Capital’s Mina offers bargains galore

Despite presence of modern malls, area still attracts tourists and localsImage Credit: Supplied

The Mina area in Abu Dhabi is characterised by old world charm and laidback ambience. This is one place in the capital where you seldom see modern buildings.

A famous spot in the area is the Mina Zayed (or Zayed Port), the capital’s oldest commercial port that offers different facilities for cruise liners, cargo vessels, small boats, barges, service crafts and more. Today, the port is being developed into a cruise destination, with a state-of-the-art cruise terminal, after shifting its container traffic to Khalifa Port.

Residents who prefer fresh catch from the sea may head for the Mina Fish Market which carries a wide selection of fresh fish and seafood at affordable prices. Time seems to stand still here as old wooden dhows and dingy boats bring in baskets upon baskets of fresh produce from the sea.Seafood restaurants predominantly line the area. Famous for their fresh fare, they constantly attract diners and patrons.

Considered a modern attraction here is the Mina Center which houses a huge Abu Dhabi Co-op and a play area for kids. Other stores within the centre sell apparel (mainly Arabic clothes), sportswear and souvenirs.

The surrounding area is more famous among tourists and residents for offering numerous bargains. At the far end is the Carpet Souk which has stores selling carpets, prayer rugs and upholsteries. The Fruit and Vegetable Souk sells fresh produce at nearly half the price, with the dried fruits section offering delectable goods from across the Middle East. To spruce up your garden, check out the adjoining Plant Souk which has citrus trees, cacti and a variety of flowers; if you want matching furniture, try the handcrafted wooden or wicker furniture in the nearby stores. The Iranian Souk is another treasure trove for cheap houseware including cutlery, crockery, pots and pans. Bargaining will give you good deals as long as the quality is not compromised.

Although the Abu Dhabi landscape is getting more modern, there are still areas in the city that offer the ambience of days gone by like Mina.

Handy Hints:

* Mina Zayed is being developed into a global cruise destination

* Stores selling fresh produce, fish, plants and carpets still popular

* Restaurants offering fresh fare line the area near the fish market

Source: Zenifer Khaleel, Special to Properties

The writer is a freelancer

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