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“Very interesting”

Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
Book In Advance
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USD 28.60*
and up
Authentic Emirati Cultural Meal and Talk in Old Dubai
More Info
USD 25.90*
and up
Cultural Tour of the Al Fahidi Al Bastakiya District in Authentic Old Dubai
More Info
USD 48.34*
and up
Panoramic Tour of Iconic Attractions of Modern Dubai
Ranked #24 of 418 things to do in Dubai
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) invites visitors and residents alike to learn about the local culture, customs and religion through its various interactive programmes under the banner and motto of the centre, "Open doors. Open minds.". The SMCCU offers Cultural Breakfast Monday & Wednesday at 10am, Cultural Lunch Sunday through Thursday at 1pm, Dinner every Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday night at 7pm and Saturday Brunch at 10:30am. We also offer Tours of the historic district every Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday at 10:30am and Saturday at 9am which includes a visit inside the Mosque near the Ruler's Court. We also offer educational courses and programmes for students and adults, and arrange private group tours and cultural events for your groups and institutions. Pre-booking and reservations can be made on our website or by contacting our office directly.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 6 March 2012

If you are interested in a little cultural understanding you will appreciate it to it's fullest.

Thank Anna H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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784 - 788 of 1,031 reviews

Reviewed 1 March 2012

This is simply a visitor's best chance to actually learn about the U.A.E. and a bit about the Muslim faith. You must pre-book however; I noticed that the few negative comments on this site are from people who just showed up at the site and didn't really participate in any program. Just walking around this area would be boring.

We booked the Bastikaya Mosque & Walking tour which lasted about 90 minutes. During the Mosque visit, women must have shoulders, knees, and hair covered. If they are not, they will loan you a headscarf or even an abaya if you want. It's only a short presentation; it's mostly Q&A. You can ask ANY question, they've heard it all before. I found some of our group's questions painfully ignorant and even perhaps racist but the 2 guides remained good-natured and informative nonetheless.

The center is also right by the waterfront where you can see traditional boats.

Put aside any ignorance about all Arab countries being the same; they may share a language and a basic faith but are about as alike as Christian Democracies are--America, Mexico, Kenya for example. Learn about the UAE for yourself. One tip is to book the morning tour followed by lunch for the full experience. This is truly the best thing you can do in Dubai! Almost everything else is glitz, shopping, sand or beach related.

5  Thank KW625
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2012

Good to find more outlets for learning about Dubai History and Culture. I love going there and am very appreciative of the lengths the Emeratis have gone to to make visitors welcome in their Homeland.

Thank Joan_392012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2012

Traveling in the UAE you are unlikely to have any contact with the local Emirati who comprise only @ 18% of the population. Thus, the Centre provides a rare opportunity for interaction and questions and answer periods. The walking tour is okay and should be done if you cannot get in for the meals.

Thank worldexplorer88_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2012

The best part of the tour we took was the opportunity to ask any questions. I can't say it was anything new for me religion wise, but the chance to talk to locals ( two tour guides) and ask them sometimes even personal questions (about their families, marriage) was great. For example - one tour guide told us how his mom is trying to find a wife for him, but so far he didn't really like any of them, another told us about his engagement and about his uncle who has two wifes. That's the stuff I personally find the most interesting: the everyday life of local people. So if you decided to go - don't be afraid to ask questions and pick their minds. As a tourist in any foreign country you don't get opportunities like this a lot, especially in Muslim countries, where privacy is very, very important.

2  Thank 73duster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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