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There’s a new cultural hotspot in Dubai! Marsa al Seef !
Marsa Al Seef, which stretches 1.8km along the Dubai Creek, has just opened its first phase to the public. The area borders the Al Fahidi Historical District. This a region of Dubai that’s very close to us here at Dubai by Foot. In fact, it’s the site of our most popular walking tour, which is our Old Dubai Tour. Furthermore, we use our tour as a chance to look at Dubai’s past and contextualize the Dubai that we see in the present.
Marsa Al Seef was designed along the same lines. The area has a strong cultural and historical component. Furthermore, there are galleries that sell Emirati artwork and boutiques where one can admire traditional dress. Visitors to the area will also have a chance to see examples of traditional Emirati occupations like pearl diving, fishing and boat building. The surrounding area has been designed with an interconnected waterway system. This allows visitors to also have the chance to glide across the water on wooden dhows, just as Dubai’s first traders once did. It’s like having a touch of Venice in the Middle East.
Further nods to the city’s past are also in the pipeline. The next phase of the project is set to incorporate an authentic souk. These souqs will be based off of the ones present in Dubai in the 1950s. The open-air market will be a chance for visitors to browse and purchase a variety of hand-made goods. Furthermore it will soon become a popular destination for tourists looking to bring home authentic, original souvenirs.
Beyond this homage to the city’s past, Al Seef has also been designed to fit into the city’s current image as a cosmopolitan hub. Along the waterfront promenade, one will find a selection of retail stores and cafés. Some of the options already open include a Lebanese-American restaurant (great for kebabs and dips like humuus), a high-end Italian gelato shop, and a homegrown community coffee house. When the project is complete, the area will be home to over 500 shops, galleries and eateries. Some of the restaurants in Al Seef are even being designed as floating restaurants. This will allow them to take advantage of the waterways surrounding the area. Another cool aspect of these waterways – if people want to avoid congestion on the roads, they can choose to arrive via water taxi, or even their own private yacht!
For visitors to Dubai, Al Seef’s cross-section of the old and new elements of the city make it a great place to stay. It offers the chance to truly experience the different aspects of the city. Luckily, there are to be three hotels in the district. Two of the hotels will be modern in design, and located in the more contemporary area of the district. The other hotel, however, will be a heritage hotel, located on the historical side and incorporating authentic Arabian hospitality.
The Al Seef district is being developed by Meraas. Their previous developments include The Beach at JBR and Citywalk. With that pedigree, Al Seef is set to be a top destination for anyone who wants to enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment in a unique and stylish locale.
Now that phase one is open, we recommend heading on out to experience what the location has to offer. And if you’ve finished one of our walking tours of the neighboring Al Fahidi District, we might just head over to Al Seef with you!