Experience Emirati culture

The population of Dubai is practically made up of roughly 80% expatriates and only around 20% local Emiratis. With such a lopsided number in a city comprised of a myriad of cultures from all over the world, it can be hard to completely immerse yourself in the true-blue Emirati culture everyday.

Fret not. If you are a tourist or an expat in the UAE and truly want to learn more about the culture of the very nation that is your adopted home for the time being, head on to the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU).

With its "Open doors. Open minds." motto, the center aims to educate non-Emiratis about the heritage and culture of this charming desert paradise. With equally passionate volunteers eager to tell you their stories, you will be treated to a truly informative and eye-opening experience when you pay them a visit.

They offer a wide selection of cultural activities that include the following:

* Jumeirah Mosque Visit. The center is hosting tours at 10 AM everyday, except Fridays, to the stunning Jumeirah Mosque. For only AED10 per person, you get to go on a mosque tour and join enlightening discussions about Islam and the Emiratis for 75 minutes.

* Cultural Meals. Feast on Emirati food and participate in educational cultural conversations. They offer breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. A hugely popular activity, you need to reserve for your seats to the meals days ahead.

* Heritage Tours. Walk through the historic Al Fahidi District with a guide and feel yourself transported back in time in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Dubai. They also offer Creekside tours which take you to the souks and across the Dubai Creek on an abra (water taxi).

* Cultural Programmes. SMCCU also accepts private group bookings to any of their cultural activities. They offer educational programs to schools and universities as well as inductions to companies and business executives doing business in the UAE. For conferences and other cultural events, SMCCU staff can assist you in your culture and heritage information needs.

For more information about SMCCU's activities and services, you can visit them at www.cultures.ae or visit them at the center, which is a beautiful windtower house in Al Fahidi District in Bur Dubai.

Photo credits: www.cultures.ae

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