Although Dubai is best known to the world for its towering skyscrapers, supercars, luxurious lifestyle, and cutting-edge technology, we are here to look beyond that today. Here we take a look at 10 historical Places in Dubai where you can explore the fascinating past to understand the glorious present of Dubai as well as the UAE.
It’s very surprising that only a few globetrotters are aware of the enriched history of Emirati people. Foreign vacationers primarily focus on Dubai’s major attractions like Dubai Mall or Burj Khalifa and miss out on the exciting historical destinations.
Rest assured, here we are listing down 10 historical places in Dubai that you must visit to realize how wonderful is Emirati history really is!
1. Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
When you are ready to embark on a journey back in time, Dubai offers you the best place to kick-start it at the historical neighbourhood of Al Fahidi.
Located right in the old town part of the city, this highly populated locality allows you to take a deep look into Dubai’s impressive history and heritage.
Al Fahidi, also known as Al Bastakiya, represents Dubai’s vibrant past and its captivating cultural side. Nestled right beside the Dubai Creek, Al Fahidi is lined with ancient buildings made of wood, stone and a rare ingredient, gypsum. These buildings mark one of the first settlements in the town. Close proximity to Dubai Creek helped this locality to flourish as a prominent trading hub of the city.
You must take a walk along the narrow lanes of Al Fahidi. While the aroma of freshly ground spices and out will greet your senses, vibrant flowering trees and plants will be a treat for your sore eyes. The civic authority of Dubai has saved this locality from severe despair and restored its charm.
Nowadays, many ancient towers and buildings of the Al Fahidi neighbourhood have been turned into temporary art galleries and museums.
Al Fahidi’s historical neighbourhood is ‘delightfully quirky.’ There is no place in Dubai that can match the vibes of Al Fahidi. Dubai Museum and Sheikh Mohammed Centre For Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) are the star attractions here. Loads of cultural performances and traditional practices take place at Al Fahidi during National Day celebration.
Al Fahidi Neighbourhood, Bur Dubai, Beside Dubai Creek Area, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
2. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House
Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House is a prominent and popular heritage site in Dubai. This palatial site was once the royal abode to the ruling family of Dubai. In recent years, this palace has been converted into a well-planned museum that houses tons of paintings, artifacts, photographs and historical items to convey the history of the emirate.
The Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House is one of the oldest buildings in the city. The original structure of the building was erected back in 1896. Since then, it has undergone a series of modifications and alterations before achieving its present look.
The Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House showcases a typical and traditional Arabic style of architecture fitted with sculpted windows, arched doorways and high-beam ceilings. You will be amazed at the impeccable construction which is quite simple yet very elegant.
Shindagha Waterfront, Shindagha Historic District, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Saturday to Thursday: 8.00 AM – 8.30 PM
Friday: 3.00 PM – 9.30 PM
Adults AED 3 and child AED 1.
3. Al Ahmadiya School
Al Ahmadiya School is that historical place from the city of Dubai that offers you a safe passage to the historical ambience of Dubai’s education system.
Dated back to the early 20th century, this was the first semi-regular, national school in the Emirate of Dubai. This establishment was established under the able guidance and patronage of His Eminence, the late Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmouk.
Until 1958, this school was a prominent educational institute that attracted a hoard of scholars and scientists from Dubai and the neighbouring Arab countries. Al Ahmadiya School bears the legacy of a golden era of education and innovation in the region. In 1994 the government of Dubai restored this ancient school and made a fascinating museum out of it.
Here at Al Ahmadiya School, you can explore the history of educational development in the region. You can enjoy a gripping display of ancient classrooms, learning tools, writing material and devices and the subjects taught to the students. This school comes with a very impressive list of alumni including Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the founder of Dubai.
A visit to Al Ahmadiya School in Dubai will surely improve your knowledge and grow your interest in Dubai’s traditional society. You will be surprised to see how students of Dubai emirate continue their journey with knowledge despite a severe scarcity of resources.
Al Ras Area, Deira, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Saturday to Thursday: 8.00 AM – 7.30 PM
Friday: 2.30 PM – 7.30 PM
4. Majlis Ghorfat Umm Al Sheif
In spite of its small size and not so impressive architecture, Majlis Ghorfat Umm Al Sheif is often treated as a coveted historical monument in Dubai. This structure is very different from any other tourist attraction because of its unique old-style feature.
The Majlis Ghorfat Umm Al Sheif was constructed in the year 1955 as a summer resort for the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Nestled at the pristine and plush Jumeirah area, this two-storyed building features a simple yet purposeful layout. An open porch with large columns is the most visible component of this building. The mainframe of the structure is made of coral, stones, wood and plaster.
At the Majlis Ghorfat Umm Al Sheif, you will get a lovely opportunity to witness the tools, utensils and furniture that were an integral part of Emirati pearl fishers. It houses many traditional as well as modern appliances. Majlis Ghorfat Umm Al Sheif is like a bridging connection between the past and present era.
Jumeirah 3, Jumeirah Area, Bur Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Sunday to Thursday: 7.30 AM – 14.30 PM.
Sunday to Thursday (during Ramadan): 10.00 AM – 14.00 PM
Friday and Saturday: Closed
AED 3 for adults. AED 1 for children aged below 6 years
5. Al Shindagha Museum
Understanding the history of Emirati people and exploring its essence comes easy at the Al Shindagha Museum. Sitting in the iconic neighbourhood of Dubai Creek, this is more of a cultural centre rather than just being a museum.
The Al Shindagha Museum whispers the eternal story of human struggle, innovation and desire for progress. These are things that shaped the Dubai you see nowadays. The museum particularly highlights the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohmmed Bin Rashid Maktoum.
“We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can leave a legacy long after we are gone.”Highness Sheikh Mohmmed Bin Rashid Maktoum
At Al Shindagha Museum, you can also embark on the enthralling journey to the aromatic world of Emirati fragrance. The Perfume House unfolds the importance of scented oils and perfumes in Emirati culture.
Along the waterfront of Dubai Creek, Near Al Maktoum House, Dubai. United Arab Emirates
Wednesday to Monday: 10.00 AM – 8.00 PM
The ticket price per person is AED 35 which includes Al Shindagha and Etihad Museum tours
6. Etihad Museum
As soon as you arrive at the reception area of the Etihad Museum, you will know you are about to explore a dynamic 21st century museum. This museum comes with an inspiring story of founding the UAE and is erected at the location where UAE was founded back in 1971.
The Etihad Museum sports a very sleek and modern structure. It comes with a series of pavilions housing a series of technology-driven interactive programs and exhibitions. The authority has taken an initiative to educate visitors about the impactful events in the chronology that contributed to the unification of all the Emirates in 1971.
Every program at the Etihad Museum has been crafted meticulously to preach the nation’s constitution, particularly what it tells about the privileges, rights and responsibilities of the citizens of the UAE.
Jumeirah Street, Cross of the 2nd December Street, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Everyday from 10.00 AM to 8.00 PM.
You can book a tour at the Etihad Museum by paying AED 35 per person. The tour also includes the Al Shindagha Museum tour.
7. Hatta Heritage Village
Hatta Heritage Village is a sought-after historical landmark near Dubai. This archaeological site gives the most vivid pictures of Emirati culture along with some of the last remaining from ancient times.
Located on the slopes of majestic Hajar Mountain Ranges, Hatta village comes with a long history of 3,000 years! Visiting this place is like walking back in time. This ancient village offers a spectacular glimpse of how Emirati people used to live centuries ago. The Hatta Heritage Village covers all aspects of their life including defence, agriculture, economy and households.
Hatta village encircles an ancient house of the Governor, named “Bait Al Wali”, guarded by two defence watchtowers, one crematory and a museum. It is very surprising that even after massive restoration works, many structures of Hatta Heritage Village stand stout on their original building materials of stone, mud, wood and reed.
Hatta Heritage Village is around 135 kilometres from Dubai. It is located amidst the border of Oman and Hajar Mountain Ranges
Saturday to Thursday: 7.30 AM – 8.30 PM
Friday: 2.30 PM – 8.30 PM
There is no entry fee for locals and tourists to Hatta Heritage Village
8. Jazirat Al Hamra
When your adventure-seeking soul looks for something mysterious, you must plan a trip to Jazirat Al Hamra.
This small and perfectly preserved hamlet from Ras Al Khaimah is simply frozen in time and covered under a layer of myths and mysteries.
Jazirat Al Hamra is better known as the Ghost Town. The legend says that the village is haunted by the Jinns, the ghost characters from Arabian Folklore. Once a thriving community, Jazirat Al Hamra is now almost an open-air museum without the typical vibes of a touristy place.
The remaining of the Jazirat Al Hamra village is captivating. This 14th century village was initially built by local tribes and then pearl fishermen inhabited the area before abandoning the whole area in 20th century. The homes of this village are primarily made of wood, stones and mud. It is incredible to believe that they withstood the tests of time successfully.
Al Jazirat Al Hamra, Ras Al Khaimah. It is about a 93-kilometre drive from Dubai
Open throughout the day.
9. Qasr Al Muwaiji
Once you are done with all the historical places in Dubai, you must not end your quest without visiting the Qasr Al Muwaiji in Abu Dhabi. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is loaded with images that depict the past of UAE flawlessly.
Qasr Al Muwaiji fort was built by Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bin Khalifa, the son of Sheikh Zayed Bin Khalifa 1st. It allows visitors to understand the early days of the founding fathers of the country and their lifestyle.
Qasr Al Muwaiji is a fine example of early 20th century architecture combining the mud and brink. This spectacular edifice has watched over the Al Muwaiji Oasis for over 100 years ensuring breath-taking views. Overall architecture of this fort is simple yet strikingly different from other forts in UAE.
Khalifa Bin Zayed Street, Al Muwaiji, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Monday to Sunday: 10.00 AM – 6.00 PM
10. Al Badiyah Mosque
Number 10 on our list of the best Historical Places in Dubai is Al Badiyah Mosque.
Located in the Fujairah Emirate, Al Badiyah Mosque is the oldest known mosque in the UAE. This mosque is considered one of the best-preserved religious as well as archaeological specimens from the ancient era. The Al Badiyah Mosque features a somewhat round structure, dating back to 14th century.
The main frame of this curvaceous mosque is made of mud-bricks and adorned with four-pointed domes. The whole structure relies on a single internal pillar. The architecture of this mosque shows the prominent influence of Ottoman style and fondly called the Ottoman Mosque. Inside the mosque, traditional palm mats cover the floor area to add a rustic charm to its ambience.
Non-Muslim visitors are free to enter the mosque provided they are dressed modestly and agree to remove their shoes at the entrance. Female visitors must cover their heads. You can even borrow a headscarf called abayas from the attendant before entering the mosque.
Al Bidiya, Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
Every day from 8.30 AM to 6.00 PM.
Thank you for reading about the best Historical Places in Dubai. Your next Dubai trip can be an overwhelming exploration of the past to understand the brilliant present of the UAE and Dubai too!