CCM exhibits the rich treasure troves of the art, which we believe to be also the heritage of all humankind, as a result of the interaction between different cultures and civilizations. While many media commentators describe older Dubai as a small peaceful town housing huts of Bedouin traders and pearl divers along the banks of Dubai Creek, but according to researchers and archaeologists Dubai was a busy harbor well known by its import and re-export activities since 3000 BC. The peace and trade activity were what contributed to Dubai’s legacy. Today cosmopolitan Dubai is a world-recognized hub of modern trade, and it’s incredible pace of growth as a commercial center is the outcome of the city’s historical role as a peaceful crossroads of civilizations.

Our galleries reflect the “beauty” of each civilization that has passed through the UAE, in particular Dubai. We hope to provide a forum of inspiration, elevation, and the foundation for open dialogue, to illuminate some of the darkness and promote understanding of different standpoints, and to serve as a bridge re-linking people’s hearts and minds. As such, our galleries are categorized in an innovative way. Rare artefacts and documents illustrate our vision and mission, with each gallery expressing a particular aspect of the overall story.

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The historical exchange between civilizations unfolds over six permanent galleries at the CCM, please click here to download galleries guide. Our collection includes rare artefacts, manuscripts, autographs of historically important people, including Kings, Explorers and travelers; decrees and orders from Generals and Sultans, as well as family documents.

Gallery 1- Local History

The Local Gallery is the first of the galleries at the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum, and serves as an introduction to the history of the crossroads of civilizations’ cultural and commercial exchanges which took place across our locale. It also sets the tone to all the galleries within our Museum Group which include Rare Books Prints & Manuscripts Museum and The Armory Museum (both are within a short walking distance form Crossroads of Civilizations Museum).

Here, visitors can see local manuscripts which have never previously been on public display. These manuscripts were part of the family inheritance of HE Ahmed Al Mansoori, the founder of The Museum Group; and provide an insight into the following aspects of the local life:

  • The internal and external politics
  • The social and cultural interactions: including royal correspondence
  • Economics and finance: ranging from the administrating of pearl diving to trade relationships such as imports, re-exports. Some manuscripts show how business was conducted and how deals were made.
  • Legal aspect, how laws were applied to business dealing as well as within society.
  • Educational aspects.
  • Poetry, including love and political poems; reflecting social life and the priorities of individuals and the elite.
  • Current knowledge and literature at the time.

The gallery also displays examples of local and regional jewelry in gold and silver, some of which are family air looms of our founder. In addition, there are selected artifacts, manuscripts, traditional weapons and historical coins which reflect the styles and designs of different civilizations.

Gallery 2- Royal Connections

Covering the period from mid-16th century to early 20th century, the Royal gallery highlights of “royal connections” displaying beautiful artifacts, manuscripts and old prints which illustrate the contribution of those individuals who have influenced historical events in the Middle East. These individuals include members of Royal families and/or Leaders from Arabian Peninsula, Asia and Europe. For instance, the artifacts, manuscripts and old prints in the Royal Gallery have come from: Arabian Sheikhs, Kings and other political figures from Portugal, the United Kingdom, as well as military commanders, generals and officers from the United Kingdom, Poland, Egypt, the Ottoman Empire and other diplomats and government officials.

The royal collection includes: royal passports and Sultans’ Orders, approved bilateral agreements by Parliaments and Rulers, examples of Royal Gifts between Kings from Europe to Arabia; “How to Rule a Kingdom”(1869 print, from (218H) 833 AD) emphasizing the importance of human & social behavior, and psychology, Italian Cryptology: “Secret Diplomatic Correspondences” (1710-1745), different historical sources of the genealogy of Arab and Islamic Kings, Sultans and Caliphs; royal autographs, royal manuscripts, letters and sayings; royal decrees, military commanders orders’, diplomatic agreements and contracts, unpublished officers’ journals, and royal artifacts and Images.

There are other important royal documents and manuscripts in other galleries, including: Local gallery, Explorers and Travelers gallery, the Islamic gallery; as well as in galleries of Rare Books Manuscripts & Prints Museum which is a located within a short walking distance, behind the main museum building. If you need help with locations of a gallery, please ask a staff member, or check our gallery floor plan guide.

Gallery 3- Travelers & Explorers

Until relatively recently the writings, maps and drawings, of explorers and travelers, as well as “Interesting” spies, were the main source of information about Arabia, including the Trucial States and the rest of the Middle East. However, travelers and explorers have played an essential role in communication between Eastern and Western Civilizations. While we may think that their role has been superseded by the media, academics and NGOs, this is not strictly true, as writers like Tim Mackintosh-Smith, who wrote “Yemen: The Unknown Arabia” in 2000, and William Dalrymple, who wrote “From the Holy Mountain”, have continued to develop a wider understanding of the cultures of the region.

The focus of independent travelers, and academics, is quite different from media organizations, which take a short term view, explaining current events; the traveler and the academic can afford to take a long-term view, considering the history of the region and the underlying culture of Arabia. Explorers and travelers, regardless of their missions and resources, have therefore played an essential role in enhancing understanding between civilizations.

The objects on display in the Travelers and Explorers Gallery include: Gaius Plinius Secundus, The History of the World, translated by Philemon Holland (1601), Carsten Niebuhr, (1733 – 1815) a German mathematician, cartographer, and explorer in the service of Denmark, is renowned for his participation in the Royal Danish Arabia Expedition (1761-1767), Ali Bey, Domènec Badia i Leblich; 1767–1818 better known by his pseudonym and nom de plume Ali Bey el Abbassi who, was a Spanish explorer, soldier, and spy in the early 19th century, principally known for his travels in North Africa and the Middle East; Gustavo Le Bon (1841 –1931) who was a French polymath whose areas of interest included anthropology, psychology, sociology, medicine, invention, and physics, Pietro Della Valle (1586 –1652) who was an Italian composer, musicologist, and author who traveled throughout Asia during the Renaissance period. His travels took him to the Holy Land, the Middle East, Northern Africa, and as far as India. In addition, you will see Mercator maps. Gerardus Mercator (1512 –1594) was a 16th-century German-Netherlandish cartographer, geographer and cosmographer. He was renowned for creating the 1569 world map based on a new projection, De Fur Map, a Portuguese atlas of all of their colonies, James Raymond Wellsted who took part in the detailed survey of the Gulf of ‘Aqabah and the northern part of the Red Sea in 1830, First printed books about Arabs and Muslims and how they established relationships with India and China, during the 9th century, Asiatic Journals and more.

Gallery 4- Palestine & the Holy Land

We continue to explore the region through the eyes of notable travelers and those who explored the region, through their journals, diaries and drawings. The Palestine Gallery a number of objects, including historical maps of Palestine, old Stamps from Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, a 1875 journal by a British officer, with drawings of different areas in Palestine, a 1946 Maps relating to the report of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry regarding the problems of European Jewry and Palestine, Archeological history of Palestine, by Claude Reignier- 1886, Palestine Exploration  of 1927, Half Hours in the Holy Land: Travels in Egypt, Palestine, Syria 1896.

In addition to photographs and images from Palestine, note the collection of rock fragments (late 18th – 19th century) from the Holy Land, which according to the slip of paper inside the container box, were given as a gift by the priest  R. Ulrich on May 18th 1899. Among the hallowed sites, are the place where the Blessed Virgin Mary was concealed at Bethlehem and, the place where Christ stood when he announced the last judgement.

Gallery 5- Multi-faith

This gallery that reflects the true spirit of the United Arab Emirates (UAE); the spirit that reflects its culture and values including tolerance, acceptance and respect for self and others, and the understanding of the positive advantages that come from understanding cultural differences.

Exhibits in the Multi-Faith gallery include “Principe Work on the Theologian” (Duae Quaestionum Theologico-Philologicarum 1659), by Johann Heinrich Hottinger. Rare books written in Europe, including “The Life Saladin” by Bahā’ ad-Dīn Yusuf ibn Rafi ibn Shaddād, published by Schultens in 1732 in Leiden, 500-600 years old manuscripts with Christian prayers in the Amharic language, different versions of original Gospel leaves from the middle ages, number 14 out of 300 a facsimile of the 1454 Gothenburg Bible, a 1523 Order Of Mass And Communion For The Church At Wittenberg (Formula Missae) from Martin Luther Church, a 1639 printing of the King James Bible, a unique and rare Jewish Prayer copper cup from the region and different Quranic Leaves dated separately between 10th-13th centuries.

Gallery 6- The Islamic Art

Here, the exhibits show how different civilizations across the world, expressed their understanding of Islam producing a variety of Quranic Manuscripts and innovative calligraphy, reflecting the art and calligraphy of their civilizations. These manuscripts include work from: Brunei, The Indian subcontinent, Hedjaz, Palestine, Persia, The Ottomans, and Europe.

In this Gallery, you will find: a copy of the first printed edition of the Quran in Arabic, “The Hamburg Quran” (1694), a manuscript document by “Alm Jeer” (1659-1707) written for his daughter Jahanareh, a 17th century book about “The History of Islam” from 571-1118, by Elmaeinus Georgius (1625), different translations of the meaning of the word “Quran”, and one of our most prized exhibits – a cover of the door of the Kaaba, or Sitara, sent to Mecca by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, dated 1543/44.