History, Art and Culture

A visit to any city or country is incomplete until one has understood their culture and visited the historical monuments. Dubai is also packed with historical monuments, museums and cultural diversities which one cannot miss. Listed below are the must visit places in Dubai to explore the city’s history.


Al Badiyah Mosque – The oldest extant mosque in theUnited Arab Emirates located in a small village in emirate Fujairah about 50 km north from region center. It is also known as Ottoman Mosque. The prayer hall has a small mihrab (the niche in the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca), a simple pulpit, arches and openings. A central pillar divides the internal space into four squares of similar dimensions. The pillar supports all four domes that can be seen from the exterior. There are also cube-shaped spaces carved into the thick walls where copies of the Quran and other books are stored. The mosque continues to host daily prayers and is a tourist attraction.

Heritage Village – The Heritage Village was built in 1997, at the Al Shindagha historic neighborhood. The reason behind establishing it was to display the traditional life style in the emirate of Dubai, as well as a form of an introduction to the traditional customs, traditions, professions and local craftsmanship. The Heritage Village is considered as an attraction for the tourists interested in the local traditional life. The village witnesses the events of UAE National Day, Dubai Shopping Festival, Flag Day and others.

Al Bithnah Fort – Al Bithnah Fort is thought to date back to the late 18th century, having been built as a result of the Wahhabi incursions of the early 1800sfollowing the battle of Bithnah. The fort is constructed from stone, mud-brick, adobe and palm-wood planking.Prior to the construction of the road to Masafi, in the 1970s, traffic to the interior from the coast passed through the bed of the wadi, overlooked by the fort which would have occupied a strategic location.

Al Ahmadiya School – Al Ahmadiya School is one of the most prestigious ancient educational institutions, and the first semi-formal private school in Dubai, and is today owned and managed by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Founded in the year 1912 by Sheikh Ahmed bin Dalmouk, one of the giants of the pearl trade in the Persian Gulf. Following his demise, his son Sheikh Mohammed bin Ahmed bin Dalmouk completed the construction of the school and named it Al Ahmadiya School in honor of his father. The Dubai government had worked on the restoration of Al Ahmadiya School in mid-1994 and converted it into a museum which was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum on March 20, 2000, representing the genesis of semi-formal education in Dubai.

Jumeriah Mosque – Jumeirah Mosque is a mosque in Dubai City. It is said that it is the most photographed mosque in all of Dubai. Organized tours are available for non-Muslims.Construction began in 1976; the mosque is built in traditional Fatimid style.Over the past two decades, the Jumeirah Mosque has become renowned as the focal point of Dubai’s “Open doors. Open minds.” programme as it is the only mosque in Dubai which is open to the public and dedicated to receiving non-Muslim guests.

Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House – Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House is a historic building and former residential quarters of Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, former ruler of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.The building is located along the Dubai Creek in the locality of Al Shindagha. It was established around 1894 as the seat of the Al Maktoum family. The building is now a museum that contains artefacts and images of the old town of Dubai.

Saruq Al-Hadid Museum – Housed in a historic building in the Shindagha Heritage District of Dubai, the museum tells the story of one of the most exciting and mysterious archaeological sites yet discovered in the Emirate.The museum uses state-of-the-art technology to explore Saruq Al-Hadid – ‘the Way of Iron’ – a remote desert site that was a centre for metalworking some three thousand years ago.This is the first time the objects from Saruq Al-Hadid have been on public display in a museum, offering a fascinating insight into the skill and accomplishments of the people who worked at this Iron Age ‘factory’.

Art & Cultural Galleries in Dubai – Art is an emerging activity in Dubai. New galleries art fairs, artists, art patrons and collectors have grown in number. From veterans to emerging talents, we share a comprehensive list of art and cultural galleries to visit and make the most of Dubai’s vibrant arts scene.

Mottahedan Projects – Mottahedan Projects (MP) is a commercial project space specializing in exhibiting and promoting international contemporary art. Featuring emerging and established artists, MP exhibits curated group shows as well as special projects by individual artists presented in the form of solo shows. The project space aims to broaden the world stage for contemporary art as it places works in private collections and acts as a liaison between international galleries and museums in a rapidly growing region.

Artspace Dubai – Founded in 2003, ARTSPACE Dubai is dedicated to the promotion of Modern and contemporary Middle Eastern Art and Artists. ARTSPACE caters to the tastes and trends of the sophisticated Dubai art scene and the gallery’s discerning worldwide collector base.The gallery has participated in several local and international art fairs and collaborated with numerous iconic art institutions. It continues to be one of the art world’s leading platforms for contemporary Middle Eastern art.

Cuadro Fine Art Gallery – Founded in 2008, Cuadro Fine Art Gallery, located in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), has quickly become one of the UAE’s premier contemporary and modern art venues.Cuadro Fine Art Gallery maintains four keys areas of focus: exhibitions, education, residency and consultation.Cuadro’s curated exhibitions provide audiences with an opportunity to experience different approaches and execution styles of art. Cuadro also provides qualified art consultation services for its discerning collectors, building on and enhancing existing collections, as well as helping establish new collections.

LawrieShabibi – LawrieShabibi is a contemporary art gallery housed at Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue. The gallery supports the long-term development of the careers of young international contemporary artists with a focus on those from the Middle East and North Africa. The gallery also organizes art historical exhibitions working with an older generation of artists from the region. Liaising with curators, institutions, museums and collectors the gallery has successfully introduced international artists to the region whilst at the same time presented Middle Eastern artists to the international contemporary arts community. LawrieShabibi has in the space of five years been a forerunner in the development of the contemporary art scene in Dubai.

Meem Gallery – Meem Gallery’s expertise lies in modern and contemporary Arab and Iranian art, with a particular focus on the work of the Middle East’s modern masters. The gallery’s strength lies in its unparalleled access to both private and public collections of the region’s leading artists. Since its 2007 launch it is fast becoming the city’s arts district, Meem has been the site of numerous carefully curated exhibitions, many of which introduced the work of major regional artists to Gulf audiences. The gallery has focused on the work of individual artists in solo shows, as well as art production from a geographical perspective in the group and joint exhibitions.

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