: 6pm-10pm

Monday, March 26: 6pm-11pm

How do you reach the Sikka Art Festival?

If you plan on visiting by metro, you can get down on the Al Fahidi metro station on the green line. Take Exit 3 and walk straight for about 10 mins. You will reach Bastakiya, the venue for Sikka Art Festival. If you are new to Dubai, your can use this metro guide.

There is parking available behind Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, if you plan on visiting the fair by car.

If cabs are the option for you, you can book cabs through Careem and get 15% off on two rides. You can use the code “SIKKA2018”. This code is only valid through the Sikka Fair dates. Use Pick up/ Drop off point to “Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood”.

What are the different Workshops I can attend during the Sikka Art Festival?

There will be more than 40 free workshops for both kids and adults. You will have a lot of creative choices to choose from. Some of the Workshops are as follows:

The Poetry hood by Dubai Poetics: This workshop gives opportunity to spoken words artists to share their work and receive feedback, moderated by Farah Chamma. Venue House 12

Hedaf Portrait Workshop: Children will use egg cartons to create a painting of themselves in 3D form. Venue: Courtyard C | Booth

Oil Pastel Workshop: This workshop will teach participants to paint a portrait of the city using oil pastels by Ella. Venue: Courtyard C Booth and Open Area

Blind Folded Art Therapy: This event is for both adult and kids. This activity lets emotions flow off by painting to music beats. The activity is held by Sana Shyam.

You can check the Sikka 2018 website for the complete list of workshops and for any workshop registration.

Which events are happening on all ten days of the Sikka Art Festival 2018?

Award winning Emirati photographers Yousef Bin Shakar Alzaabi and Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansoori will present their latest photographic works at #Sikka18 . Yousef and Khalil travel the world to find the perfect shot and send a global message through their photography. There will be Emirati photographer Ahlam AlBannai, whose work shows cultural exchange and knowledge of diverse cultures.  Ahmed Alanzi, an Emirati artist will show his work “The contemporary Bedouin”, to break boundaries between Emirati values and global community and show that Emiratis should weave their own interpretations of local identity.

If you are an avid lover of art, in any form, we would definitely recommend you to attend the Sikka Art Fair and even attend a workshop!

 

Make the most of your Cruise!

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

There’s nothing quite so luxurious or adventurous as a cruise vacation. You get the thrill of the high seas combined with the comfort of a five-star hotel. Dubai, with its strategic position by the Arabian Sea, serves a s a port of call to many such cruises, from quick jaunts to Oman to long voyages across the East. While a cruise is an invitation to kick back and relax, you’ll be able to make the most of your cruise with a little planning first. Here are our tips to fully help you to Make the most of your Cruise..

Pack light

pack- dubai by foot

Your storage area on the ship is likely to be a bit cramped. Because of this, we recommend sticking to the basics when you pack – swimsuits, lounge wear and light walking outfits. One area we do recommend packing a bit extra for? Cocktail attire. A cruise liner provides a unique opportunity to really dress up for the evening and add some glamor to the sun and sail.

Know the layout early

You don’t want to get lost while on holiday. When you first board, take the time to familiarize yourself with the layout of the ship. Chat with the stewards and learn the quickest ways to get to the main areas of the ship – you’ll be thankful you did so.

Research your ports-of-call

Once the ship comes to dock, you’ll have a chance to disembark and explore. You don’t want to miss the opportunity, so your best bet is to sign up for a local walking tour. Not only will you get to really immerse yourself in the city, you’ll appreciate the chance to properly stretch your legs after being on deck for so long. Free Tours by Foot offers a selection of walking tours in Dubai and other major cities throughout the world.

Make new friends

People generally choose to go on a cruise with friends and family. However, the cruise ship will attract people from all over the world. It’s a wonderful opportunity to expand your horizons and meet new people. Their unique perspective will enhance your own experience.

Know the tipping policy

tip- dubai by foot

Different cruise liners have different tipping procedures. Some require cash, others use specialized cruise cards and others have a no-tip policy. To avoid embarrassment or overpaying, we recommend making some inquiries beforehand. This will ensure a smooth stay on board.

Watch out for water

Whether it’s the spray of the sea, the splash of a pool or the spill of a cocktail, cruise-goers are at risk of having their electronics harmed by water. We recommend investing in a cheap, water-proof camera, that will allow you to take pictures in splash-zones without having to worry. Also, make sure to pack a few Ziploc bags, which will allow you to carry your phone and any other electronic device without worrying about potential water damage.

Take care with time-zones

As you sail, you might end up crossing time-zones. It’s important to keep track as you move along, especially if you make plans to meet up with friends, or if you want to catch one of the on-board entertainment shows.

Plan for slow Internet

When out on the high seas, you’ll be relying on satellite Internet, which can be painfully slow. Therefore, for any projects and tasks that require a high bandwidth, make sure to complete them ahead of time, or plan to only work on them whenever the ship has docked.

Be prepared for sun and sea

The weather conditions on a cruise ship can be harsh. Make sure you pack plenty of sunscreen to protect your skin when lounging by the pool. Also, as the sea air can be quite drying, try and pack some extra hair conditioner as well – your locks will thank you.

 

A cruise vacation is a chance for you to have some fun. With these tips, you can be sure to enjoy it to the fullest. Then, all that’s left is for you to don your sunglasses, grab a lounge chair and let the waves take you forward.

 

Top 10 Places to Visit in Muscat

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

A vacation or cruise to Oman is a popular getaway for those living in Dubai. In particular, Oman’s capital, Muscat, has a variety of attractions, from glorious mosques to fascinating museums to tranquil beaches. In this post, we’ll go over the top 10 places to visit in Muscat.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

sultan qaboos mosque- dubai by footThis stunning mosque is an absolute must-see for any visitor to Muscat. It lives up to its royal name. The chandelier is plated with 24 carat gold and made with over 600,000 Swarovski crystals. Further more, the Persian carpet is one of the largest in the world. The entire building is massive, capable of hosting up to 20,000 worshippers, and the walls are adorned with intricate mosaic designs. This is one of the few mosques in the city that welcome non-Muslims to enter and tour. The mosque is open to tourists from Saturday to Thursday, from 8:00 to 11:00.

The Royal Opera House

Seeing an opera is always a grand cultural event. But the splendour of Muscat’s royal opera house makes it well worth a visit just to see the beautiful building. The Royal Opera house is the leading arts and culture center in Oman. The style of the building pays homage to Eastern, Islamic and Western influences, in a nod to the different cultural events hosted here. The building also makes use of clever methods of sound projection, to ensure a vivid concert experience. For only 3 OMR, visitors can book a tour of the building to learn all about its construction.  You’ll also get a chance to admire the Opera House’s collection of instruments, which spans across different decades and regions.

Bait Al Zubair

museum- dubai by footThis is a private museum, funded by the prominent Zubair family of Oman. This local heritage infuses the museum’s collection – in fact, many of the artefacts on display are from the family’s private compilation. Some of the items on display include ancient weaponry, fabulous jewellery, historic stamps, household implements and traditional costumes. Outside of the museum, there is a garden that features an Omani village, a souk, a boat display and a traditional water distribution system. Getting to wander around this environment truly helps visitors immerse themselves in the traditional Omani way of life.

Qurum Beach

This is a quiet, charming beach in Muscat that’s great for a day of relaxation under the sun. It’s very easily accessible and boasts golden sands and crystal clear water. One of the main advantages of this beach is the tranquillity – it’s not excessively crowded, which allows for a peaceful visit. However, there are still opportunities for a bit of excitement, via the nearby cafés and restaurants.

Wadi Al Arbaeen

Technically speaking, this wadi is about 90 minutes outside of Muscat. However, it is well worth the trip. The oasis is a real treasure, with fresh water, craggy rock formations, singing birds and local plant life. You’ll need a minimum of three hours to explore the area, and longer if you really want to take it in. It’s a great way to see Oman beyond the sandy dunes and intricate architecture.

Amouage Perfumery

This perfume factory is not some harsh workhouse with cold machines. Here, the perfumes are the works of craftsmen and visitors can examine the delicate individual scent components that go into making some of the world’s most luxurious perfumes. Those on a tour have the opportunity to take home free samples, but anyone looking to purchase a proper bottle better have their wallet ready-  these high-end perfumes can be quite dear. Perfumes are a huge part of Arabian culture, used to mask the sweat from the sun and provide allure for someone modestly covered up. Further more, learning more about Arabian perfumes provides insight into Muscat from a unique point of view.

Ghalya’s Modern Museum of Art

Interestingly, this is not a modern art museum in the traditional sense. There is a section of the museum dedicated to modern art as we currently understand the term. But the bulk of the museum is about exploring Oman’s past, particularly between the years of 1950 and 1975. The museum reconstructs what a house would have looked like during that time period. It shows an authentic layout featuring a majlis, women’s room, child’s room, kitchen and guest room. The artefacts within are also authentic to the time period, so visitors can really feel like that they have stepped backwards in time and have been invited to the home of an Omani gentleman. The museum is open Saturday to Thursday from 9.30am to 6pm, and the entrance fee is only OMR 1.

Mutrah Corniche

This lovely corniche is perfect for a leisurely walk or bike ride. The softly-lit buildings along the shore, with their latticed windows, make for a perfect backdrop.  For most visitors, however, the corniche’s greatest attraction is its souq, which sells wares from all over the world and brings to mind the traditional Arabian bazaars. One can find antiques, textiles, hardware and jewellery in the stalls and haggling for a better deal is simply part of doing business there. Further more, it is a  great place for a tourist to find souvenirs.

Sultan’s Palace

sultan - dubai by foot

The Sultan’s Palace, or Al Alam Palace, is the ceremonial home of the Sultan, which he uses to welcome state dignitaries. The building is certainly eye-catching, with tall trumpet-shaped pillars painted in gold and turquoise. The interior of the palace is not open to the public, but the grounds are beautiful enough to compensate. The entire area is home to government buildings, many of which have unique architectural features that are interesting in their own right. The Ministry of Finance, for example, boasts a set of beautiful carved doors painted with phrases from the Quran.

Mohammed Al Ameen Mosque 

The Mohammed Al Ameen Mosque is a relatively new addition to Muscat – it opened in 2014. However, it can proudly take its place as one of the city’s most beautiful mosques. It is especially spectacular at night, as the domes are light up to resemble golden-hued crowns on top of the building. It’s definitely worth making a trip at dusk to take a photo. Further more, if you want to see the interior of the mosque, you’ll need to make the trip in the morning, sometime between 8:00 and 11:00.

 

There’s a lot to see in Muscat, even for someone who is coming from Dubai. The city has its own unique charms that make the city special. We hope you’ve found our guide to Muscat helpful. Should you ever stop by, whether via a cruise, a drive or stopover, make sure to visit the unique heritage and nature spots of this great city ~the top 10 places to visit in Muscat.

Top Oman Dubai Cruises

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

We love the UAE – it’s why our tours in the Middle East first launched here. However, we know that the Arabian Gulf plays host to a variety of beautiful places. One of our favourites is Oman, which boasts beautiful beaches, stunning mountains and ancient history. Oman is reachable from Dubai by air and road, but if you’re looking for luxury and adventure, our favourite way to get there is via sea. In this post, we’ll go over the top Oman Dubai cruises.

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises is a family-owned company that has been operating for 45 years. They have a proud Mediterranean heritage and offer many cruises in that region. They bring this Mediterranean warmth to their Middle Eastern cruise as well. The stops on this 7-day cruise include Abu Dhabi, UAE; Sir Bani Yas Island, UAE; Muscat, Oman; Khasab, Oman and Dubai, UAE.

The cruise takes place on the MSC Splendida, a 138,000 tons ship that can welcome over 4000 passengers. In keeping with the UAE’s focus on clean energy, the ship boasts a variety of environmentally friendly technologies. The ship also promises great entertainment, with live music, a disco, a casino and a theatre.  If you’d prefer a more tranquil way to unwind, there is a relaxing spa offering massages, a sauna, a Turkish bath and the latest in advanced beauty treatments. The food is fantastic, ranging from authentic Mediterranean to trendy Tex-Mex. And to burn off the calories, you can make use of the state-of-the-art gym. The squash court or one of the four swimming pools can also be used by guests.

Costa Cruise

costaCosta Cruises is an Italian cruise line that offers a 7-day cruise with stops in the UAE and in Oman. This cruise is particularly noted for its excellent dining options, as the various restaurants pay homage to the company’s parent company of Italy. Whether it’s fine dining or a pizzeria, you can enjoy world-class cuisine from chef Bruno Barbieri, who boasts 7 stars to his name. 

Costa Cruises is great for anyone who worries about possibly getting bored upon the ship. If you’re a sports fanatic, there are various sports pitches that allow for team sports. The ship has its own on-board shops if you’re a shopaholic and if you enjoy a spectacle, the ship hosts its theatre shows. If you love to dance, you’ll find that the ship has its own themed parties and discos. And if you just want to relax, the ship’s wellness centre offers a steam bath, sauna, Jacuzzi and hot stone massage.

Azmara Cruises

The Amzara Cruise is for those who would prefer a longer voyage, visiting more than two countries. The Azmara Voyage lasts for 17 days. There are stops in various Middle Eastern cities, including both Muscat and Salalah in Oman.

azmaraAzmara Cruise ships offer a variety of entertainment options for the guests on board. The guests can enjoy top-notch dining that pairs gourmet courses with specially chosen wines. They can improve their photography skills and memorialize their trip with a visit to The Photo Shop. They can even join the glamorous ship-wide ‘White Party’, where they can wear their finest white clothes, sip champagne and dance the night away. 

This cruise in particular is focused on helping its guests connect with its cities of port. For one, the chefs make use of the on-shore visits to gather local ingredients, so authentic meals reflect the local flavours. The ship’s Destination Immersion menu incorporates these local delicacies, letting guests bring the taste of their ports of call on-board the ship.  Not to mention, the ship offers enrichment programs and classes that give you extra information about the various ports of call – it’ a great way to learn about the history and attractions of these cities, allowing you to take advantage of your stops.

Celebrity Constellation Cruises

The Celebrity Constellation Cruise is a 15-night tour of the Arabian Sea and Suez Canal. It departs from Abu Dhabi and whose stops include Oman, Jordan and Greece.

Celebrity Constellation Cruises offers a variety of luxurious rooms. The Suites come with a private butler service and fresh flowers, the Aqua Class rooms offer a personal spa concierge and pillow menu. Concierge Class rooms offer special destination seminars and a daily delivery of afternoon savouries. The entertainment options on the ship are plentiful, including live music and magicians. The incredible shows are what make this cruise truly stand out – you can watch ballroom dancing competitions, kid-friendly musicals and adults-only fairy-tale shows. Truly, it’s a cruise that will help you feel like a star. No wonder it is a Top Oman Dubai cruise!

There is a great variety of cruises that take you from the UAE to Oman. You can enjoy fine sea air, luxurious accommodations and unique entertainment while getting a chance to visit some of the most beautiful and historic locations by the Arabian Sea. We hope you get a chance to try one out and enjoy sun, sand and sail.