Al Karama, Dubai
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A street in Al Karama
|Country||United Arab Emirates|
|• Total||1.509 km2 (0.583 sq mi)|
|• Density||30,000/km2 (78,000/sq mi)|
Al Karama, or simply Karama (Arabic: الكرامة, literally meaning dignity), is a residential district of Dubai close to Dubai Creek and part of the older area of the city. It is outwardly distinctive due to the regularity of its low-rise residential buildings. The area, which was planned on a tight grid system, is home to thousands of people even though it is only two square kilometers in size. Al Karama is the most populous residential area in Dubai.
Boundaries and landmarks
It stretches for 2 km between the creekside diplomatic area to the north, containing numerous consulates, and Zabeel Park to the south, a $50-million technology-themed public park opened in December 2005. Zabeel Park divides Karama from the landmark Dubai World Trade Centre, as well as Sheikh Zayed Road and its famous skyscrapers.
The district's western boundary is Trade Centre Road, where the popular BurJuman shopping mall is located.
Inhabitants and amenities
The majority of Karama's population has traditionally been middle class South Asian and Filipino expatriates, although Dubai's cosmopolitan nature is also well represented, with the presence of many other nationalities such as people from Iran and Lebanon and many European nations. Virtually all residents are non-UAE nationals, meaning that they are obliged to rent their apartments. The typical annual rent for a one-bedroom flat was about 42,000 dirhams (US$11,500) in June 2006, having risen sharply to around 60,000 dirhams (US$16,335) during 2017.
Al Karama is also served by two metro stations - one of which is located in the middle of the Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Street, next to the Union Co-operative supermarket and Zabeel park, and is called the "Al-Jaffliya" station. It is an elevated station with access on both sides of the road and air-conditioned pedestrian bridges. The other metro station in Karama, initially called "Al Karama station" and later called "ADCB" is located next to Al-Manama Hypermarket and the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB).
The center of Karama is marked by the Karama Centre which is a residential building located right near a mosque. Karama is the home of Karama park (colloquially called Lulu park named by the children after the Lulu supermarket across the park). Many children and adults of all ages come here for leisurely activities. Karama residents closer to Al Jaffliya station also use the bigger Zabeel park near the newer Lulu Hypermarket for jogging and exercising.
Prominent stores in the Karama area include Sunrise Supermarket, West-zone supermarket, the budget store Day-to-day, Black and Blue, 7 Days, Al Manama Hypermarket etc. There is also a Spinney's store next to Burjuman center. There is also a thriving "Karama Market" across from the ADCB metro station selling cheap products from around the world, especially catering to tourists. The biggest private library in Karama is called the Archies library (merged with the older, Book World library) and it is located across from the Burjuman center.
One notable national community is the Omani contingent, who originally settled in Karama in the early 1980s with the help of Dubai's first modern ruler, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the late father of the current rulers. About 8,000 Omanis who were among the tens of thousands displaced from Zanzibar in the 1960s later found themselves stateless and homeless until Sheikh Rashid offered them sanctuary with the construction of Hamdan Colony, a collection of apartment blocks which still stand in Karama.
The area has become increasingly popular for families since self-contained apartments are slightly cheaper and offer better amenities than other parts of Dubai south of the creek. Numerous commercial units exist along the main thoroughfares. Parking space is becoming increasingly difficult to find as car parks are built over and car ownership increases. The covered parking included as a feature of many new buildings has not eased the situation.
Besides the widespread sale of counterfeit goods, reported crime is relatively high in common with other parts of Dubai south of the creek.
- Existing Population and Future Holding Capalities in Dubai Area Archived 2008-09-11 at the Wayback Machine. Dubai Healthcare City. 2000