Al Bastakiya Overview

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, also known as Al Bastakia is an old ruin worthy town that will send culture lovers into a fine tizzy. While here, you can roll down the sandy lanes to the modern white mosque, noting the splendid architectural details of the grand gypsum, coal, and limestone buildings and marvel at the carved wooden doors with brass knockers and the intricate gates that adorn every building here.

Take a stroll upstairs for the incredible view of Bastakiya rooftops and take a good long look at the wind towers. This traditional form of air-conditioning, constructed to funnel cool air into the house, was an architectural series of buildings in southern Iran. 

Highlights: The vicinity offers some major attractions in Dubai like Ave gallery, XVA Gallery, Old city wall, Sheikh Muhammed Centre for cultural understanding and much more. 

Bur Dubai, Building 20, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Al Bastakiya is a historical place, built mainly to preserve the memories of an era that takes us back to the formation of the federation of the Emirates. Located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, it was constructed by a British architect, namely, Rayner Otter around 1890s. When the entire district was decided to demolish, he pitched in and made an extensive renovation process. Curiously, the town was built by immigrants from Bastak (a portion of earlier Persia), who moved from their native land to this great place and helped in re-constructing the district. It consists of nearly sixty housing units, separated by thin and elongated lanes. To ensure their livelihood, the Emirati government offered tax exemption and wages to the workers. Thus, this unique landscape is nestled with age-old attractions like Dar Al Nadwa, Gallery Majlis, XVA Hotel, and Make Art Café that must be visited for its beautiful engineering.

More than buildings and its different style of architecture, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood (another name for Al Bastakia) is equally significant for the traditional lifestyle and culture. From the mid 19th century to the early 1970s, Dubai was dedicated to preserving the traditional style of life, and then, that responsibility was carried out by the people of this town. Many buildings with tall towers (Barjeel) are the best for air passage, and they’re built with the traditional building materials like impenetrable stones, teak, sandalwood, fronds, gypsum, and palm wood, etc. These are aligned carefully and segregated by lawns, walkways and public spaces. And it ensures that the environment is having a natural diversity of architecture. Above all, this district is located strategically at Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai) that is the prime centre for organizing all business relations to other neighbouring countries.

As we know, Al Bastakia is celebrated by tourists for having buildings in typical materials, precious art & culture, and museum. But, there are also fascinating hang out places for tourists like the Arabian Tea House Café, Coffee Museum, the popular Shaikh Muhammad Centre for Cultural Understanding, and many more. Among these, the Shaikh Muhammad Centre for Cultural Understanding is a non-governmental organization; it aims to re-install the culture between the people of Dubai and others. Many foreign travellers indulge in their interactive programs and explore the rich culture and heritage of Dubai. In the end, one is going to get some quality insights about Dubai and its customs and habits.

How To Reach

Al Bastakiya is located just 8.2 km from the Dubai International Airport, and it’s well connected by all kinds of public transport. However, the best way to reach the destination is by taking a metro. The nearest metro station is Al Fahidi, and from there it’s just walking distance.

One can also hire a taxi/cab from the airport cab service. You can tell the location to the driver, and he will take you there directly without any delay. The transfer time can be slightly varying due to traffic conditions.

Best Time To Visit

The ideal time to visit Al Bastakiya is from November to March in a year. This is the time when the cool breeze swoops in and rejuvenates everything it touches. Additionally, this period gives the perfect time to go to the beach and also explore the Old Dubai without much hassle.

Other Essential Information

 – It’s located in Al Fahidi Street in Bur Dubai. It’s easily reached by metro, where Al Fahidi is the nearest metro station.

 – It allows visitors between 9.00 am and 6.00 pm. And it’s open on all days, irrespective of a weekday or a weekend.

 – Free entry for all. However, certain attractions require some cost for an entry ticket.

Tips for visiting Al Bastakiya

- Firstly, the tourists need to plan their journey to Al Bastakia well in advance. Since it is one of the famous tourist destinations, it seems to be crowded during the peak season.

- Secondly, tourists need to look for the timings in each attraction and plan their day accordingly.

- Thirdly, they can wear a decent outfit, just like a casual jean and a shirt/t-shirt. For women, they can carry a shawl in their bag. While entering a holy place, it is necessary to cover the body.

- Fourthly, they can bring a hat, a sunscreen lotion, and a bottle of drinking water during summer. Similarly, they can bring an umbrella, raincoat, and sandals during the winter.

- Fifthly and most importantly, tourists need to have their valid ID proof just in case. Due to security reasons, the security personnel may ask them to display it before entering.

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Al Bastakiya FAQs

What is the history of Al Bastakiya?

The history of Al Bastakiya refers to the 1890s period, where the entire place was built by people, who migrated from the city of Bastak, Persia. During the 1980s, half of the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood village was demolished and made ways to help in building a new office complex. Later, in 1989, the Dubai Municipality announced that the remaining places will be destroyed. But, a British architect, Rayner Otter, started a campaign to save the area and wrote a letter to Prince Charles. Then Prince Charles visited the place with Rayner Otter and decided that it has to be saved, and subsequently, the demolition was cancelled.

How long does it take to go around Al Bastakiya?

One can take 2 – 3 hours time to walk around the places of Al Bastakiya and explore all attractions. Since the whole place is constructed beautifully with the traditional building materials, it is worth spending time and understanding its philosophy. The excavation materials and findings preserved in museum and art gallery can make one wonder about the precious lifestyle in the past and also how much time they took to witness all relevant items. There are also plenty of cafes and food stores, where one can spend some time in the local restaurant and enjoy the famous Arabic food with their dear ones.

What is unique about Al Bastakiya?

The most unique part of Al Bastakiya is its history, heritage and the best practices they have followed. The rise of Al Bastakiya is one-of-a-kind, in which the place was almost dead, and gained rebirth from a British architect. Similarly, the lifestyle they had was inspiring, as it involves the traditional best practices that ensured them a good livelihood.

Which is the must-visit place in Al Bastakiya?

It’s hard to narrow down a particular place in Al Bastakiya, however, Dar Al Nadwa and the Architectural Heritage Society are the must-visit places due to their historical significance that can’t be missed by anyone.

Can I explore this alone without a tour guide?

Until you have a translation app, a google map, and an eye on details, you are good to go without a tour guide. As we know, Al Bastakia is a tourist destination, where all the people are friendly and approachable. Hence, it is possible to explore the place just by yourself.

Which are the famous Cafes in Al Bastakiya?

There are three most sought-after cafes available in Al Bastakiya, namely, XVA Café, Bastakiya Café & Restaurant, and the famous Coffee Museum. Tourists love to have a drink in these places and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere.

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