The soulful Dubai Heritage Village sits near the banks of the historic Dubai Creek in the Al Shindagha Historical District. The ideal place to see the more traditional aspects of Dubai, this living museum provides a real sense of what a settlement belonging to the Bedouin – nomadic Arabic people who inhabited certain desert regions – might have looked like. On show are traditional Barasti (palm frond) houses, and a tented Bedouin village featuring ancient weapons, chests, and household utensils. Skilled potters and weavers offer workshops, with an Arabic coffee house brewing aromatic blends, and a small souk selling Bedouin handicrafts. If you’re looking for gifts to take home, this is the ideal place to find them.
Just a short taxi ride away is Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House, one of the oldest monuments in the city. Now part of the Al Shindagha Museum, the home – with its charming, naturally cooling wind towers – is located on the banks of the landmark Dubai Creek, the historical area in which the seeds of the emirate’s success were first planted.
The home, constructed in 1896, was the official residence of Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai between 1912 and 1958, and the grandfather of the emirate’s current ruler, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Today, it contains artifacts and images of old Dubai, with displays distributed into nine wings: The History of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House; Al Maktoum Family; Old Dubai; Marine Life; Views from Dubai; Social Life in Dubai; Coins and Stamps; Historical Documents, and; Maps.
As it’s likely that the royal family’s vision of Dubai was first born in this home many decades ago, it’s fitting that today its rooftop offers sweeping views of the city’s modern and ever-expanding skyline.