A great way to recognise the month of Ramadan in this vibrant city is to learn about Dubai's heritage and culture with some self-guided tours at some of the most historical places in Old Dubai. The 50 degrees heat does bite our patience a little, but there are three air-conditioned museums and sites in the city where you can enjoy a short trip of culture that will help you understand more of the UAE's rich culture.
1. Saruq al-Hadid Museum
This is the oldest archaeological site discovered by Shaikh Mohammed while he was flying in a helicopter over the area when he noticed the sand dunes were slightly darker than usual. The museum displays locally unearthed artefacts that prove how Dubai became a hub for trade and civilisation in the Arabian Peninsula back in the day.
How to get there: The museum is five minutes away from the Al Ghubaiba Metro Station and 10 minutes away from the Al Ghubaiba bus station.
Saruq al-Hadid Museum Tickets Individual: Dh20, Children 7 to 12 years: Dh10, Adults over 60: free, Children up to 6 years: free Ramadan Timings Saturday and Thursday 9AM to 2PM, Sunday to Wednesday 9AM to 5PM Contact 04 3539090
2. XVA Gallery
This quaint place should be on every culture lovers to-do list. The gallery is in the old part of the town and is perfect for photography enthusiasts. It is a restored old house in traditional style with wind tower architecture. Although this is better seen in the cooler months, it's still a great place to relax. The courtyard is breathtaking and a tranquil place to chill.
How to get there: The museum is 15 minutes away from Al Fahidi Metro Station.
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XVA Gallery Entrance is free Timings 7 days a week: 10am to 6pm Contact 04 3535988
3. Etihad Museum
The Etihad Museum is spread over 26,000 square meters and is located adjacent to the Union House. The entrance of the museum is designed in the shape of a manuscript with seven columns that simulate the pen used to sign the UAE declaration. The museum includes permanent and temporary halls, a theatre, an educational area, a recreational area, administrative offices and car parking. It’s made up of eight permanent galleries in addition to a temporary gallery to exhibit items from international museums. The exhibitions are mostly experience-driven while the programmes are interactive. The museum’s collection includes objects and documents related to the events of the formation of the UAE nation.
Location Jumeirah 1, across from 2nd of December Street, Dubai Cost Free Contact 04 5155771
4. Naif Museum
The Naif Fort was built in 1939 in the heart of Deira. It was Dubai’s very first police station. In the early 1990s, the Fort was reconditioned in a way that still maintained its archaeological features. In 1997 one of the wings of the fort was converted into an official museum, open to visitors to know about the history of the police and security services in Dubai. When you visit the Naif Museum, you will get to walk through two showrooms in which the old models of police uniforms as well as the medals and badges of police ranks are featured. You will also get to see the old equipment and weapons of the police squad from its formation up until now.
Location: Naif Area, Deira Cost FreeTimings from Sunday to Thursday, from 8am until 2pm, closed on Friday and Saturday Contact 04 5155000
5. Al Ahmadiya School and Heritage House
The Al Ahmadiya School that was established in 1912 and remained active until 1962. It is located in Al Ras area of Dubai, this museum can be explored in a few hours. This heritage site belongs to wealthy pearl merchant, Shaikh Ahmad Bin Dalmouk, and exhibits life-size creations of the country in the 1970s. It’s worth taking a look round to get an idea of what education used to be like before the introduction of a foreign curriculum. It was the first regular school in Dubai, which was attended by famous pupils including the father of Dubai – Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Built around a large courtyard the school is a beauty complete with scalloped archways with intricate details.
Location Al Ahmadiya Street in Deira, near Al Ras metro station, behind Dubai Public Libraries Cost Free Timings Sunday to Thursday from 8am to 7.30pm, Friday from 2.30pm to 7.30pm Contact 04 2260286