AI Bastakiya, or it is better known as the Bastakiya quarter, was an Iranian colony. The district was established at the end of the 19th Century by Sunni Iranian merchants to cater to their textile and pearl trade. The place is a perfect display of Dubai before the federation of the Emirates. This heritage site has been declared as a conservation area. This makes the district perfect for a short Dubai tour.
What makes AI Bastakiya so dazzling?
The city was Qasim Bin Abdullah Al Bastaki, hence the name. The area was once considered dull and old, but now is the essence and magnificence of Old Dubai. Architecture is unique as the style is a combination of cultures that have helped build Dubai.
As you walk through the narrow stress, Islamic calligraphy adorns the building walls, Levantine decorations on the streets, and the North African style of courtyards. This gives you a sense of the multi-culturalism of the city that Dubai once was. The beauty magnifies when you see the other side of the city, which is very flashy and high-end.
Attractions to visit in AI Bastakiya:
- Historical Building section: The building was constructed in 1930-31 over an area of 400 sq. Meter. The building consists of a small building paired with two towers, each three-story. The building was created to help visitors view the magnificent Dubai creek.
- Gallery Majlis: Another building constructed in the 1930s. The building is adorned in traditional Middle eastern décor and shows the trend of antiques of that time. Currently, the building acts as a place to house traditional paintings, art pieces, and antiquities from all of Dubai.
- XVA Hotel: If you want to spend more time in AI Bastakia, there is no better choice than the XVA Hotel. All the rooms are designed to overlook the ancient courtyard. As you are in Dubai, even an ancient style hotel has modern amenities. Having said this, the experience is completely different from other stays in Dubai. You would feel like a Maharaja living in Dubai.
- Bastakiya Night Restaurant: This restaurant changes the meaning of nightlife. The building was originally a house constructed in 1895, covering an extensive area of 650 sq. Meters. The two-story building has traditional interiors and a view overlooking the creek. Moreover, the restaurant serves traditional Arabic food, which gives you the feeling of a delicious homemade meal.
- Sahara Gate: This monument was built in the year 1954 over an area of 310 square meters. The interiors of the walls are designed in traditional Arab style, with Islamic writings on the walls. This gives you a good idea of how the royal lived in the past in Dubai.
Other than the buildings, there is an aura about the place, which makes you feel how beautiful it would be to live in a place like this back in the day.
How to visit AI Bastakiya?
- By Car: You can easily cab from any part of Dubai as all the roads are well connected with the AI Bastakiya area.
- By Metro: There are two nearby metro stations – the Al Fahidi station and the Bur Juman station.
- By Bus: If you are taking a bus, remember to get down at the Al Fahidi bus stop.
Other things to remember before going for the tour:
AI Bastakiya is open throughout the week from 9 AM to 6 PM. The good thing is there is no entrance fee for the area. You can hit the street and feel the heritage of Dubai.
Few other tips –
- Carry cash with yourself as there aren’t many cards and ATMs.
- Only wear lightweight and color clothes as this is a mostly outdoor tour.
- Charge your phone or carry a power bank with you.
- You can also hire a guide to learn in-depth about the district.
So, this is everything you need to know before you get dazzled by AI Bastakiya!