Despite having a reputation for just shopping and luxurious living, Dubai’s museums, culture and art galleries are plentiful, offering an experience that delves into the city’s rich history and culture.
A beautifully restored historic district, this neighbourhood transports you back to a time before the hum of traffic, or modern technology. Formerly known as the Bastakia Quarter, it’s streets are narrow lanes flanked by stone, gypsum and sandal wood buildings with tall air towers. Today its home to myriad cultural centres and activities, including art exhibits, museums, the Sikka Art Fair, Heritage Week and religious celebrations.
The only mosque open to non-Muslims in Dubai, this mosque is widely considered the most beautiful in the city. Built in the Medieval Fatimid style of architecture, its design features a large sandstone dome and minarets with detailed carvings and pristinely manicured gardens, with ornate frescos and carved archways inside. Join a guided tour of the site that covers Emirati culture and religion and allows photography inside the mosque.
This amazing centre aims to educate and raise awareness about Dubai’s rich culture and traditions. Operating under the motto ‘Open Doors. Open Minds’, this attraction has consistently impressed visitors with its enlightening information, friendliness, and unique experiences of Arab culture. The centre is located at the iconic Wind Tower House in the Al Fahidi District and is open at select hours every day except Monday. This centre is where you can join a guided tour of the Jumeirah Mosque, mentioned above.
This is the heart of Dubai’s modern arts and cultural scene. In the industrial Al Quoz district, warehouses have been renovated into chic galleries that host both local and international artists for exhibitions, talks, art auctions and community events. For a look at Dubai’s emerging culture beyond its revered historical buildings, the unique textiles, paintings and other artworks here tell that story.
The official residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai from 1912 to 1958 is today a museum open to the public. This is where the vision of modern Dubai was first dreamed up, and the museum features collections of historic photographs, stamps and documents recording the city’s history. The top floor offers sweeping views of the Dubai skyline that is worth a look at too.
Housed in the tiny Al Fahidi Fort, Dubai’s oldest building first built in 1787, the Dubai Museum reveals plenty about this city’s past. Opened as the museum in 1971, its galleries are filled with life-size scenes of the ancient wharves, traditional Arab houses, souks, date farms, traditional dress and jewels. There are also exhibits on life in the sea and desert, as well as a display about pearl diving – the reason the city originated.