We've been in Dubai now for almost 6 years and this is one of the places I've never visited before. It is called Majlis Ghorfat Um Al Sheef. It was built in 1955 by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum, the original ruler of Dubai and the late father of the current ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. It was used as a summer retreat and is surrounded by a tree-filled garden.
It is constructed with gypsum and coral rock.
The open veranda on the ground floor is called a leewan or rewaaq and the enclosed room on the first floor is the majlis or meeting room. This is where the Sheikh would receive his visitors.
There is a smaller room to the side of the majlis which was probably used as a kitchen from where the guests would be served refreshments. It now houses a beautiful collection of historical kitchen utensils.
The upstairs veranda has a beautiful view of the garden. When I visited the air was filled with birdsong and the sound of water running down the falaj. Very peaceful.
A falaj is a traditional irrigation system of channels built with rock and gypsum which carries the water from the well to different parts of the garden.
This last photo is to give some perspective on the area surrounding the Majlis. In the days gone by, when Sheikh Rashid built this place, he had an uninterrupted view of the ocean. Now all you see is suburbia.
The house in the picture is a typical house (or villa as it is called here) of the area. The sandy patch in the foreground is and empty plot. This is what Dubai looks like wherever there are no gardens or irrigation. And of course the ever present Burj Khalifa in the background...