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The thriving cultural life of Dubai

Visit Dubai to unravel the cultural climaxes, which take on the contemporary aesthetic to create the most perfect backdrop for art lovers around the world. The abundance of money in this region has helped the Gulf become a showcase for contemporary art. Travel writer Saima, goes on a journey of discovery, to highlight some of the best hang-outs for art enthusiasts, theatre-goers, and dance devotees. Read on to love about the cultural highlights of a holiday in Dubai

The thriving cultural life of Dubai

Dubai is such a thriving city if you want to discover a whole array of multicultural diversity. The place itself is occupied by people from various origins. These people have contributed to the culture in many ways in the past few years. So it’s unfair when Dubai is given bad press for being artificial, or lacking in culture but this is now far from the truth: you’ll find festivals, music concerts, sporting tours, amazing art exhibitions and archaic building sites with local-dwellers from many many years ago.

Dubai now has much to offer culturally from the upsurge in visual arts to movies, music, literature, theatre and sport – this guide explores the thriving cultural life of Dubai.

The Dubai Art scene is breath taking and inspirational

Dubai is no doubt a beautiful backdrop for the contemporary art scene. I’ve always admired the architecture of the buildings, which in itself is a form of art. But if you plan a holiday to Dubai, you have much more to discover, than the tall buildings, the pristine beaches and the expensive shopping malls.

The city has more art galleries than any other city in the region. Dubai has become home to commercial contemporary art, and also the home of people that have contributed to non-commercial art. This is because the art moment in Dubai has been an organic one: It began with the locals of Dubai wanting to contribute to its cultural growth and as expected, it is amazingly diverse. Major participants in evolving this cultural movement have been, Egyptian, Emirati, French, British, and Iranian – and more - and I think that's what's given it a unique and vibrant identity.

Here are three of the best areas for art galleries to visit on your trip to Dubai:

  • You must visit Bastakia in Bur Dubai – This is close to the Dubai Museum and is a historical area and one where you will witness archaic housing, before the skyscrapers and offices were erected. Here you’ll discover the most amazing little quaint cafes that your heart will fall in love with! There are some travel agencies offering tours of this area too, so if you want a guided tour, organise one for Bastakia. In my opinion, the most wonderful place that is here, that gets me really excited is the Arabian Tea House Restaurant & Cafe – this is a laid back outdoor patisserie where you can have a relaxing coffee, freshly squeezed juice of a bite to eat while looking at some art work from local artists.
  • Another interesting place for art and culture enthusiasts to visit in Dubai the contemporary urban area known as DIFC Gate Village, which houses art galleries, boutiques and numerous eateries. This stunning place, hosts Dubai Art Night twice a year, which brings together elements of music, art, film and design through various activities. Many people arrive here each year and enjoy the time it provides to mingle with locals and enjoy the aesthetic showcases.
  • The third place I recommend for art enthusiasts is the Al Quoz – This place has over ten contemporary art galleries and here is where you will find Al-Serkal Avenue that at first glance looks like a block of warehouse buildings, but in effect is Dubai's celebrated art hub.

Fancy a bit of history? Visit the best museum in Dubai

Dubai has a varied choice of museums but for those who love a little unusual history, then take a look at my favourite museum to visit whilst on your holiday in Dubai: Dubai Museum. It is the focal museum in Dubai and it is situated in the Al Fahidi Fort built in 1787 and is the oldest existing building in Dubai. So history dwellers will love to get this on their itinerary.

Opened in 1971, by a ruler of Dubai, the museum is symbol representing the traditional way of an Emirati in Dubai. Here you’ll get to see beautiful antiques, artefacts and discoveries as old as 3000 B.C. This will surely be an unforgettable visit!

Dance and Theatre in Dubai

Dubai is becoming increasingly multicultural and the art scene is growing fast and becoming more exhilarating year on year and I think that ultimately we will see the same kind of fluctuations and developments in the performing arts scene as we have seen in the visual arts scene. If theatre and dance really gets your heart racing, then Dubai has something called DUCTAC – short for Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre.

It promotes the creative and cultural development of Dubai and hosts a series of programmes and events all throughout the year. It attracts theatre lovers, arts enthusiasts, artists, holiday-goers and business people. If you fancy going, it is located on floor two of Mall of the Emirates.

Visiting Dubai when the cultural events are in full swing

If you adore art, I’d recommend visiting Dubai for the March art fairs, visit the best art galleries that are open all year round and tune into a few of the shows that are on at DUCTAC. Film fanatics may want to visit Dubai in December for the Film Festival or the year-round swelling programme of arts, dance, music, theatre, literature and film. Whenever you decide to go, adopting the Emirati culture will be a blast.

Saima Omar

Saima Omar

The Passionate Traveller

A writer who likes to travel in style. Devoted culture lover, eager for an adventure. Follow the...

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