Ali Baba's cave hidden in Al Quoz - UAE Pics

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ali Baba's cave hidden in Al Quoz

The Antique Museum in Al Quoz is neither a museum nor a store selling antiques. It's a 65,000 sq foot warehouse where containers from overseas countries are loaded-off several times a month.
Fakih NP, the managing director of Fakih Group, which owns the gigantic and diversified gift shop, wants it to remain a best-kept secret.
The goods are sorted, stocked and distributed to nearly 30 retails outlets around the UAE (mostly in Dubai).
Fakih Group manufactures products from 12 different countries, such as carpets and pottery from India, wood and stone carvings from Indonesia, stitched items and statues from Thailand and perfume bottles and bamboo crafts from China.
Other items on show include wooden masks and crafts from Africa, ceramic, porcelain and lacquer crafts from Vietnam, pashmina shawls from Nepal, hanging carpets and puppets from Burma and woven romblon placemats, buffalo horns and mother-of-pearl and bamboo crafts from the Philippines.
The museum opened nine years ago and was transformed into an Ali Baba sort of cave over the years. Nothing is well-arranged and kept clean there, but that contributes to making the visit a different experience from the pristine shopping malls.
The experience conjures up old souks and items from places far away, exotic and foreign. The way to do it is to follow the sounds of the wind chimes clinging or bow to the many tall African and Thai statues welcoming you to a new alley.
Although there are tags on most of the items, make sure to bargain once you make your way to the cashier.
Egyptian wooden statues vie for space with Yemeni swords and jewellery and row upon row of linens and cushions and wood-carved ornaments brought in from Southeast Asia.
The warehouse is a maze of shoulder-wide passageways with goods imported from 27 different countries and covered with dust.
Be ready to sweat at Antique Museum as some areas don't have any ventilation and are kept really warm by the heat from the hundreds of multi-coloured lamps and lanterns hanging from the ceilings.
Although the museum isn't the place to shop if you're an avid antiques collector, be sure to ask to see the 'secret' antiques corner, which contains yet more goodies.
The Antique Museum is located somewhere in the Al Quoz Industrial Area, behind Times Square Centre. To get more chances of actually finding the place, call 04-347 9935 or visit

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