Dubai’s historic district, officially known as the Al Fahidi Historical District, is one of the oldest heritage sites in Dubai, and, due to its strategic location, has played a significant role in the development of the city over the years. From captivating museums to historic architecture, here are some of the must-see highlights when exploring the area.
The beautifully restored Al Fahidi Fort was built in the late 1700s, making it one of the oldest buildings in Dubai. While this site has served as everything from a palace to a prison over the years, today it is home to the Dubai Museum, a must-visit for those wanting to learn more about the history of the city. The exhibits here are wonderfully varied, with everything from unique archaeological treasures to aerial photos that depict the growth of the city over the decades.
The Coffee Museum is a small but fascinating one, displaying artefacts and antiques that date back over 300 years. From traditional Arabic coffee jars to the intoxicating scent of freshly brewed coffee beans wafting over from the museum’s custom-built brew bar, this is a great little place to spend a bit of time.
Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
For those wanting to learn more about Dubai’s heritage and culture, then a visit to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is a must. In addition to the regular talks that are hosted here, which encompass a wide range of topics relating to Dubai’s traditions and heritage, you will also be able to experience everything from a traditional Emirati breakfast to guided tours of the district.
Arabian Tea House
Exploring the Al Fahidi Historical District can be tiring, and there is no better place to stop for a rest than the Arabian Tea House, where you will be able to experience a true sense of traditional Arabian hospitality. The menu here consists of deliciously authentic local dishes, from light bites and snacks to heavier meals, as well as fresh juices that are wonderfully refreshing in the midst of Dubai’s heat.
Bait Al Wakeel Maritime Museum
Located near the water taxi station, the Bait Al Wakeel Maritime Museum is dedicated to preserving the city’s unique maritime heritage. The building itself was built in 1934, making it the very first office building in Dubai, as well as one of the oldest buildings in the city, and now houses the museum’s maritime collections. In addition to the exhibits here, there is also an on-site restaurant here that serves up Emirati and Levantine dishes, from citrus-drizzled salads to aromatic lamb kebabs.
While Dubai may be known for its glamorous and extravagant lifestyle, as well as its cloud-topping architecture, it also has a rich history that is well worth learning about. From the wide range of exhibits at the Dubai Museum, to tasting your way through the city’s history at the Arabian Tea House, be sure to visit each of these venues the next time you are in the Al Fahidi Historical District.