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I’m Sorry, Where? Old Place Names!

Recently I visited the Etisalat desk at Dubai Mall regarding an offer they had and I was told I had to go to the main Etisalat office. I asked them “do you mean the one at Defence Roundabout” they all looked at me blankly. As it turned out they had never heard of Defence Roundabout and why should they as it doesn’t actually exist anymore. This got me thinking of all the places that don’t actually exist anymore or are not known by that name or maybe places expats hardly ever have the need to go to now as Dubai has grown. However, people who have lived here for many years like myself actually use these place names as location markers when describing directions. To new arrivals we could be living in a totally different town. So I have decided to write down a few of the old places and tell you exactly where they are in-case you end up asking a seasoned Dubai resident directions!

Al Ghurair Shopping Mall –One of the original shopping centers like Al Mulla Plaza (below) it still exists and is located on Rigga Road in the heart of Deira.

Al Mulla Plaza – This is the oldest shopping mall in Dubai which is located at the first round-about separating Dubai from its neighboring emirate, Sharjah on the E11 Al Itthad Road.

Bank Street – In Bur Dubai. It is actually called Khalid Bin Al Waleed Road but before the development of Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) this was where all the big banks were located.

Black Palace – This has been used as a location marker for people visiting the nearby beach. It is located on Al Sufouh Road coming from Jumeirah Beach Hotel heading towards Jebel Ali. The palace is actually a palace constructed out of black marble hence ‘The Black Palace’

Chicago Beach Hotel – This was where The Jumeirah Beach Hotel now stands.

Chicago Beach Village – This was a popular residential compound where The Madinat Jumeirah now stands.

Clock Tower – Sometimes known as Deira Clock Tower. As the name suggests it is in Deira. It is a roundabout with a clock in the middle just as you come off the Al Maktoum Bridge from Dubai side.

Defence Roundabout – The big flyover coming from Dubai Mall where you can go to Jumeirah or join the Sheikh Zayed Road

DNATA Building – There are now two DNATA buildings – one on Sheikh Zayed Road opposite Safa Park but the first and original one is located in Deira behind Deira City Center.

DOSC – Stands for ‘Dubai Offshore Sailing Club’. Located just off Jumerirah Beach Road after the interchange of Jumeirah Beach Road and Umm Al Sheif Road.

The Dubai Country Club – A very popular club amongst Dubai Expats with swimming, tennis, squash & golf facilities (sand course). It was opened in 1971 however was flattened about 3 years ago to accommodate The Meydan project however up to this time nothing has been built on the land which is a great shame. It was located at the junction of Al Ain Road and The Hatta Road (Ras Al Khor Road) opposite the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.

Falcon Roundabout – This was a roundabout located at the junction of Port Rashid and Khalid Bin Al Waleed Road.

Golden Sands – Still exists. It is the name of a group of apartment blocks behind Standard Chartered Bank on Mankhoul Road.

Iranian Hospital Road – Is actually Al Wasl road and is the stretch near the Iranian Hospital – in the old days there was not much past this stretch of the road.

Nad al Sheba Racecourse – This is now the Meydan racecourse.

New Spinneys – This is actually about 10 years old but is the big Spinneys on Al Wasl road in Umm Suquiem at the interchange with Umm Al Sheif Road and Al Wasl Road.

Russian Beach – The beach opposite Jumeirah Mosque and next to of Dubai Marine Beach Hotel.

These are just a few of the names of places you may hear come up in conversation with old time residents during your stay here in Dubai. A great website to have a look at is ‘Dubai As It Used To Be” from this you can really appreciate how far Dubai has come in such a short time.



8 Responses to “I’m Sorry, Where? Old Place Names!”

  1. Zahnarzt says:

    Thank you for sharing it ! Very nice.

  2. Helga now in Sai Gon says:

    Brings back great memories! Shukran.

  3. Andrea says:

    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the outstanding work!

  4. Evelyn says:

    Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

  5. Jibber Jabber says:

    Awesome blog! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more.

  6. Luc says:

    cool site yo have by the way.

  7. Geoff says:

    Came to Dubai for the first time in 1997. Chicago beach was still there and the Burj was under construction. It’s still in my opinion the best building in Dubai and it put the “I” in iconic. Then the Hard Rock Cafe was away out of town and shame that it went downhill so much afterwards. The bunker was the spot for late night revellers – now buried under DIFC!

  8. Nuzhat says:

    There are also the oldest residential areas like: Al Shaab Colony – Deira, Shaikh Rashid Colony – Karama/ Ghusais, Wicker building – Karama (known as Zabeel building now). These were built 30 years ago and were the best areas to live in.


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