Following the brief introduction to the historical area of Shindagha, we dive deeper into looking at residents’ opinion of the place. Being one of the first areas to be established in Dubai, Shindagha lies in the heart of the traditional city of Dubai. Apart from having traditional buildings, restaurants and hosting cultural events, Shindagha is also a major transport terminal for buses, the metro and abras. People living close by regularly visit the area for exercising and walking along the waterfront.
To understand people’s perception of the area, we asked a few questions to about 50 residents of Dubai about the area. The results gave us insight into how people relate to traditional places in the city.
In general, there isn’t much of a difference between the awareness of long term and short term residents. There are even a few old residents who do not fully know the significance of the area. This can be contributed by the fact that most people occasionally come in contact with traditional spaces and buildings.
In more recent times, Shindagha is moving towards being recognized as a cultural hub. Most people visit the area for sightseeing followed by cultural events, restaurants and transportation. A fair amount of skepticism is noticed when residents were asked if they would bring out of town visitors to the area. A little under half the people said yes, but most people do not consider this to be on the main list of places for tourists to visit. When asked why, almost all responded by saying that it is not what tourists come to see in Dubai. Mainstream attractions like malls and entertainment venues top the list for visitors.
The undeniable heritage value Shindagha possesses is not highlighted to tourists’ and residents of the place. Unless interested in looking out for traditional spaces, it is easy to miss this part of the city on a visit to Dubai. With the increasing trend of high rises and modern structures in most of the city it is not unnatural for expats to be disconnected from heritage spaces.
Shindagha has been recognized as a place of historical importance today with most of its structures protected and restored. The dense cluster of buildings contain a number of museums displaying old artifacts, restaurants and even a small hotel. Walking through the winding narrow pathways of Shindagha brings you in contact with vernacular building architecture and layout of settlements in the pre-oil era of U.A.E.