When you’re visiting Dubai, one excellent place to learn about their culture is the Sheikh MohammedCentre for Cultural Understanding. This is a unique experience when you’re in Dubai since you also get to interact with the Emiratis and know them better. This centre was established in 1998 as a non-profit organization under the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The Sheikh MohammedCentre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) is located in the historic Bastakia in a traditional wind tower. Bastakia is one of the oldest districts in Dubai. Every city and country has its own story to tell. Dubai is one of them. Being an emirate within the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai is rich in history. Therefore, going to Sheikh MohammedCentre for Cultural Understanding is one sure place to gain knowledge about the local culture of Dubai. This centre was built in order to promote and enhance at the same time the awareness and understanding between the different cultures that reside or live in Dubai.
“Open Doors, Open Minds” – SMCCU operates under this banner. It aims to remove the barriers between the people of different nationalities and cultures and to increase the awareness of the people to the local culture, customs, traditions, and Islam among visitors and foreign residents. And because of this, the centre hosts and organizes many tours and activities that include:
Jumeirah Mosque Tours
Jumeirah Mosque is the only mosque located in Dubai that is open to non-Muslims. An SMCCU guide should accompany visitors to the mosque. Booking is not necessary in order to enter the mosque. Tours are available during Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays every 10 in the morning. The meeting point for visitors and guides takes place outside the mosque. Everyone who enters the mosque should wear decent clothes.
Visitors can also get to experience tasting a traditional and homemade UAE breakfast right in the SMCCU centre. Breakfasts are available on Mondays and Wednesdays every 10 in the morning. Bookings should be made.
During Sundays and Tuesdays at 1 pm you can enjoy a sumptuous lunch consisting of local. It is also during the Cultural Lunch that a UAE national explains the tradition and culture of the region.
Bastakia Walking Tours
This is a traditional tour wherein you are taken around the historical Bastakia Quarter. If you want to experience the Bastakia Walking Tours, reservations or bookings should be made.
Spoken Arabic Courses
SMCCU also offers language courses. To learn more about the Arabic courses, contact SMCCU.
Visitors who join the tours and activities at the Sheikh MohammedCentre for Cultural Understanding are free to ask any question they desire-history, dress, culture, and etc. Some of the topics that are discussed during the tours and activities include women’s roles, red and white keffiya, why a man can marry up to four wives and a lot more. If you travel to Dubai, visiting the SMCCU should be on top of your list to understand and learn more about the fascinating local culture, customs, and traditions in Dubai.