The small emirate of Umm Al Quwain has lots to offer visitors in terms of natural beauty, culture, and chequered history. Amidst a peaceful environment – far removed from the hustle and bustle of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah – Umm Al Quwain gives visitors a chance to witness the rich cultural history of the emirate, by paying a visit to the Umm Al Quwain Museum.
The building that houses the museum today was at one time a fort. It served as the residence of the rulers earlier. It contains a lot of interesting items, including many artifacts that were excavated at Ed Dur. Ed Dur is among the UAE’s largest archaeological sites. It is also listed as a lost city of the Arabian peninsula. These artifacts open a window to Arabia’s ancient past and the life led by the then inhabitants of the land.
You would find the museum in the Madeena Al Qadeema area. This is part of the old quarters of the city. Here, it is like a time travel back to the past as the area maintains the old and traditional look & feel of a typical Arabian small town.
History of Umm Al Quwain
The museum is housed within the Al Ali Fort. Sheikh Rashid Bin Majid Al Mualla, the founder of the ruling Al Mualla dynasty, constructed the fort in 1768. It used to serve as the residential quarters of the ruling family, and also the seat of the government.
For almost two centuries, the fort continued to serve as the center of power in the emirate. Thereafter, it became a police station. In 2000, Sheikh Rashid Bin Ahmed Al Mualla, the then Ruler of Umm Al Quwain, took the initiative to convert the building into a museum. It was opened to the general public as a tourist attraction.
Things to See at the Museum
Many fascinating items are housed inside the museum. Full of traditional Emirati furnishings, the star attractions of the museum are the numerous archaeological finds from Ed Dur and Tel Abraq. Various stone plates depicting animals, statuettes of falcons and other birds, bone plaques, and a multitude of interesting items, dating back to the days of the Roman Empire, dot the museum. Don’t miss to visit the Museum of the Future where you can see what will be happening in the future technology.
Other things to see at the museum include:
you can see various old photographs here that are a wonderful visual representation of the glory days of old Umm Al Quwain.
Among the most popular rooms in the museum, this section provides a glimpse into the way the royal family members spent their lives. It contains gifts received by the ruling family from the world over, like golden swords, coins, jewelry, etc. There is also a family tree of the rulers here, glazed in gold.
Sea Equipment Chamber
The sea served as the lifeline of the Emiratis since time immemorial. Fishing, pearl cultivation, and even activities like diving & swimming. This room contains various models of ships used for fishing & pearl cultivation. Various traditional diving & navigation equipment are also to be seen here.
This is a storehouse of the many critical documents that have been prepared in the emirate since the olden days. Umm Al Quwain’s first passport, first driving license, first stamp paper, and numerous other important documents are displayed here. This room allows you to comprehend the wonderful journey that the emirate had from tradition to modernity.
Sheikh and Sheikhah Rooms
The living chambers of the important members of the royal family, these rooms contain ornate beds for the residents and their children, beautifully decorated clothes cupboards and perfume boxes, exquisite utensils, and also chambers where the guests used to come and meet the sheiks and sheikhahs.
A visit to the museum wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the traditional market located here. This market, or “souq,” as they are called, is a part of traditional Arabian daily life for millennia. Shop around for items like attar (perfume), Mahloa, Kahwa, etc.
Location of the Museum
You need to reach Al Lubna Road. You can hire a taxi or take a self-driven rented car to reach the venue.
- Saturday to Thursday: 08:00 am to 02:00 pm
- Fridays: 05:00 pm to 08:00 pm