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Stay Cool & Cultured in Dubai

If this is your first summer since you relocated to Dubai you will soon discover Dubai is a different town in July and August. Unlike a decade ago when Dubai seemed to literally stop, it now keeps going but at a slower pace. Schools are out for summer so many families have escaped the heat and with less people in town it’s actually quite pleasant driving on the roads or strolling round the shopping malls. However, there is no getting away from the fact that you need to stay out of the sun till late afternoon, so why not take advantage of the lack of tourists and explore the museums that Dubai has to offer.

The Dubai Museum

Dubai Museum is the main museum in Dubai. It is located in the Al Fahidi Fort, built in 1787 and is the oldest existing building in Dubai.

Al Fahidi Fort is square-shaped with towers occupying three of its corners. It was built of coral rock and mortar in several phases. Just off the southern wall lie the remains of the city walls. Next to them stands a tall dhow (traditional boat) in the middle of a large courtyard that covers the underground galleries. Two cannons guard the main gate to the fort on the eastern wall, adorned by flags of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. Al Fahidi Fort was built in several phases. The oldest tower was built around 1787 and believed to be the oldest building in Dubai that still exists today. The fort was used to guard the landward approaches to the town from the raids of neighbouring tribes. It has also served, at various times throughout history as the ruler’s palace, a garrison, and a prison.

The museum was opened by the ruler of Dubai in 1971, with the aim of presenting the traditional way of life in the Emirate of Dubai. It includes local antiquities as well as artifacts from African and Asian countries that traded with Dubai. It also includes several dioramas showing life in the Emirate before the advent of oil.


Heritage & Diving Village

A traditional heritage village, located near the mouth of Dubai Creek in the Shindagha district, features potters and weavers practicing traditional crafts, as well as exhibits and demonstrations of pearl diving. It is a place where the visitor can take a step back in time and experience some of Dubai’s culture and heritage.


Al Ahmadiya School & Heritage House

Established in 1912, Al Ahmadiya School was the first regular school in Dubai, located in the Al-Ras area of Deira. The two-storey building was renovated in 1995 for use as a museum of education. The oldest part of the house dates back to the 1890s, with many newer parts added in later years. It is a large courtyard house with more than 10 rooms and a rectangular wind tower.


Majlis Ghorfat Um-Al Sheif

Built around 1955 as a summer retreat for the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the majlis is Located in the Jumeirah area near the sea and features a traditional palm tree garden with a “falaj” irrigation system.


Sheikh Saeed’s House

The official residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai (1912 – 1958) and grandfather of the present Ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The house, which dates from 1896, today houses a rare collection of historic photographs, coins, stamps and documents that record Dubai’s history.


Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding

Located in the Bastakiya area of town and housed in one of the beautiful wind tower buildings the centre welcomes visitors of all different nationalities informing them of local culture, customs and religion of the UAE.  This is done through events such as Cultural Breakfasts & Lunches where guests enjoy local cuisine while chatting to a local Emirati host about UAE customs, culture and religion.

Throughout the week the centre also hosts tours of the Grand Mosque in Jumeirah (next to ‘The One’) where guests are given the opportunity to learn about Emirati culture and religion in a relaxed, casual and open atmosphere at this landmark mosque.


The Pearl Museum

In the 1940’s and 1950’s Pearl Diving was very important to Dubai.  Sultan Al Owais was one of was one of Dubai’s most important pearl merchants, poets and philanthropists. He began collecting pearls in the early 1970, constituting a large number of ‘Oriental’ (salt-water) pearls. Some of the finest pearls of the Gulf are part of this collection. Exquisite pieces of perfectly round unblemished silver-white pearls of metallic lustre crown the finest lots.

He donated his pearl collection to the people of the UAE under the custodianship of the National Bank of Dubai where today they can be viewed in a purpose-built museum in its Headquarters building. He had a wish that the pearls should be available to remind people of the origins of the Emirates and what life was like before the discovery of oil.

A visit to the Pearl Museum has to be pre-arranged with Emirates NBD.  The visit must be as part of a group of at least 8 to 10 people.


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