Umm Al Quwain Fort: A Historic Gem of the UAE

Introduction Of Umm Al Quwain

Umm Al Quwain Fort, also known as Al Ali Fort, stands as a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of the United Arab Emirates. This historic fort, dating back to the 18th century, was built by the Al-Ali tribe, the ruling family of the area at the time. Situated in the emirate of Umm Al Quwain, the fort now houses the Umm Al Quwain National Museum, a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the emirate’s fascinating past.

Umm Al Quwain

Location and Accessibility

The Umm Al Quwain National Museum is located in the old souq area of the emirate, known as Madeena Al Qadeema or “The Old Town,” precisely on Al Lubna Road. The area retains its traditional charm, with some buildings dating back over 150 years. The museum itself, housed within the fort, has been meticulously maintained and restored, offering visitors a glimpse into the architectural brilliance of the era.

Museum Timings:

  • Saturday to Thursday: 8:00 am to 2:00 pm
  • Fridays: 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
  • Closed on certain public holidays like Eid ul Adha, Eid ul Fitr, and Arafat day.

Ticket Prices:

  • Adults: AED 4
  • Children under 15: Free

Historical Significance

The Umm Al Quwain Fort was originally constructed in 1768 by Sheikh Rashid Bin Majid Al Mualla, the founder of the Al Mualla ruling dynasty. It served as the residence of the ruling family and the center of government until the 1960s. The fort later functioned as a police station before being transformed into a museum and opened to the public in 2000, following the directives of Sheikh Rashid Bin Ahmed Al Mualla.

Architectural Features

Umm Al Quwain Fort exemplifies traditional Emirati architecture, constructed entirely of coral stone harvested from the nearby sea. The intricately carved coral stone forms stunning designs, including geometric patterns and Arabic calligraphy. The fort’s walls, over six meters high and two meters thick, provided robust defense against attackers.

The fort features six towers, each serving different purposes, such as a prison, weapon storage, and guard shelters. It also boasts two large courtyards used for gatherings and events, surrounded by rooms that once housed the ruling family and their servants.

Museum Exhibits

The museum’s exhibits provide a comprehensive look into the history and culture of Umm Al Quwain and the broader UAE. Key highlights include:

Artifacts from Ed-Dur: Unearthed from one of the largest archaeological sites in the UAE, these artifacts date back over 2,000 years and offer insights into the ancient trading hub.

Royal Kitchen Setup: Displaying traditional utensils and fire pits, this exhibit showcases how past residents prepared popular foods like Biryani and curries.

War History Exhibits: Featuring old cannons, swords, and other weapons, these exhibits provide a glimpse into the region’s military history.

Historical Documents: Notable displays include the first passport, trading license, driving license, and stamp issued in the emirate, alongside handwritten copies of the Holy Qur’an from the 17th century.

Royal Heritage Section: Showcases memorabilia representing the ruling family’s history, including gifts, swords, coins, jewelry, and a gold-glazed family tree.

Photograph Section: Chronicles the history of Umm Al Quwain through old photographs.

Maritime Heritage Section: Displays sea equipment and ship models used for pearl fishing.

Traditional Market Exhibit: Recreates the bustling marketplaces of the past with shops like Attar, Mahloa, and a coffee shop.

Visiting Information

Best Time to Visit: The cooler months from November to March are ideal for a visit due to more comfortable temperatures. Weekdays are preferable to avoid crowds.

Dress Code: Visitors should dress conservatively out of respect for local customs. Men are advised to wear long pants and shirts, while women should wear loose-fitting clothing covering the shoulders, arms, and knees.


  • Check the museum’s hours of operation before planning your visit.
  • Be prepared for hot and humid weather, especially during summer.
  • Photography is allowed in most areas, but ask permission before photographing staff or other visitors.
  • English is widely spoken, but learning a few basic Arabic phrases can be helpful.

Nearby Amenities


  • Masjid Al Taqwa – 100 meters away
  • مسجد الشيخ عبدالله بن راشد – 500 meters away


  • Cardoba Restaurant: Offers Spanish cuisine, located 300 meters away.
  • Khyber Restaurant: Serves traditional North-West Frontier cuisine, located 850 meters away.
  • Kashmir Restaurant: Specializes in Indian cuisine, located 600 meters away.

Fuel Stations: ADNOC Service Station nearby. ATMs: Available 3.8 km from the museum.


The Umm Al Quwain National Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the rich history and culture of the UAE. From its impressive architectural features to its extensive exhibits, the museum offers a comprehensive and engaging experience for visitors of all ages. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a cultural explorer, or simply looking for an educational outing, the Umm Al Quwain National Museum promises a memorable journey into the past of this fascinating emirate.


What are the opening hours of the museum?

  • The museum is open from Saturday to Thursday, 08:00 am to 02:00 pm, and on Fridays from 05:00 pm to 08:00 pm.

How much does it cost to enter the museum?

  • The entry fee for adults is AED 4, while children under 15 can enter for free.

Is the museum suitable for families with children?

  • Yes, the museum is a great spot for families, and children can learn a lot about the history and culture of the emirate.

Are there any restrictions on photography within the museum?

  • Yes, photography is not allowed inside the museum, but you can take pictures outside in the courtyard and garden areas.

How long does it take to explore the museum?

  • You can explore the entire museum in an hour or two, depending on your pace and level of interest.

Can I bring food and drinks inside the museum?

  • No, food and drinks are not allowed inside the museum. However, there are some nearby cafes and restaurants where you can grab a bite.

Is the museum wheelchair accessible?

  • Yes, the museum is wheelchair accessible with ramps and elevators.

Are there guided tours available at the museum?

  • Yes, guided tours are available upon request, and they are usually conducted in English and Arabic.

Can I bring my pet to the museum?

  • No, pets are not allowed inside the museum, except for guide dogs.


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