In photos: From dredging the creek to building Al Maktoum Bridge, Dubai's journey at Al Shindagha museum

It showcases the history of the emirate with exhibits dating back to the 1800s


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Wed 24 May 2023, 5:27 PM

Last updated: Wed 24 May 2023, 10:14 PM

More than 20,000 people have visited the Al Shindagha museum since it opened after refurbishments in March this year.

The country’s largest heritage museum featuring 22 pavilions that include 80 historic houses, showcases the history of Dubai with exhibits dating back to the 1800s.

Inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Al Shindagha museum offers a glimpse into what went into transforming this city into the global hub that it is today. Here are some interesting exhibits from the museum:

1. Khanjar: This Emirati dagger, called the Khanjar, is worn on a belt known as 'sabtah'. The handmade exhibit is a replica of the khanjar that belonged to the late Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum. It was donated to the museum by Emirati collector Abdulla Thani AlMatrooshi.

2. Trade over times: A series of maps spanning over 5,000 years traces how Dubai and the Gulf region have historically been trade hubs. Each map shows the sample of good that were imported, exported or re-exported to and from several of Dubai’s trade partners.

3. Gold and silver: Metals like gold and silver have played an important role in shaping Dubai. Silversmiths were key figures, often trading in old silver from Oman and making it into new jewellery. As gold became more popular in the mid-20th century, local traders established their own workshops in the city. Dubai soon came to be known as the city of gold.

4. Tassah: This traditional golden-colour head piece is often seen as part of the attire of young girls during Emirati dances. Called a Tassah, it consists of an embellished circular piece that has long chains called 'sareerah' hanging from it. Visitors to the museum can pose wearing a Tassah that is on display.

5. Hiqb: This belt, called Hiqb, is made of pure gold, precious and semi-precious stones. The colours in the centre depict a peacock. It was gifted to Emirati Fathima Al Hay bin Mubarak – who has loaned it to the museum – by her father during her high school graduation in 1979.

6. Building of Maktoum Bridge: A series of videos illustrate how the area surround the creek evolved. This video shows the building of the Maktoum bridge, which was completed in 1962. It was the first time ever that Deira and Bur Dubai were physically connected.

7. Dredging canal: The below image illustrates how dredging of Dubai Creek was carried out. The process of cleaning, deepening and widening the shape of the creek was planned in 1953 and work began in 1958. The risky move paid off and positioned Dubai for future success.

8. Professions that shaped Dubai: The open-air museum is also a great place to get an insight into the professions that shaped the city. Informative texts and videos show the lives of craftsmen, pearl merchants and even students in Dubai during the 1960s and 70s.


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