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Top Historical Sights in Dubai

Top Historical Sights in Dubai

Top Historical Sights in Dubai 

While Dubai is known for its modern and futuristic architecture, it also has a rich history with several historical sights that offer a glimpse into the city’s heritage. Here are some of the top historical sights in Dubai:

  1. Al Fahidi Historic District (Al Bastakiya):
    • This is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Dubai, known for its narrow lanes, traditional wind-tower architecture, and restored buildings. It’s home to the Dubai Museum, housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, which showcases the city’s history and transformation.
  2. Dubai Creek:
    • The Dubai Creek is a natural seawater inlet that has been a crucial element in the city’s development. Take a traditional abra (water taxi) ride along the creek to experience the historical and modern sides of Dubai. The area around the creek also features the historic districts of Deira and Bur Dubai.
  3. Jumeirah Mosque:
    • This is one of the most iconic mosques in Dubai and is open to non-Muslim visitors. Guided tours are available to provide insights into Islamic culture and architecture.
  4. Dubai Heritage Village:
    • Located in the Al Shindagha area, the Heritage Village is a reconstructed traditional Emirati village. It offers a glimpse into Dubai’s past with exhibits showcasing traditional crafts and activities.
  5. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House:
    • The former residence of Dubai’s ruling Al Maktoum family, this house is now a museum displaying photographs, documents, and artifacts related to the city’s history.
  6. Alserkal Avenue:
    • While not ancient, Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz has quickly become a hub for contemporary art and culture in Dubai. It features art galleries, studios, and spaces for creative expression.
  7. Dubai Heritage and Diving Village:
    • Located in the Shindagha district, this cultural site showcases the traditional way of life in Dubai, including pearl diving and fishing. Visitors can explore exhibits, watch demonstrations, and purchase traditional crafts.
  8. Bastakiya Walls and Majlis Gallery:
    • Walk along the restored walls of the Bastakiya area to appreciate the historic architecture. The Majlis Gallery, located in the heart of Al Fahidi Historic District, is an art gallery housed in a traditional wind-tower building.
  9. Dubai Souks:
    • The city’s traditional markets, or souks, are important historical sites. The Gold Souk and the Spice Souk in Deira are particularly popular, offering a glimpse into Dubai’s trading history.
  10. Hatta Heritage Village:
    • Located about 115 kilometers from Dubai, Hatta Heritage Village provides a deeper look into traditional mountain village life. The village has preserved structures, exhibits, and demonstrations of traditional crafts.

These historical sights offer a diverse range of experiences, allowing visitors to appreciate the roots and cultural heritage of Dubai alongside its modern development.

Dubai is a city that exudes unmatched modernity and glittery shine at every corner. Glowing through its extraordinary style is the roots of its humble past. Yes, Dubai has its fair share of history and culture, which make it a destination for all. If you wish to travel through time, the city, fortunately, is overrun with options and this list of top historical sights in Dubai will get you started. 

Dubai’s History: Interesting Facts 

  • Dubai traces its origins back to the early Minoan period (3000 BC).
  • Dubai was first referenced in the Book of Geography (by Abu Abdullah Al Bakri, a geographer) in 1095. 
  • From 1800 to the 1830s, Dubai was a walled city. 
  • Dubai became a fishing village after the Maktoum Dynasty (under the leadership of Maktoum bin Butti) announced its independence from Abu Dhabi in 1833. 
  • As Dubai began to flourish, it saw a huge influx of expatriates in the late 19th century. 
  • Pearl farming was the region’s major industry until the discovery of oil. 
  • Dubai got a major facelift after the discovery of oil in the 1960s. 
  • Dubai became a part of the UAE (United Arab Emirates), along with other emirates, in 1971, after the British left the Gulf region. 
  • Dubai, today, is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations, with its right measure of culture, history, and modernity. 

Top 10 Historical Attractions In Dubai 

  1. Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood 

There is no better way to know what life was like for Dubaiites in the age-old times than with a visit to the 19th century Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, locally known as Al Bastakiya Quarter. It is so well preserved that it gives you an authentic slice of Dubai’s modest past. There are over 50 houses, featuring traditional wind towers made using wood, stone, or gypsum, and charming courtyards. With its trail of museums, art galleries, and other classical landmarks, each of the sights here is steeped in history and introduces you to a side of Dubai that you never imagined. 

  • Opening Hours: 07:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs daily 
  • Entry Fee: Free 
  1. Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU)

A part of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, a visit to SMCCU is a must for anyone who wishes to have a bonafide understanding of the inspiring Emirati history, heritage, and religious beliefs. True to its impressive motto (Open Doors, Open Minds), it is where you can clear all your doubts about Emirati customs, traditions, etc. Housed inside a charmingly refurbished wind tower house, it conducts guided mosque tours (to the stunning Jumeirah Mosque) plus Arabic classes and also offers scrumptious dining sessions, especially for those who wish to take a look at the region’s quintessential culinary specialties. 

  • Opening Hours: 
    • Sunday to Thursday: 08:00 hrs to 15:00 hrs 
    • Saturday: 09:00 hrs to 13:00 hrs 
    • Friday: Holiday 
  • Entry Fee: Rates start at AED 25/-
  1. Arabian Tea House 

Want to dine in a mind-boggling, old-world setting? Arabian Tea House, tucked away in the quiet alleys of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, is the first place to go. Earlier known as Basta Art Café, it is apparently more than a place to delight in the authentic Emirati and lavish Middle Eastern delicacies. It lets you experience heartwarming Emirati hospitality. It also steps you back in time, thanks to its attention-to-detail, artistic décor that is straight out of a bygone era. Rightly so, it is the first as well as the most authentic Emirati dining venue in the region. 

Opening hours: 07:30 hrs to 23:00 hrs daily 

  1. Al Ahmadiya School

Built-in 1912 by the late Sheikh Ahmed bin Dalmouk – one of the Gulf region’s affluent pearl merchants, it holds the credit of being the first school in Dubai. In fact, it was one of the region’s most prominent educational institutions till it was closed in the 1950s. Later, it was opened in 2000 as a historical museum by HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The best thing is that it is a free attraction where you can relive the emirate’s past in the most interactive way, with the help of videos, dioramas and of course the original furniture as well as several academic kinds of stuff that were used in olden times.  

  • Entry Fee: Free 
  1. Dubai Museum 

Placed at the historic Dubai Creek’s southern end, Dubai Museum is one of the major stops in the majority of Dubai city tour and heritage tours, and for all genuine reasons. First of all, it is located inside the city’s oldest structure, Al Fahidi Fort. Before it was revamped and turned into a museum in 1971, this 18th-century fort served as a residence and a prison. Now it has on view incredible exhibits that date back to as early as 3000 BC. It is also a great place to grab some interesting facts on the region’s pearl diving heritage as well as the intriguing lifestyle of the Emiratis. 

  • Opening Hours:
    • Saturday to Thursday: 08:30 hrs to 20:30 hrs 
    • Friday: 14:30 hrs to 20:30 hrs 

Entry Fee: AED 3 for adults & AED 1 for kids under six years 

  1. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House

Time-travel back to the 1890s on your visit to the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House! Located in one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city – Al Shindagha, it served as the residence of Dubai’s ruling family for over six decades. It is where the grandfather of the current Dubai (HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum) lived. It has nine different sections, bursting with a smorgasbord of displays including old photographs, historical documents, coins, and even jewelry pieces. Not to mention, they give you a glimpse of the UAE’s royal ruling family and their interesting past. 

  • Opening hours: 
    • Saturday to Thursday: 08:00 hrs to 20:30 hrs 
    • Friday: 15:00 hrs to 20:30 hrs 
  • Entry Fee: AED 15 for adults & AED 5 for kids above 5 years; entry is free for kids below 5 years and people of determination. 
  1. Al Shindagha Museum 

Al Shindagha Museum is another must-visit for those who wish to have an authentic immersion into the region’s culture and history. The highlight is an exciting multimedia display; it comprises cool videos, photographs, and other artifacts which journey you through the region’s exciting past, along with its maritime roots, in the most immersive way. You also get to visit the Perfume House where you get to explore and feel the rich Emirati fragrances. 

  • Opening hours: 10:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs on all days except for Tuesdays 
  • Entry Fee: AED 15 for adults, AED 10 for families and groups, and AED 5 for students (from 5 to 24 years)
  1. Al Seef 

Looking for a Dubai attraction that immaculately fuses old with new? A trip to Al Seef should be on top of your to-do list in Dubai. It was opened only in 2017, but it presents the legendary Dubai Creek and the heritage attractions surrounding it in the liveliest manner possible. Filled with endless dining, leisure, entertainment, and souk-inspired shopping options, Al Seef is an approximately two kilometers long development close to Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. With uber-stylish structures on one side and the charming heritage Arab structures with wind towers on the other, this waterfront destination is what once used to be the gateway to the most thriving pearl diving attraction in the region. 

  • Opening hours: 
    • Sunday to Thursday: 10:00 hrs to 22:00 hrs 
    • Friday & Saturday: 10:00 hrs to 24:00 hrs 
  • Entry Fee: Free 
  1. Traditional Souks 

Be it for bargain shopping or accurate know-how of the age-old, vibrant Emirati trade scenario, Dubai’s traditional bazaars, which are locally known as souks, are unmissable. It is where merchants from across the globe have been trading their wares since time immemorial. Stroll down the narrow alleys of Gold Souk with an overwhelming amount of gold jewelry pieces, or make your way through the fragrance-packed Perfume Souk. Experience a burst of flavors wafting through the air at Spice Souk and get ready to take home some extraordinary souvenirs, apparel, toys, etc at unbelievable rates from the Old Textile Souk. They are spread across Dubai’s Bur Dubai and Deira areas. 

  1. Hatta Heritage Village 

No list of historical spots in Dubai is complete without mentioning this 16th-century heritage village. Lying in the Al Hajjar Mountains and placed about 125 kilometers away from the city center, it is a traditional mountain settlement where time stands still. The area is especially striking for its unequaled quietude which effortlessly radiates the old-world charm. There are picturesque huts and shops that sell traditional items. You also get to admire the 19th-century Hatta Fort, step into the Bait Al Wali (which is one of the region’s largest houses), and even make a stop at the lush Hatta Hill Park. 

  • Opening hours: 
    • Saturday to Thursday: 07:30 am to 20:30 pm
    • Friday: 14:30 pm to 20:30 pm
  • Entry Fee: Free


Whether you are passionate to discover the region’s past or simply want to have a distinct Emirati experience, it is worth adding a few of the above Dubai historical sights to your bucket list. So get your Dubai tourist visa and visit this wonderful place. But, make sure that you take a break from its surefire sights and check out its timeless attractions too; it allows you to see a different face of Dubai that is refreshingly unpretentious, enlightening, and cool. 

Top Historical Sights in Dubai

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