Dubai- known for its glitz, glamour, and the bling bling, is not totally devoid of history and archeology. It is rather immersed in olden times, subtly cooing the lore of the bygone. There are numerous sites and places to visit for those interested in the history and archeology of Dubai, which started as a small fishing village.
Below are the most interesting museums and places where one can dig into the past of Dubai;
1: Dubai Museum in Al Fahidi Fort
Housed within the beautifully restored Al Fahidi Fort, which was erected around 1787 to defend the city against invasion, the museum's diverse collection of exhibits offers a fascinating insight into the rich history and cultural heritage. Renovated in 1971 for use as museum, its colourful life size dioramas vividly depict everyday life in the days before the discovery of oil. Galleries recreate scenes from the Creek, traditional Arab houses, mosques, the souk, date farms and desert and marine life. One of the more spectacular exhibits portrays pearl diving, including sets of pearl merchants’ weights, scales and shieves. Also on display are artifacts from several excavations in the emirate, recovered from graves that date back to the third millennium B.C.
Saturday to Thursday: 08:30-20:30 daily
2: Heritage & Diving Village
A traditional heritage village, located near the mouth of the Creek, has been created where potters and weavers display their crafts. Here the visitor can look back in time and experience some of Dubai's heritage. The Diving Village forms part of an ambitious plan to turn the entire Shindagha area into a cultural microcosm, recreating life in Dubai as it was in days gone by.
Saturday to Thursday: 08:00-22:00 daily
Friday: 08:00-11:00 and 16:00-22:00
Activities timing: 21:00-24:00
3: Al Ahmadiya School
Al-Ahmadiya School was first constructed in 1912 and is the oldest school in Dubai. The school was started by Ahmed Bin Dalmouk, a philanthropist pearl merchant. At first the Al-Ahmadiya School taught only limited subjects including basic math, Islamic studies as well as Arabic language and grammar to about 200 boys.
Students sat on mats made from palm-tree leaves and the main focus of the Al-Ahmadiya School was based around the Quran. As other schools opened in the 1920s, Al-Ahmadiya School closed and then was re-opened in the 1930s. The school officially closed in 1965 and has been restored as a museum of public education.
4: Hatta Village
The Hatta Heritage Village was opened to the public in February 2001 after careful and extensive renovation. The village represents another fine example of the Heritage of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. Situated 115km southeast of Dubai city in the heart of the rocky Hatta Mountains, it provides the visitor with a fascinating glimpse into Dubai's historical past. The history of the village can be traced back to 2000 - 3000 years. It consists of 30 buildings, each differing in size, interior layout and building materials used.
Saturday-Thursday: 08:00-20:00 daily
5: H.H. Sheikh Saeed House
The official residence of Sheikhs Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai (1912-1958) and grandfather of the present Ruler, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has been restored to stand proud again on the Shindagha end of Dubai Creek. The house, which dates from 1896, today houses a rare Collection of historic photographs, coins, stamps and documents that record Dubai’s history.
Saturday-Thursday: 08:00-20:30 daily
6: Archaeological Sites
There are four main excavation sites in Dubai, at Al Qusais, Al Sufooh, Jumeirah and Hatta. The first two are graveyards dating back more than 2,000 years. The Jumeirah site reveals artifacts from the 7th to 15th centuries AD. These sites are not yet open to the public. However tourist or tour operators may obtain a special permit from Dubai Museum to visit the digs.
7: Naif Museum
Naif Fort is considered the first headquarters of Dubai Police, today it is the Naif Police Station. Earlier, the fort also included a jail, and was built in a commercially active and crowded area. Renovated in 1994 with extra care taken to keep the external structure similar to of the old Naif fort, The new Naif Police Station was inaugurated in 1997 which includes historical pieces, which show Naif Fort's history. He also wanted it to be open to visitors.