In the historic district of Shindagha it is still possible to admire excellent examples of early 20th century Arab architecture, first of all the Saeed Al Maktoum House, former residence of the late Dubai ruler Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, grandfather of the current ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who was born here in this house.
Saeed Al Maktoum House: Things to Know
The house of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum was built in 1896 and inhabited by the Sheikh from 1912 until his death in 1958. This complex of buildings which today seen up close appear to be sparkling pink in color was built with a mixture of coral and lime plaster.
The whole complex consists of over 30 rooms, richly furnished and decorated in an Arab style. From the terraces you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Persian Gulf and today on the modern city skyline.
A characteristic thing that attracts the attention of visitors are the wind towers, the four towers located at the corners of the House of the Sheikh, which in the ancient Arab world were used to keep the internal temperature pleasant during the summer. A kind of ancestor of air conditioning.
Today, besides the wind towers, it is also possible to visit the Majlis (the rooms for official meetings), as well as the living room, kitchen, and courtyard and more reserved areas such as the upstairs bedrooms and balconies.
The peculiarity of the house of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum is its location: in a densely populated neighborhood, in the middle of the souks and very close to all the other houses. This reflects the policy of the Al Maktoum family who wanted to maintain a sense of continuity and closeness between the ruling family and the people of Dubai.
What to see in the house of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum
Today the house of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum is a museum where you can see photographs, coins and local handicrafts dating back to the period before the oil boom.
The exhibitions, in addition to an insight into the local life of the past centuries, allow you to see a collection of ancient maps and documents, coins and stamps of the Sheikh era and a series of photographs that show what Dubai was like in the 1900s.
An entire wing is dedicated to the exhibition of jewels that belonged to the Sheikh and his family.
How to visit Saeed Al Maktoum House
Saeed Al Maktoum House opening hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday to Thursday, and 3:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays.
Allow one to two hours for a visit.
You can visit Saeed Al Maktoum House on a guided tour that also includes the most interesting attractions of Dubai’s Old Town. Your guide will also take you to the Dubai Museum and through the picturesque old quarter of Al Bastakiya (also known as Al Fahidi).
You will take one of the traditional boats called abras, to cross Dubai Creek and reach the famous gold and spice souks. The tour also includes tastings of traditional coffee, tea and dates!
TICKETS AND PRICES
The entrance ticket to the Saeed Al Maktoum House costs 3 AED for adults and 1 AED for children under the age of 6.
HOW TO GET THERE
Saeed Al Maktoum House is located in the Al Shindagha district, on the Bur Dubai side of Dubai Creek.
You can reach it by subway by getting off at the Al Ghubaiba stop of the green line, once you get off it is about 300 meters on foot, or by bus getting off at Al Ghubaiba station.
For those who have chosen to discover Dubai with the excellent Hop On Hop Off Bus service, reaching the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House and nearby attractions is really easy! The bus stop is just a few steps away, in the heart of Al Bastakiya’s attractions.