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Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House


This house was built in 1896 at the Al Shindagha area. It has a strategic location at the protruding part above Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai), which made it stand amidst Deira and Bur Dubai, overlooking the Arabian Gulf. It was the residence of Al Maktoum ruling family till 1958, as it was a residence and premises for the Dubai monarch at the time, Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum. This house witnessed the birth of his sons and grandsons and is also considered as a touristic icon that receives visitors all year round.

The house gives the visitor a chance to enjoy and know, the residence and premises of Dubai's Monarch during the first half of the 20th century, with its simplicity and vastness, the diversity of its wings and spaces (closed, semi-open and open) and the variety in its air towers (Barajeel). The house is currently used as a museum to exhibit Dubai's history, as it displays a rare and varied collection of historic photographs of the sheikhs and the life in Dubai that has drastically changed in current times. It also displays a big and rare collection of historic and official documents concerning the emirate of Dubai, authentic jewellery, coins, stamps and other items that date back to its historic era. The displays are distributed onto 9 wings, as follows: The History of Saeed Al Maktoum House, Al Maktoum Family, Old Dubai, Marine Life, Views from Dubai, Social Life in Dubai, Coins and Stamps, Historic Documents and Maps.

A visit to the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House is a unique opportunity to know many façades and details of the life and traditional society in Dubai. Also, the visit will be an introduction to the nature of the close, strong relationship between the Al Maktoum ruling family and the citizens of Dubai, shown in the symmetry, harmony and proximity between one house and the surrounding houses, as well as the easiness of direct contact without the presence of barriers between the people and the rulers. This explains the continuity of this relationship to date between the people of Dubai and the rulers. The visitor can also discover in this exemplary house many values and architectural designs that stem from local heritage. This starts with noticing that all the external orifices of the house are small and in the upper part, while the entrance of the house is refracted, as the person entering the house is confronted by a wall that forces them to turn around it and enter the spacious house hall in an indirect way, where the different general and specific elements of the house are distributed. All of these are treatments that stress interest in the value of uniqueness. Also, the house, same as all the other houses of the Al Shindagha area, is directed towards the south west, which is the direction of the qibla in Mecca. This points out towards the firmness of the religious values in the local community. The fact that the guesthouse is on the right of the person entering the house, points to the importance of the right (preferring the right side and considering it a blessed side) and optimism. You can also see that the kitchens, which always reek of steam and food aromas resulting from feeding the guests flowing to the house endlessly, are positioned at the southern part of the house. This was done so as to make use of the sea breeze blowing from the gulf to the depth of the land during the day, to get rid of the steam and aromas, and purify the air of the house from them. The visit to the house will result in unravelling a host of values and other architectural ideas, which will increase appreciation of, and interest in the local heritage, that beneath its simplicity and austerity, a unique philosophy and outlook to life exists, that the visitor has gotten to know for themselves.


Additional Useful Information to the Site
Information Classification/Type Relevant facts/information
Geographical location Al Shindagha area - Bur Dubai
Area 3,600 square metres
Working hours Saturday to Thursday, from 8:00 to 20:30, and Fridays, from 15:00 until 21:30
Admission fees AED 3 for adults, AED 1 for children (under the age of 6)
Tourism guidance Available for free
Telephone 04-393 7139 and 04-515 5000​
Public transport buses You can reach the location through the Ghubaiba bus station nearby
Metro stations You can reach the location through the Ghubaiba metro station nearby
Parking areas Free parking area is available close to the site​
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