Bookish travelers to Dubai will want to head to the Archive at Safa Park, a leafy space in the shadow of the city’s glittering towers. The Archive is a specialized library focused on the history of Middle Eastern and North African art and it’s also a lively cultural center, with workshops, book readings, and classes. The low-lying building with arches inspired by traditional Emirati architecture dates from 1975, but it was given a contemporary makeover by Japanese architect Takeshi Muruyama and reopened in 2012. There are perhaps few more appealing places to learn about the history of Middle Eastern art, with a lunch at the café or an espresso break to keep you going as you become an armchair expert on the region’s cultural heritage.
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