on January 15, 2006
We chose this attraction as one of our top three activities while in the UAE. We visited it on a Saturday afternoon (Dubai’s Monday). It was almost empty of visitors. We got a little confused figuring out how the place worked. When you enter, you are in the fort area, which you should explore first with its display of weaponry: curved daggers known as hanjars, as well as swords, spears, bows and arrows, pistols, rifles, axes, and shields made of shark skin. Traditional musical instruments are featured as well. In the courtyard you will find a number of boats and traditional living quarters, including a wind tower. Al Fahidi Fort once guarded the city's landward approaches. Built around 1799, it has served variously as a palace, garrison, and prison. It is thought to be the oldest-surviving building in Dubai. The walls of the fort are built from coral and shell rubble from the sea and are cemented together with lime. An impressive massive iron-studded door guards the entrance. The fort was both the residence of Dubai’s rulers and the seat of government until it was retired as a museum in 1971. It was renovated later in the decade. The current manifestation with its air-conditioned galleries wasn’t finished until 1995. The entry to the museum proper is in the far left-hand corner as you enter. This is what confused us. You go down a circular ramp to enter the exhibit area. Once you’ve done that, the site is laid out in a very logical and user-friendly manner. The museum contains a number of dioramas, complete with life-size, if not life-like, figures and sound and lighting effects. These dioramas are meant to depict everyday life in pre-oil days. There are scenes from the Creek, traditional Arab houses, mosques, a traditional Islamic school, the early souk, date gardens, and pearl diving and selling, including sets of pearl merchants’ weights, scales, and sieves, as well as desert and marine life exhibits. There is also an extensive archaeological section with displays of copper and alabaster pottery, coinage, weapons, skeletons, and other objects found in various digs. Some are as much as 4,000 years old; others date from the Islamic era, from the 7th to the 13th centuries. I found conflicting information as to when the museum is open. Best I can tell, it opens around 8:30am and closes around 10pm. The hours differ on Friday (the Sabbath) and during Ramadan. If time is a concern, you can phone the museum at 3531862.We spent over one and a half hours here. You could spend more if you were into archaeology. As I said before, we enjoyed this museum very much. I forgot my camera, but photo taking is allowed.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009