The Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding overview
The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) is a non-profit organization that opened in 1998. The SMCCU strives to educate different cultures in Dubai about Emirati customs and culture. The center does this through various programs including heritage tours, cultural meals, Arabic classes, mosque tours and more.
The address for the SMCCU is:
House 26, Al Mussallah Road
Al Fahidi District, Bur Dubai
What to do at the SMCCU
Traditional Emirati meals are served at the SMCCU.
Breakfast timings and cost:
Monday and Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. The cost is 80 AED/22 USD.
Lunch timings and cost:
Sunday through Thursday at 1:00 p.m. The cost is 90 AED/25 USD.
Dinner timings and cost:
Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 p.m. The cost is 100 AED/27 USD.
Brunch timings and cost:
Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The cost is 100 AED/27 USD.
Heritage tours through the SMCCU
The SMCCU organizes tours through the Al Fahidi Historic District in Dubai. Al Fahidi is one old, historic neighborhood located in Bur Dubai. The tour is given by an experienced tour guide who guides you through Al Fahidi and the Al Bastakiya neighborhood. After the tour guests are invited for tea, coffee and dates at the SMCCU house.
Tours times and cost:
Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
The cost for the tour is 65 AED/18 USD.
The Creekside tour includes all stops of the Heritage tour, but also includes visits to the Textile and Spice Souks. The tour takes you through the Bastakiya neighborhood and the Al Fahidi district. Then guests take an abra or dhow across the Dubai Creek to visit the souks. Once the tour is completed, guests return to the SMCCU for coffee, tea and dates. An experienced tour guide will lead you through the tour.
Creekside tour timings and cost
The cost for this tour is 275 AED/75 USD and must be arranged in advance.
The Fuala Program at the SMCCU allows guests to experience Emirati culture through a trip to the Diwan Mosque and Q&A session. Guests are also provided with coffee, dates, fruits and Emirati pastries and sweets.
Fuala Program timings and costs
The program takes place on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The cost for the Fuala Program is 80 AED/22 USD.
Jumeirah Mosque visit
Jumeirah Mosque is the only mosque in Dubai open to the public. The tour lasts about 75 minutes and includes water, dates, coffee, tea and pastries. Modest dress is required. Women should cover their head with a headscarf. Suitable attire can be borrowed from the Mosque.
Jumeirah Mosque visits and costs
Visits take place on Saturday through Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The tour cost is 20 AED/5 USD.
The SMCCU offers beginning Arabic classes. The instructor is an Emirati and focuses on the local dialect in speaking and writing.
Arabic class timings and costs
More information about the Arabic class timings can be found here. The cost for a 20-hour beginner class is 1,850 AED/500 USD.