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“Good opportunity to learn more about the Emirati people”

Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
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Authentic Emirati Cultural Meal and Talk in Old Dubai
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Cultural Tour of the Al Fahidi Al Bastakiya District in Authentic Old Dubai
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Panoramic Tour of Iconic Attractions of Modern Dubai
Ranked #25 of 413 things to do in Dubai
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) invites visitors and residents alike to learn about the local culture, customs and religion through its various interactive programmes under the banner and motto of the centre, "Open doors. Open minds.". The SMCCU offers Cultural Breakfast Monday & Wednesday at 10am, Cultural Lunch Sunday through Thursday at 1pm, Dinner every Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday night at 7pm and Saturday Brunch at 10:30am. We also offer Tours of the historic district every Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday at 10:30am and Saturday at 9am which includes a visit inside the Mosque near the Ruler's Court. We also offer educational courses and programmes for students and adults, and arrange private group tours and cultural events for your groups and institutions. Pre-booking and reservations can be made on our website or by contacting our office directly.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children
Reviewed 8 June 2014

Me and my mum went on the Heritage Tour which typically includes a tour around the Al Fahidi Historic District, visit to the Diwan Mosque and then Q&A session in the SMCCU house with some Arabic tea / coffee and dates. However, as we went in June when the temperature was around 40 degrees+, we spent most of the time in the Diwan Mosque and SMCCU house with our guide telling us more about the Emirati and Muslim culture. Although the references / comparisons to the Christian faith were largely incorrect, it was still very interesting to understand more about the Muslim religion and to see what Dubai looked like before the skyscrapers! I should add that some Muslims may be offended by how liberal the guide can be when interpreting parts of the Qur'an. The other disclaimer is the guide will be English speaking, so I wouldn't recommend this tour if you find English difficult to understand.

Dress code is casual and the guide will provide appropriate clothing for the mosque if necessary. Guests can also book to have lunch after the tour in the SMCCU house.

Thank Cely8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 June 2014

Visited the centre and partook of the explanations given as well as answered many questions concerning the way of life of the locals and the religious practices observed. Gave a good insight into why they dressed and lived in this manner for centuries.

Thank Jose T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2014

1st of all, my advice is go in the cooler months - Nov to March and 'book the tour', where you will learn about the Arab culture, their dress & you'll visit the mosque and gain understanding of what it means to the Muslim community.
It's not a particularly large area and don't expect huge dominant buildings as you'd get in Europe for instance. Accept it for what it is.
The young arab lady who showed us round was very friendly, though at certain stops when ppl started to ask questions, they were asked politely to save them for when we go inside for refreshments where she would answer them then. I felt by the time that part came people had lost the thread & some questions asked earlier, didn't come up again during this seated 'questions & answers' session.
I also felt it was entirely inappropriate when an American women started asking questions about 'historical wars' and expected this young lady to furnish us all with political views. Of course she did the right thing & led the session back to what ..it should be about.. quite gracefully I thought!
Go with the mindset of learning about the local culture & leave the political landscape at home, and you'll enjoy a pleasant morning.
Tie the visit in with a boat trip over the waters to the gold souk or enjoy a wander around the busy Dubai Creek and make it a full day out.
An added bonus for me after the cultural tour ended, was when we stumbled across a delightful restaurant inside the cultural area. This isn't signposted (or it wasn't), and after meandering around the narrow streets, we came across it unexpectedly, so watch out for this picturesqe & lovely little establishment. I don't even know its name!

3  Thank Jenny H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2014

The host was amazing and his humour and knowledge exceptional. Would highly recommend this experience to all.

Thank paulabell171
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2014

SMCCU offers different kind of arrangements in one of the oldest part of Dubai, Bastikiya. I went to the cultural breakfast that was hosted by a lovely young Emirati woman. While eating a traditional breakfast, she told us about the religion, the history and the culture, telling us more about the clothing and social rules. It was all very interesting and she was very charismatic.As a new joiner to Dubai I can really recommend visiting SMCCU.

Thank Pennsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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