The UAE’s most significant cultural landmarks
This Ramadan, discover more about the region’s intriguing religious and historical past with a trip to some of the UAE’s most significant cultural landmarks.
Qasr Al Muwaiji
Al Ain, a city often considered to be the country’s cultural heartland, is also home to Qasr Al Muwaiji. It was once the prestigious address of the Al Nahyan family including the President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who was born there in 1948. As one of Al Ain’s cultural sites, Qasr Al Muwaiji features a large number of historic forts, houses and towers. Book a guided tour to learn all about its cultural importance or spend an afternoon exploring its serene courtyard, where a permanent exhibition housed in a striking glass-walled space tells the fascinating story of the fort and its previous inhabitants.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Commissioned by the late president of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a proud emblem of Abu Dhabi’s cultural diversity and, unlike most mosques, which are strictly for Muslims only, it welcomes visitors of all faiths. Equivalent in size to five football pitches, this vast and beautiful building is wrought of marble, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals and ceramics, and boasts the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet.
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
Located in old Dubai, this charismatic district is well known for its distinctive wind tower architecture. Along with a bevy of art galleries, quaint kiosks and cafés, the area is also home to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. For visitors keen to gain a deeper appreciation of the local way of life, this unique venue presents a welcoming and informative space, where guests from all over the world can connect with the centre’s Emirati hosts through a variety of interactive activities, including traditional breakfasts, lunches and tours of the area.
A fairly new addition to Dubai’s vibrant Jumeirah area, this strikingly modern building shares the story of the UAE’s founding fathers and its captivating journey from a humble desert town to a thriving metropolis. Discover a series of pavilions that feature experience-driven exhibitions and interactive programmes.
Sharjah Heritage Museum
Following a renovation, Sharjah Heritage Museum reopened its doors in 2012 in the heart of this atmospheric city. Proudly dedicated to Sharjah’s rich heritage and Emirati culture, the museum places deep importance on the region’s customs and traditions. Here, you can learn more about early Bedouin life, Arabian hospitality and ceremonial crafts.
Al Noor Mosque
Enjoying an idyllic location overlooking Sharjah’s Khalid Lagoon, Al Noor Mosque is the emirate’s only mosque open to non-Muslims. Visitors can take daily guided tours which offer insight into the construction and striking design of the mosque itself as well as the UAE’s culture and tradition.
Souk Al Masqoof
This rustic collection of vendors and kiosks makes up one of the oldest marketplaces in the UAE. A once bustling meeting point for Bedouins in the past, today, this Sharjah souk still resonates with a sense of place, thanks to its grand solid wood doors, picturesque coral brick walls and hanging lanterns. Visitors can expect to stock up on everything from copper coffee pots and jewellery to perfume and incense.