Once you step into the Bastakia area in Old Dubai you can feel the magic of the ancient times and mixed culture staring back at you.
Bastakia, also known as Al-Fahidi neighborhood, was built in the late 19th century to be the home of wealthy Persian merchants who dealt mainly in pearls and textiles who were tempted to live in the area by the relaxed trading taxes in Dubai.
It was named after the town of Bstak in southern Iran and is the the oldest standing residential area of Dubai. It is located in the west side of Dubai creek and currently hosts a wide range of hotels, cafes and galleries in addition to occasional state-sponsored cultural events.
The old city holds the marks of the Persian architecture in buildings and spirit. Some are embodied in what is known as wind towers that were built for the purpose of cooling houses. They were rising above houses open to four direction to capture wind and redirect it towards the interior of building.
The revival of Bastakia:
Half of Bastakia was destroyed in the 1970s to clear the way for developing new office complex while most of the building in the remaining area were used as store areas and accommodation for workers.
And in 1989, Dubai Municipality put a schedule to end the demolition of the city and during that time a British Architect named Rayner Otter came to the area and made extensive renovation in the house where he was staying in.
He started a campaign to preserve the area and wrote a letter to Prince Charles who was to visit Dubai during that year.
The prince, after his arrival, asked to visit Bastakiaand explored the area accompanied with Otter. The prince suggested the preservation of Bastakia and so the demolishing was canceled.
Later in 2005, a restoration project was initiated to revive the old buildings and lanes by Dubai Municipality. It is totally recommended to include the Bastakia into your trip to Dubai. A visit to Bastakia will just reconnect the past and present for you and bring the scent of old times to your trip.