Yes, Dubai has beaches, restaurants, tall buildings and great shopping, but don’t miss the chance to catch some interesting historical facts about this small city-state. I made a visit to the Dubai museum and I was glad I did as I learned all sorts of neat and interesting facts about Dubai’s people, leaders, natural environment, its economy and history. The museum is situated inside of an old fort silimlar in construction to forts I’ve seen in Oman and Bahrain. The Al Fahidi fort was built in 1799 and is believed to be the oldest building in the Dubai.
In 1969, Sheik Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum directed that a museum be set up to chronicle and preserve Dubai’s history. This museum was ultimately established inside of the fort and now hosts over 600,000 guests each year.
A traditional dhow sits just outside of the museum. The style of the dhow has changed little over the centuries and this type of boat is still popular today. Dhows are used for fishing and for carrying cargo into smaller ports and can be seen all over the Persian Gulf. Modern versions have done away with the sail masts and are driven by diesel engines.
The museum has exhibits that show what the Dubai tribesmen lived like before they settled into modern buildings. Reed houses were common but despite their primitive look, they were filled with beautiful rugs, tapestries, beds and furniture that was acquired through trade from India, Africa and beyond. The museum also has a nice collection of early canoe type fishing boats used by the original inhabitants to fish in the march and offshore in the ocean.
Inside the courtyard of the fort sit a pair of cannons that originally were used to defend the fort and the mouth of the harbor in the early 19th Century. Inside the fort the museum has a beautiful collection of artifacts from the area, beautiful paintings and some artifacts from the Dubai Royal Family.
If you have some time in Dubai, be sure to check out the museum. While most tourists to Dubai come for the beaches, nightlife and the shopping, this little stop is a great way to brush up on the history of the region and learn some interesting facts about this little powerhouse country.
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