Dubai heritage village attracts shopped-out tourists

Dubai Shopping Festival visitors can take time to soak up the Heritage in Dubai.

DUBAI // The emirate's malls are the obvious attraction for the serious shoppers during the shopping festival - but the Heritage and Diving Village is also sparking interest.

Curious tourists are flocking to the Deira venue, next to the Creek in Bur Dubai, to see the exhibitions and demonstrations.

Many were keen to try their hand haggling in the area's souqs.

"I am always looking for a bargain and if there's one down here, I'll take it," said Cathy Johnson, 42, who was on holiday from the UK.

"We've been shopping all weekend and it's nice to take a break from the big brands and see what else is on offer."

She said she had expected more live entertainment but that the small tourist shops had kept her browsing for souvenirs.

"I suppose everything is going on in the malls and the heat will keep a lot of people away from the outdoor activities until later on in the day," she said. "We wanted to see a bit of Dubai that was not mall-related."

Alan Talampas, 38, from the Philippines, took refuge at the village, which he described as "nice and quiet".

"There is not much happening down here but after the crowds and traffic all weekend, I think this is just what I need," he said. "There are only a few restaurants and shops open but I was told there would be more later on."

Arabic food was on offer and there was live entertainment from 5pm, plus a new interactive exhibition called Dreams of the Sea: The Dubai Maritime History Project.

"I had never really wondered what was in Dubai before all the skyscrapers," Mr Talampas said after he viewed the display.

The exhibit, which features video interviews with people involved in the UAE's maritime history as well photos of Dubai and the Creek dating as far back as 1950, will run until January 27.