If you are a history buff or simply want to learn more about the authentic side of Dubai, I recommend visiting the Dubai Heritage Village. It is an open-air ethnographic complex, consisting of several museums and other attractions, located on the shore of the Dubai Creek. In the Heritage Village Dubai, you will explore the history of the region, Emirati lifestyle, culture and traditions. This tourist landmark was opened with the support of the Emirate’s government in 1997 in the Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood. Keep reading to learn about the Heritage Village in Dubai and its top attractions, tickets, opening times, location and more.
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Is Dubai Heritage Village visit worth it: pros and cons
Check my quick overview of the pros and cons below to make a balanced decision.
- Immerse yourself in Emirati culture: The village offers a unique opportunity to learn about Emirati culture and traditions. You can see Bedouin houses, watch craftsmen at work and even try your hand at traditional Emirati crafts.
- Experience Dubai’s history: The Heritage Village Dubai provides a glimpse into Dubai’s rich history. You can explore the village’s old watchtower, see the traditional irrigation system and learn about the pearl diving industry that once sustained the region.
- Enjoy stunning views: This landmark is located along the Dubai Creek, so you can enjoy beautiful views of the water and the city skyline. You can take a leisurely stroll along the creek or relax in one of the many cafes and restaurants in the area.
- Limited attractions: While the complex is a great place to learn about Emirati culture and history, its attractions are limited and less known. For a more action-packed day out, I recommend combining your visit with exploring other nearby areas of Dubai, including Bur Dubai and Deira.
- Limited accessibility: The Heritage Village Dubai is located in a pedestrian-only area, so if you come by car, you’ll need to park it and walk to the village. However, there are plenty of parking places.
What is the Dubai Heritage Village
The Dubai Heritage Village is a living museum that transports visitors back in time to experience the rich history, traditions and customs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Located in the historic district of Al Shindagha, the village is a fascinating place that showcases the Emirati way of life before the discovery of oil and the rapid modernization that followed. Here, you can witness authentic Emirati architecture, such as traditional wind towers, mud brick houses and coastal forts, as well as learn about the UAE’s pearl diving and fishing industries, which played a crucial role in the country’s development.
Wandering through the narrow alleys and courtyards of the Heritage Village in Al Shindagha, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time, with the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone era. From the souk, where traders sell their goods, to the skilled craftsmen demonstrating their time-honoured techniques, the Dubai Heritage Village offers a unique and immersive experience for all ages.
Not only is this landmark an important educational resource for those interested in the region’s history, but it’s also a space where Emirati culture and heritage are preserved and celebrated. With live performances, interactive workshops and traditional crafts on display, the village is a living testament to the UAE’s vibrant past.
Have Fun Dubai’s Tip: If you are searching for a suitable place for a photo session with a more historical and authentic backdrop, the Heritage Village in combination with Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood is one of the best options for you. This area is quieter and less packed with tourists, so you will have plenty of memorable shots. Book your Old Dubai walking tour with photo-shooting here.
The significance of Emirati culture and heritage
Emirati culture and heritage are deeply intertwined with the country’s history, and understanding these roots is essential for appreciating the rich tapestry of the UAE today. The UAE is known for its incredible transformation from a land of small fishing and pearl diving communities to a global powerhouse, with cutting-edge architecture and unrivalled luxury. However, beneath this modern facade lies a deep connection to traditional customs and values, which are the foundation of the country’s unique identity.
With the rapid pace of development in the UAE, it’s more important than ever to preserve and promote the nation’s cultural heritage. In my opinion, the Heritage Village in Dubai plays a crucial role in this endeavour, ensuring that both residents and visitors have the opportunity to experience and appreciate the rich history and traditions of the Emirates.
Top attractions at the Heritage Village Dubai
The Dubai Heritage Village is home to an array of landmarks that provide a fascinating insight into the UAE’s past. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient architecture, witnessing traditional crafts in action or learning about the region’s maritime history, there’s something for everyone at the Heritage Village.
The Dubai Creek
The Dubai Creek has long been the lifeblood of the city and has witnessed a lot of transformations, including the construction of stone houses, warehouses, piers and vibrant souks. Today, the Creek remains a bustling thoroughfare, with traditional wooden dhows ferrying goods and passengers along its waters. A visit to the Heritage Village Dubai wouldn’t be complete without taking a leisurely stroll along the Creek, where you can admire the beautiful architecture and watch the world go by. Also, take a traditional abra ride between Bur Dubai and Deira to savour beautiful Old Dubai vistas.
Historical wind towers
Walking along the shady narrow alleyways of the Heritage Village in Dubai, you will notice massive towers on top of many houses. These are the so-called wind towers, which are an integral element of local architecture. Air-conditioning was not yet invented in those early days, but the heat was at times merciless. So the purpose of these towers was to supply the inhabitants with cool air.
Look closer, and you will see that the towers have openings on all four sides. Thanks to them, the wind was pulled inward, passing through the water reservoir with a stretched wet cloth, and cooled off. This was a smart way of keeping the temperature low inside the stone buildings.
Al Shindagha Museum Dubai
The Al Shindagha Museum Dubai is a great attraction for history buffs, offering a comprehensive overview of the UAE’s past through interactive exhibits and immersive displays.
The museum is divided into more than 20 pavilions with 80 heritage houses, each dedicated to a different aspect of Emirati history, such as the development of Dubai as a global city, the role of women in society and the country’s maritime heritage. At the Shindagha Museum in Dubai, you can visit the Poetry House, the Traditional Crafts House, the Perfume House, the Culture of the Sea House, the Children’s House and many more.
- Al Shindagha Museum Dubai opening hours: 10:00 to 20:00
- Al Shindagha Museum Dubai ticket price: AED 50
Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House
The Al Shindagha Museum Dubai also includes the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House. This imposing building is the former residence of Dubai’s ruling family and an architectural gem that’s well worth a visit. Often referred to as the Al Maktoum Residence in Shindagha, the beautifully restored house features traditional wind towers, elegant courtyards and intricate wooden carvings, offering a glimpse into the lifestyle of the Al Maktoum dynasty.
Diving Village Dubai
The UAE’s pearl diving and fishing industries have played a crucial role in the country’s development, and the Diving Village Dubai right next to the Heritage Village Dubai is a tribute to these maritime traditions.
Here, you can learn about the techniques and equipment used by pearl divers, as well as watch live demonstrations by skilled craftsmen, who create intricate pearl jewellery and other artefacts using age-old methods.
Heritage Village Dubai tickets
What is the Heritage Village Dubai ticket price? Entry to the Heritage Village is free of charge, making it an accessible and affordable attraction for all visitors. However, some attractions within the village, such as the Al Shindagha Museum Dubai, require an admission fee.
Dubai Heritage Village tours
If you want to explore the Heritage Village in Al Shindagha with a guide, there are plenty of options to choose from. The Heritage Village Dubai guided tours, either group or individual, provide an informative and engaging way to explore the site’s many attractions. For a more comprehensive experience, I recommend joining a tour that includes visiting the village, Bur Dubai, Deira and a traditional abra ride.
- Heritage Village Dubai opening hours: daily, the outside area can be accessed any time, museums usually operate from 10:00 to 20:00
- Dubai Heritage Village address: Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Heritage Village Dubai is located in the historical Al Shindagha district, on the banks of the Dubai Creek. The village is easily accessible from other parts of the city.
How to get to the Heritage Village Dubai
- By metro: The easiest way to reach the Heritage Village Dubai is by taking the Dubai Metro (green line) to the Al Ghubaiba station, which is just a short walk away
- By car: Plenty of parking spaces nearby
- By taxi: Taxis are available around the city
- By marine transport: Take the FR1 ferry route to Al Ghubaiba marine station or enjoy an abra ride
Other ways to experience the traditional Emirati lifestyle
While the Dubai Heritage Village offers a fantastic introduction to the UAE’s rich cultural heritage, there are many other ways to experience the traditional Emirati lifestyle in the city.
- Visit Jumeirah Mosque Dubai to learn more about Islam
- Visit Deira Souks and Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood close to the Heritage Village. Book your Al Fahidi and Deira walking tour with street food tasting and abra ride here
- Visit the Etihad Museum to learn about the creation of the UAE
- Join a Bedouin-style desert safari with dune bashing, camel riding, dinner, henna painting, a falcon show and traditional dancing. Book your Dubai desert safari at the popular Al Khaima Camp here
Enjoy a journey into the heart of the UAE’s fascinating past and have your portion of positive travel vibes!
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