Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort, Dubai

Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort, Dubai (must see)

The best way to find out about Dubai's traditional culture and everyday life before the discovery of oil is to visit the Dubai Museum.

The museum is located in the oldest stronghold in Dubai, the Al Fahidi Fort, built in 1787. The fort is square with towers on three corners overlooking a central courtyard. At its east entrance are two cannons and the flags of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. In the central court, there is a bronze cannon and balls and a summer house called an Arish, built of woven palm fronds. Inside the Arish here is a sitting area with divans, a sleeping area, and a kitchen.

The museum is housed in the halls that line three of the fort’s walls and in the galleries under the courtyard. It has an impressive display of arms and weapons used over the centuries. There is a model of the city in 1820 and traditional musical instruments, accompanied by a video of folk music.

One of the galleries contains old maps of Dubai and a video room showing short documentaries about life in Dubai from before the discovery of oil to the present day. Another gallery houses a dhow (a traditional boat) and a life-size model of a creek side souk, complete with stalls, figures of merchants, craftsmen and pearl traders.

You will also find a model of a mosque, a typical family house, and a Bedouin tent with details about life in the desert, with date farms and camels. Another gallery deals with star-maps and how the night sky was used to determine various important events in Arabian life. You will also see dioramas about marine life and how to build a dhow. The visit ends with dioramas showing the Al Qusais architectural site, with tombs and skeletons.

The whole museum uses excellent sound effects to accompany each different section of the gallery to make you feel that you really are back in “Old Dubai”. There is also a very good gift shop.

Make sure you walk around the museum and go to the old town called Al Fahidi – it is peaceful and quiet, with beautiful Arabic architecture, and open to visitors.

Editor's note: this venue is currently under renovation and will be closed to the public until further notice.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Dubai. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort on Map

Sight Name: Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort
Sight Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates (See walking tours in Dubai)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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