In the present form of Dubai, which stands out with its skyscrapers and modern infrastructure, it is difficult to find traces of old Dubai and understand the history of the city. Al Bastakiya is a historically important neighborhood in Old Dubai.
It is also known as the Al Fahidi Historic District, as this neighborhood highlights the lifestyle of the people before the formation of the United Arab Emirates. If you want to know the side of Dubai that reflected the state of the city before it was engulfed in a landscape of glamour, oil magnates and cloud-touching buildings, visit this old neighbourhood. However, before you visit Al Bastakiya in Dubai, here is some basic information about this prestigious neighbourhood.
History of Al Bastakiya in Old Dubai
The history of Al Bastakiya dates back to the time of maritime trade in Dubai, when much of Dubai’s trade business developed from the old neighborhood of Khor Dubai, also known as the Creek or Old Dubai. The neighborhood was built in the 19th century by Mr. Qasim bin Abdullah Al Bastaki, and the construction was funded by Dubai’s wealthy textile and pearl merchants.
Spread over an area of 300 square metres, what was once a drab, old neighborhood is today a maze of age-old wonders that still reflects the true essence of old Dubai. Legend says that the area was to undergo massive renovation and it was a visit from Prince Charles that stopped the neighborhood from being demolished, as he said the place was too precious to be demolished.
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Architecture of Bastakiya in Old Dubai
Originally designed by Mr. Qasim bin Abdullah Al Bastaki, the area was renovated in the early 2000s under the close supervision of architect Rashad Bukhash. He oversaw the renovation of over 50 buildings in the area, as well as managing the construction of some museums, and took the renovation very personally, as his own family had fallen victim to the urbanization of Dubai, destroying his ancestral neighborhood. Lost it.
The architecture is truly unique and unique, taking inspiration from the many countries that helped build Dubai into the city it is today. Islamic calligraphy adorning the walls of buildings, Levantine decorations, Aran Hijazi Mashrabiya and North African-style courtyard architecture are some of the different styles you will find in the Bastakiya of Old Dubai.
Walking through the streets of this neighbourhood, with its unkempt streets and rough surfaces of the walls of the buildings, you won’t feel the glamor you find in the rest of Dubai, but it is like stepping back several centuries and into many different Exploring the cultures that have had an impact on the United Arab Emirates.
Attractions in Al Bastakiya in Old Dubai
1. Dar Al Nadwa
The history of this building dates back to the 19th century. This building was constructed in the year 1925 by Mr. Abdul Rahman Mohammad Farooq and has an area of 463 square meters. Since the renovation, it has hosted many important events such as seminars, art shows, conferences and national and international festivals.
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2. Sheikh Mohammed Center for Civilized Intercommunication Building
Built in the year 1944, this iconic building is a fine example of traditional Dubai architecture, and after renovation in 2004, the building has become the premises of the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Civilized Intercommunication, where many international conferences and important gatherings are held. Spread over an area of 300 square meters, this building is a symbol of old Dubai.
3. Historic Buildings Section
Built in the year 1930-1931, the building is spread over an area of 400 square meters and has three stone staircases connecting the two floors. The building stands out from all the other buildings in the neighborhood as the building has a beautiful view of the bay. After the building was renovated in 1999, it became the headquarters of the Historic Buildings Department of Dubai Municipality.
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4. Gallery Majlis
The building was constructed in the year 1930 and is spread over an area of 400 square meters. Later, it was renovated in the year 2002. Adorned with traditional Middle Eastern décor, the architecture of the Majlis takes you back to a time when antiques were in vogue. Today, it is used as a repository of traditional paintings, artefacts and antiquities and has some of the most unique ancient artefacts in all of Dubai.
by bus: If you are taking the bus, you can get off at Al Fahidi stop.
5. XVA Hotel
If you want to enjoy a hotel stay in Bastakia Quarter in Dubai, then visit this hotel. The building was renovated in the year 2003 and has two floors. All rooms overlook the beautiful courtyard and are equipped with comfortable amenities. This is your opportunity to have a unique hotel-stay experience that is different from everything else you will find in urban Dubai. It is an experience of a lifetime.
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6. Bastakia Nights Restaurant
This is an interesting restaurant in the Al Bastakiya neighborhood where you can dine in Dubai. Before it was a restaurant, the building was built in the year 1895 and is spread over an area of 649 square meters. It is a two-storey building with traditional interiors, overlooking a bay. The restaurant serves traditional Arabic food, and you will come out of the restaurant feeling like you have eaten a delicious home-cooked meal.
7. Sahara Gate
Built in the year 1954 and spread over an area of 310 square meters, this building is located in Al Bastakiya, Old Dubai. The building was renovated in 2005 and then dedicated to the culture and tourism of Dubai. Due to this, the interiors are very traditionally designed, with Islamic writings on the walls. This gate is a beautiful example of Arabic design and is a must-see in Old Dubai.
8. Architectural Heritage Society
Built in 1936 over an area of 184 square metres, it is a small building in the neighbourhood. However, it has one of the best architectural designs in the entire Al Bastakiya district. Following its renovation in 2001, the building was renamed the Architectural Heritage Society of Dubai and dedicated to preserving the architectural heritage in the neighbourhood.
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How to get to Bastakia in Dubai
By car: You can easily hail a cab from any location in the city as all the drivers are well familiar with the Al Bastakiya neighbourhood.
By Metro: The nearest metro station to the Bastakiya neighborhood is Al Fahidi Station, and Bur Juman Station is also close by.
by bus: If you are taking the bus, you can get off at Al Fahidi stop.
Basic information about the Bastakiya neighborhood in Old Dubai
Al Bastakiya location: Al Hamriya, Bur Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Al Bastakiya Dubai Timings: Al Bastakiya timings are 9am to 6pm every day.
Al Bastakiya Entrance Fee: There is no entry fee to the Bastakia Quarter. Anyone can come here and learn about the heritage of Dubai.
· Carry your identification with you at all times
· Make sure you always have some cash with you as you cannot always depend on cards and ATM machines
· Remember to wear light clothing as it is an outdoor tour
· Keep your phone charged or carry a power bank with you, as there are not many charging points in the area
· You can hire a guide at the venue to give you a detailed tour of the neighborhood
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There is a lot to learn in Al Bastakiya of Old Dubai, so hurry up and start planning your dates for your next holiday in Dubai. As they say, the flavor of a city can’t be found anywhere else but in the oldest districts, so gird your loins and head out for a truly enjoyable experience!
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