A talk on Baniyas Square

Think of Deira and most Dubai residents will utter one word — congested. Along with its serious dearth of parking space it is also a locality that lacks the chic and urbane look of the rest of Dubai. But therein lies its real charm. Although renovations and restorations have reshaped Deira there still exists a slice of the past in many of its alleys. Each visit to the spice souk along the Deira creek with all its trappings of an old bazaar has been memorable. Last week I got an opportunity to know more about Deira from a local resident who had witnessed the transformation of the area over the years. As part of the Artists-in-Residence programme, photographer and culture writer at the culturist, Hind Mezaina, conducted an informal talk at the Baniyas Square in Deira. The square, which was earlier called Al Nasr Square, houses some of the old iconic buildings of Deira on either sides. While on one side is the Phoenicia Hotel http://phoeniciahoteldubai.net/index.html that boasts of a popular Ethiopian restaurant the other side has the Deira Tower and the Dubai Tower. A recently renovated old fountain surrounded by a patch of green is at the centre of the square. Thanks to the metro station the Baniyas Square is easily accessible and adds to a constant flow of people. That evening a bunch of young boys played football even as tourists and residents idled on the park benches. deira2 deira Hind, who is part Emirati and part Egyptian, grew up in neighbouring Port Saeed. Before it became Nasr Square, Hind shared that the area, was known as Cinema Square after an old cinema in the area. The Cinema Square was a bustling and sought after trade centre for old residents. She often accompanied her mother on shopping trips to the area. “We would buy our spices, school uniforms and many other essentials here before ending our outing with a meal of shawarmas. Jashanmal, the first departmental store in the UAE, opened here as well.” The square was also the hangout of the engineers and workers who dredged the Dubai Creek in 1963, which allowed bigger ships to get in and out, says a newspaper report. Today Hind visits the area to enjoy a meal at Phoenicia and to hangout with friends at the Garage Club.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patricia Torres
    Mar 16, 2015 @ 16:37:10

    I dont remember the last time I headed out to Baniyas road… I’ve heard that there are really nice restaurants there.. even a Moroccan one.. But im not sure Im as brave as you are!! 😉 Or its easy to be lazy..

    Reply

  2. Tessy
    Mar 17, 2015 @ 15:09:07

    Patty take the metro, its much easier.

    Reply

  3. Tessy
    Mar 17, 2015 @ 15:09:29

    And thank you for reading

    Reply

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