Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding

Located on the Al Fahidi Historic District’s edge, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding opened its doors in 1995. Moreover, if you seek to gain a deeper insight into the cultural heritage and history of the Emirates, this is the place to be. Also, the various activities, the tours that are conducted and the local cuisine tell you more about life in the Emirates.

History and Introduction

Founded by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, this non-profit organisation’s motto is ‘Open Doors, Open Minds’. Firstly, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding aims to create harmony between various cultural traditions. With myriad origins, it helps visitors know about the UAE’s cultural heritage.

You should make it a point to visit the museum between mid-September and mid-July to take guided tours of the Al Fahidi Historic District held many times every week. Secondly, these tours of 90 minutes are very informative. If you’re in a group of more than 10, you can be a part of Creekside tours of 21/2 hours that are much more comprehensive. Thirdly, visiting a mosque, Bastakiya Village taking an abra ride and going on a tour of the souks selling spices, textiles and gold in Bur Dubai and Deira are included in this tour. Lastly, you gather a lot of information at a Q&A session sipping on Arabian coffee, savouring juicy dates and enjoying tea.

Dig into traditional Emirati cuisine at a traditional meal inspired by the Bedouins. Tasting preparations that are a speciality of the Emirates, you can enjoy dishes like balaleet, machboos, saloona and chabab. What you choose on your menu depends on whether you’re having breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. You can opt for a tour of the Jumeirah Mosque by the centre and visitors enjoy it immensely.

Highlights of Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding

  • A visit to Dubai’s only mosque allowing visits by non-Muslims, the Jumeirah Mosque
  • Provided you have booked in advance, a walking tour through Bastakiya is also arranged
  • A guided tour of the Al Fahidi Historical District
  • If you are in a group of 10, a comprehensive Creekside tour is also organised
  • A tour of vibrant souks selling textiles, spices and gold
  • A taste of traditional Emirati cuisine where exclusive dishes are served


  • The centre is open to visitors on working days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • On Saturdays and Sundays, you have to visit the museum between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Important Information

  • Since the tour includes a visit to a mosque, all visitors are to dress very soberly.
  • All should make it a point to avoid any exposure.
  • When visiting the Jumeirah Mosque, you have to be in the company of a representative of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.
  • The museum was founded in the year 1995 by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid.
  • In keeping with its motto of ‘Open Doors, Open Minds’, the museum is intended to help foster harmony between different cultures.

How to Reach

  • It’s best to take a bus since it’s cheap, yet comfortable. Hop into one at Bastakiya 1 or Roundabout 1 of Fahidi
  • Rent a car from Travel Saga Tourism to reach the museum conveniently.

Visiting the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding is certainly an enriching experience since you get to learn about the Emirates’ rich history and cultural heritage. You take a trip back in time when you visited the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, where you witnessed how life was in the Emirates before oil was struck. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding beautifully presents the Emirates’ eventful history.

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