Seeing is disbelieving: Inside Dubai’s Museum of Illusions

Updated 19 September 2018
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Seeing is disbelieving: Inside Dubai’s Museum of Illusions

  • “We purposely trick the eye and the mind — you get to experience different visuals.” Mohammed Ali Al-Wahaibi
  • Dubai’s newest entertainment offering has only been open for just over a week but is already earning a reputation as the city’s latest Instagram hotspot

DUBAI: Dubai’s newest entertainment offering has only been open for just over a week but is already earning a reputation as the city’s latest Instagram hotspot. This is hardly surprising, because otherwise the Museum of Illusions would not be living up to its name — it is, after all, dedicated to tricking the mind into seeing something that is not there.
But even if you are more “anti-influencer” than “die-hard Insta-storyteller,” that is okay – there is plenty for everyone to enjoy. Key exhibits to look out for include the Vortex Tunnel, the Ames room, the Head on a Platter and the Rotated Room.
Not for the nausea-inclined, the spinning Vortex Tunnel tricks you into thinking the walkway is rotating thanks to a clever setup, while the Ames Room, is a distorted space that makes it appear that you have grown into a giant or shrunk down to become a tiny person. The Head on a Platter is seemingly a favorite with kids, who think it is hilarious that their head can be served up for lunch.
The Rotated Room is one of the most photo-friendly attractions, offering an opportunity to get creative and show your friends and family that you are dancing on the ceiling, just like Lionel Richie did in the music video to his 1986 hit of that name, which was filmed using a similar set-up.
The Dubai venue is the ninth Museum of Illusion worldwide, the latest addition to a brand that launched three years ago in Zagreb, Croatia. Since then, the franchise has spread to a number of countries across Europe, and has been brought to the UAE, Oman and Malaysia by businessman Mohammed Ali Al-Wahaibi.
“I purchased the museum’s rights for the Middle East, and we have been setting up,” he said. “It’s a mix of entertainment and education, and it’s a unique experience that’s fun for the senses.
“We’re adding value to the endless options here (in Dubai). The museum examines the relationship between the eye and the mind. We purposely trick the eye and the mind – you get to experience different visuals.”
Suitable for everyone from the age of three and up, the UAE’s newest entertainment offering features a mix of attractions that are fun for adults and others that are more suitable for the little ones. One of the best things about the exhibits is that most of them are interactive. There are photos, puzzles, games and plenty of “magic” to discover – 80 illusions in total.
“You are part of the illusion, you’re not just a spectator,” explained Al-Wahaibi. “That makes it a lot of fun. We’ve been advising visitors that it takes an hour [to see everything] but they have been staying longer and really enjoying it.”
Located in Al Seef, one of the emirate’s newest developments, tucked behind Dubai Creek, the Dubai venue is the biggest Museum of Illusions to date, “which speaks to the high standards of the emirate,” Al-Wahaibi said. “We wanted to bring an offering that suited the high expectations of visitors. Each museum is designed based on its location, and we’re attracting both tourists and local residents.”
If you want to experience the museum’s fun exhibits but will not be in Dubai any time soon, you will soon get the chance, as the next venue to open will be in Riyadh.
“The Kingdom is a big country and so we wanted it to be one of the first to launch,” Al-Wahaibi said. “The museum is very family oriented and fits well.”
The Museum of Illusions in Dubai is open every day from 10 a.m. Tickets cost $22 for adults and $16 for children. Visit museumofillusions.ae for more details.


Massive Saudi response overwhelms German musicians

German artists perform at Goethe-Institut in Riyadh on Tuesday night. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 13 December 2018
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Massive Saudi response overwhelms German musicians

  • German Ambassador Jorg Ranau hosted a concert at his residence in the diplomatic quarter

RIYADH: German musicians on tour in Saudi Arabia said they were “astonished” by the response to their concerts.
The artists played six gigs over 10 days at multiple venues.
On Tuesday evening in Riyadh the Goethe-Institut hosted Birgit Erichson and Vasil Laghidze, who performed Schubert’s “Winter Journey.”
The lyrics, by Wilhelm Müller, were recited in German by Claudia Ziegeler and — in a world premiere — in Arabic by the Saudi poet Dr. Adel Khamees Alzhrani.
“We are astonished at how the audience in Riyadh and Jeddah responded,” said pianist Laghidze. “We got overwhelming support from music lovers. The audience here is very enthusiastic.”
On Monday German Ambassador Jorg Ranau hosted a concert at his residence in the diplomatic quarter.
Laghidze and cellist Erichson were joined by violinist Ulrich Beetz, with the trio delighting a national and international gathering with music from Haydn, Schubert and Dvorak.
An embassy press officer told Arab News the musicians were well-received amid “thunderous applause.”
The French Consul General El-Mostafa Mihraje hosted the trio’s performance of an all-Debussy concert, including the famous Clair de Lune, played under the stars.
Other venues for the visiting artists included the German diplomatic missions in Riyadh and Jeddah, the French Consulate General in Jeddah and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, a research institute in Thuwal.