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Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding

Certificate of Excellence
The Creek
As featured in Cultural Guide to Dubai and 1 other guide
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Address: Al Mussallah Rd | House 26, Al Fahidi District, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Phone Number:
+971 4 353 6666
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: Yes

The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) invites...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 914 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 509
  • 172
    Very good
  • 38
  • 12
  • 3
Should be your First Stop

I was so fascinated & curious about Dubai upon my visit to see my daughter & her family (expats). I had a million questions about everything, culture dress, food, history... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 6 days ago
New Orleans, Louisiana
via mobile
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914 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 734: English reviews
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Level Contributor
238 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

Stopped by today after reading some good reviews and researching the site, but it was essentially closed outside of their specific meal/performance times. We discovered that when they say that you can "Join us for a traditional Emirati breakfast or lunch", that is the ONLY way to experience the center. If you are going a as a visitor, please make... More 

Thank AbsolutelyDubrovnik
New Orleans, Louisiana
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

I was so fascinated & curious about Dubai upon my visit to see my daughter & her family (expats). I had a million questions about everything, culture dress, food, history, religion, etc. We visited the center, had a traditional emirate lunch, lecture and a question/answer period. After the jet lag, THIS should've been my First Stop!

Thank dutchess70129
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
20 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

One of the place a tourist or anybody should visit is the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. It is like learning from the past with amazing facts. It is like going to old Dubai also as they are retaining the old place. A visit to this place is worth it. Riding the abra from Deira is a must try.

1 Thank WOMen728
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

SMCCU is a must do tour if you're visiting Bur Dubai/Dubai Heritage City. A local guided tour by a Emirati, Q/A sessions at the Mosque and amazing snacks is not to miss. There is a lot to learn and know about the local culture and heritage culture/structures of the area.

1 Thank Sambhav S
Stroud, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
285 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 182 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

An hour here inside the mosque listening to the very open and honest guide gave a new insight into Islam and dispelled a few myths. Our lady guide, surprisingly, had a distinct Essex UK accent and answered every question without hesitation. It is a shame that a few others round the world seem unwilling to invest in a little cultural... More 

2 Thank JandP_Cotswolds
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
69 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at this place. It is the old original part of Dubai and loved the vibe. We were warmly greeted when we arrived for the 10am tour. We were all seated in the old courtyard of a merchant's house and were told about the customs, food and way of life. We were served delicious... More 

4 Thank 433cates
Level Contributor
89 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This is a must-visit for anybody wishing to learn more about local culture and history. There is a great amount to see, but the most interesting and informative part is the guides. Everybody is extremely friendly and welcoming as well as being open to any question you wish to ask. If you truly want to understand the intricacies of Emirati... More 

2 Thank Chris H
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
190 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This experience was recommended by Dubai Tourism at an Australian travel expo. We were a family of 5 travelling for the first time to Dubai. We are interested in history and cultural experiences. This as others have said is a re-creation of what was, not what Dubai is now. The volunteers who run the centre are passionate about their history,... More 

1 Thank PPSYD
Level Contributor
62 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 January 2017

This was my third trip to Dubai, and what I had yet to find was any history or culture of what the old Dubai may have been like and our visit to this Centre more than made up for the 'bling' that most of Dubai seems to represent. I agree that this is a representation of what the old Dubai... More 

Thank Stretts
Level Contributor
396 reviews
233 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 470 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 January 2017

This place gets high reviews and we enjoyed our visit, but it is a recreated cultural village. It would not rank high in other cities, but considering the lack of authentic culture in Dubai, it is a great place to visit.

1 Thank Profguy

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Staying in The Creek

Neighbourhood Profile
The Creek
The smell of frankincense hangs thick and heavy in the air, waves lap gently at jetties, and market traders call to passing tourists. The creek, originally the place where pearl boats docked and left on missions to uncover jewels from the deep, is where the city really began. The Al Fahidi District on the Creekside is one of the oldest heritage sites in Dubai, easily recognizable with its iconic wind towers, the original air conditioning. Home to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and the Dubai Museum, the old buildings also house a range of cafes, shops and art galleries. Often called “the real Dubai,” this is a wonderful place to lose yourself before catching an abra across the creek to the spice souk, where your senses will be overwhelmed with tastes, smells, and sounds.
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