Opened in 1998 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding tries to remove cultural barriers between the people of different countries and increase awareness of the United Arab Emirate’s distinct customs, culture and religion. The centre’s central motto is ‘Open Doors, Open Minds’ and carries out a number of activities that raise cultural awareness. Tourists visiting the UAE should definitely stop by the SMCCU if only to gain interesting insights into life in the UAE.
The SMCCU conducts several regular programs that anyone can join. The tour of the Grand Jumeirah Mosque is open to everybody. No reservation is required but those interested in joining the tour are encouraged to come by 9.45 am, with the tour starting by 10 am. Regular tour dates are Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Lasting around seventy five minutes the tour is a casual and friendly way to learn about local culture and religion. The centre also hosts breakfast and lunch at its headquarters in Bastikiya, and those interested should book slots in advance.
Those interested in exploring the historic parts of Dubai can take a guided tour of the Bastakiya or the Creekside region conducted by a member of the SMCCU. The cultural centre also conducts Arabic language courses several times a year. More information on prices and timings of the various programs can be found on their official website. The cultural centre is located in Bastakiya, Bur Dubai. It is open from Sunday to Thursday from 9 am to 3 pm, and on Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm.
Dubai is one of the most widely visited parts of the Middle East. With a somewhat more liberal attitude than found in most Arab cities, the emirate has a plethora of tourist attractions and activities. The emirate is known for its solid infrastructure, and although it is more car-friendly the public transport system is extensive and reliable. There are quite a number of Dubai luxury hotels so one need not worry about accommodation. The Millennium Plaza Hotel Dubai is a good choice and is situated just steps away from the Dubai Metro Station. Travellers can take advantage of the Dubai hotel specials by logging onto their website.