History Of Dubai – From Oasis To Global Metropolis

 In Dubai, Honeymoon, Travel

How much do you know about the history of Dubai? So Far we have known Dubai as the glittering jewel of the United Arab Emirates, with towering sky scrappers, marvellous architecture, and a city that defines extravagance and opulence in a new way, compelling people to take Dubai Tour Packages

Dubai is a city which has everything for everyone from kids to adults. There are several shopping centres such as the Dubai Mall, which is the largest mall in the world, having its very own aquarium which has several species of fishes to watch. It is an experience you may not have had. The Burj Khalifa is said to be the tallest building in the world which rises to the height of 828 m with 163 floors out of which upto 154 floors are being used for resisential purposes. The Burj Khalifa also boasts of having the highest restaurant in the world, which is the Atmosphere. It is the best restaurant at such a great height offering delicious food and dining option. 

Besides on special occasions, Dubai lights up wishing people on the holy month of Ramadan, Eid, and on occasions such as Indepence day of any country and is a sight to behold. 

Beside the Burj Khalifa is the magical Dubai Fountain which is also one of the most famous tourist attractions here in Dubai, as you get to watch the music show at the fountain, as it dances around. Taking pictures here is something you should not miss out on because how else would you flex on your social media if you don’t take good pictures?

However, before Dubai became a hotshot destination for tourists, Dubai was almost a barren city which was quite dull, and you may not be able to imagine what this destination looked like before it epitomised the art of lavish living.  

History Of Dubai


In 1833, some 800 people started a settlement near the harbour made by the creek flowing through Dubai. These members were from the Bani Yas Tribe and were drawn towards the natural harbour they settled there. They turned the area into a centre for fishing and pearling. 

After some time, Bedounis, who were the Arabian Nomads of the Middle East, joined them and also settled there in small houses called Barastins.

The primary source of revenue generated for Dubai’s economy came from trade and oil exploration, and according to the history of Dubai, when the major chunk of revenue started to flow in 1969 through trade and oil, Dubai’s economy started to flourish. A major development in infrastructure was evident in the construction of hospitals, schools, and other architectural buildings, turning Dubai into a lavish city from a barren land.

Dubai Then And Now

A lot has happened over the years, which has changed the picture of Dubai from a barren land to a lavish city which makes us Compare Dubai Then And Now. 

Let’s see the developments that Dubai has seen and what exactly is the picture of Dubai then and now.

1. Dubai Marina 


Constructed along a 3km underwater stretch of the Persian Gulf Coastline, and is a canal town. To build the Marina into a man-made waterfront, builders had to draw water from under the ground and carry the water to a specific area of the Marina for the construction of the man-made waterfront in Dubai, which is a popular attraction now. It also claims to be the largest man-made waterfront and has shaped Dubai into what it is today. The construction of the Dubai Marina began in the year 2007, but it had to stop mid-way due to the then ongoing water crisis, but then continued again and painted a vivid picture of what Dubai looks like today. It also plays the role of a host to many structures in Dubai that are iconic, including the Masjid Al Rahim Mosque, Jumeirah Beach House, and also Marina Center. 

At present, you can enjoy the Dhow Cruise that sails through Dubai Marina and have the most luxurious cruise dining experience of your life. 

2. Sheikh Zayed Road


The former Prime Minister Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum wanted to take full advantage of the revenue generated from the oil exploration and started transforming Dubai into a hub of tourists. The construction of the Sheikh Zayed Road started in the year 1971, and this route connects all 7 Emirates to each other. It took nine years to finish the construction of the path and was initially named after the then UAE Chief Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, but later it was renamed as the Sheikh Zayed Road. 

3. Dubai Creek


Dubai Creek is where the history of Dubai began in the first place. The first-ever settlers of Dubai were drawn towards the Dubai Harbour and settled there, they were later joined by the Arabic nomads and they started living there in small houses. 

The history of Dubai creek goes back to the time when the Yas Bani tribes settled here, however over the period of time, with development in infrastructure, Dubai Creek was modified and became a man-made stretch of water built solely to provide comfort to the people who travel on vessels. 

As the Yas Bani Tribe was liberated from Abu Dhabi, they began to settle by the stream, and thus laid the groundwork for the Al Maktoum Dynasty. 

Today Dubai Creek has divided the town into two parts that is Bur Dubai and Deira. 

Suggested Read: Dubai Shopping Spree: Things To Buy In Dubai

4. Dubai Airport


Dubai International Airport is an essential part of the history of Dubai and has been part of Dubai History for almost six decades, and as of now, it is the busiest airport in the world. 

In the late 1950’s, the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, recognized the potential for Dubai as a major aviation hub, so the design and planning of the Dubai Airport began in the year 1960 led by William Pereira and Associates, a British architectural firm which led the construction of the Dubai Airport. 

Over the span of time and over several decades, the construction of the airport began in phases. 

Phase 1 started in the 1960s and involved the construction of a single runway, a terminal building, maintenance facilities, and a control tower. This phase ended in the year in the 1970s.

Phase 2 started in the 1980s Dubai saw an increase in the demand for flying overseas; the expansion work began with an additional terminal building, increased runways, and improved infrastructure, thus leading to the inauguration of Terminal 2 in 1998. 

Phase 3 was in the 2000s when the demand grew rapidly, and more and more people were flying, leading to the construction of Terminal 3 and also the iconic Concourse B, in the year 2008. 

Phase 4 was between 2010 to 2020, when expansion was on another level, leading to the construction of Concourse D, followed by Concourse A, as well as Concourse C, with other additional improvements. 

As of now, the Airport has the finest terminal in the world. 

5. Downtown Dubai

Image Source : Lonely Planet

Downtown Dubai is that part of the history of Dubai when it was a vacant property and now is the most crowded part of the city, bustling with tourists who flock here from all over the world to witness the magic of this beautiful city. It is said that in the year 2006, almost a quarter of the cranes in the world were busy in Dubai constructing the iconic structures we see today. Not only does it provide the iconic architectural marvels but Downtown Dubai also offers various dining and lodging options that you are sure to fall in love with. 

The Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain and the iconic skyscraper Burj Khalifa which is also the tallest building in the world can be found in Downtown Dubai. 

6. Deira Clock Tower


Deira Clock Tower is forever etched in the history of Dubai as it is another iconic structure of the town. Interesting fact about this clock tower is that it was presented as a gift to the Sheikh Bin Rashid Al Maktoum by his son-in-law Sheikh Ahmed of Qatar. He didn’t know what to do with it so he turned it into a historical structure by getting it installed on the Deira Clock Tower. It is installed at the gate entrance of the Maktoum Bridge and plays an important role in connecting Deira and Bur Dubai which has been divided by the creek. The clock tower was designed back in the year 1963, and at present it is a popular tourist destination in Dubai. 

Suggested Read: Best Places To Visit In Dubai

7. Dubai World Trade Center


Dubai World Center was inspired the trade centers that were being built in New York and other places as well.  Sheikh Rashid’s idea of constructing a World Trade Center began in the year 1975 and took a total of 4 years and was finally completed in in the year 1979. The World Trade Center was the first ever high-rise building in the history of the United Arab Emirates. The World Trade Center was built to host large scale exhibitions, and it defines Dubai’s lavish developments. 

8. Jumeirah Mosque


Jumeirah Mosque is the most loved architecture in Dubai and quite a popular tourist destination in Dubai. The majority of muslims live in Dubai and all over the United Arab Emirates, due to which you can find several beautiful mosques here which goes back in the history of Dubai. 

The mosque was open to the public in the year 1979 and was a gift by Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum to the former ruler and also the father of the current ruler HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. 

It is said that the mosque can accommodate 1500 worshippers in one go and the design has been inspired by the mosques in Syria and Egypt. 

9. Dubai Dhow Cruise

Image Source : Viator

Dubai Dhow Cruise which is now a luxury cruise that takes you on a 2-3 hour trip, sailing through the coast of marvellous architecture, where you can see the stunning hi-rise buildings and also watch the sunset while having the most delicious cuisines on board. 

Today what looks like a stunning cruise was once a small boat that was only used for fishing from the creek, and now it is a popular spot for tourists to explore the creek and Dubai Marina. 

That is how the history of Dubai has been shaped turning it from a small fishing village to lavish town which that has no limits to extravagance. 

10. Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotels And Towers

Image Source : Tripadvisor

As the demand for new attractions grew and as the town saw a surge of tourists who were willing to explore this lavish town, the need of hotels and lodging places grew. As the need grew, so did the number of hotels. 

The Sherton Dubai Creek Hotel was the first ever hotel built in Dubai, due to which, it is the most popular and reputed hotel in Dubai. 



To sum up we can say Dubai is the most extravagant city which defines opulence in its own way. The town drips with luxury and extravagance. It does not have to boast about anything because the architectural marval speaks for itself. There are tones of activities to do in Dubai and no matter how many days you have, it will still not be enough. Besides the famous attractions, Dubai has several water parks and theme parks for your kids to enjoy and have a nice time there. Dubai Frame, Dubai Mosques, Burj Al Arab, which is said to be the only 7 star hotel in the world is found in Dubai. This hotel has its very own helipad and several artists have performed here. It is also one of the most expensive hotels in the world, which obviously is unsaid. If you can afford it then do stay here for a day or two but if you can’t then do payt a visit here. 

Go for adventure activities in Palm Jumeirah such as Sky diving for having the best sky diving experience over the Palms. 

Who would have thought that what once looked like a small fishing village is now one of the most expensive cities in the world and is full of attractions and fun activities for you to explore. 

So the best way to see this beautiful town is to take the next plane to Dubai as the Dubai season is here and the town is welcoming you with open arms, so I would say wait no more and visit Dubai this season. 

Frequently Asked Questions On The History Of Dubai

1. Who were the native tribes of Dubai?

The Bani Yas Tribes are the first settlers of Dubai and are the native tribes of Dubai as well. The group of about 800 members of the Bani Yas tribe settled near the Dubai Creek as they were drawn towards the natural harbour formed by the creek flowing through Dubai. These tribes were later joined by the Bedounis, who were the Arabian nomads of the Middle East. These Arabian nomads settled near the creek in small houses called Barastins.

2. What role has oil played in the economy of Dubai?

Oil has played an important role in the history of Dubai and has been an essential element in transforming Dubai from the tiny fishing village to an extravagant town. Oil was first discovered here in the year 1966 at the offshore of the Fateh Field. The first shipment of oil that was exported was approximately 180 thousand barrels. Oil played an important role in generating revenue, and with more revenue coming to the town, more and more buildings and architectures were coming into place making Dubai what it is today. 

3. What is the best tourist attraction in Dubai?

It’s a little hard to say which tourist attraction is the best, since the history of Dubai is so interesting in how all the tourist attractions have been constructed, from scratch. There are various tourist attractions including the Dubai Mall, Dubai Aquarium which is inside the Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, which puts up a great show, the Burj Khalifa, shopping places including various souks. But if we are to choose the best tourist attractions in Dubai then Downtoen Dubai is the best because it is one place where you can find more than three attractions which includes Dubai Mall, Dubai Aquarium, Burj Khalifa, and the Dubai Fountain as well whose name has been etched in the history of Dubai.

4. Which is the main highway in Dubai?

Sheikh Zayed Road is the major and the most significant highway in Dubai, as it connects 7 emirates, covering a stretch of 558.4 km. 

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