Regarded as an iconic district in the UAE, Bastakia Quarter, which was set up during the 19th century, offers tourists a glimpse of how life was in the “good old days” in the country. Believed to have been established by pearl and textile traders from Bastak, Iran, the locality is ideally nestled along the Dubai Creek. Visitors to the area will be able to marvel at the age-old wind towers and narrow lanes which have stood the test of time. The quarter serves as a breath of fresh air for it will lead you beyond the many skyscrapers, shopping malls and adventure parks that have swallowed up the city, into an era where trade and commerce flourished.
The square, which fell prey to development schemes that took shape in the 1970s, now projects an array of museums, hotels, cafes and art galleries that attracts large groups of people throughout the year who arrive wanting a taste of ancient Dubai. Stroll down the narrow alleys and inspect the intricate details of the buildings that constitute the quarter. The architecture that one will come across would leave you in awe. Take time to discover the interior courtyard which will give you a feel of the many luxuries that the ancient traders often surrounded themselves in.
The ‘barjeel’ or wind tower comes across as an integral feature of Bastakia Square. It has been revealed that every household in the neighbourhood possessed one and in turn indicated the wealth of the owner. The tower functioned as a form of air-conditioning where a cool breeze was allowed to circulate around the interior while hot air was allowed to escape. Additionally, Bastakia is made up of finely crafted wooden doors, hanging oil lamps, wooden lattice and decorative grilles. Hardwood, which was brought from Zanzibar, was used to construct the roofs and ceilings of the houses of the quarter.
The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is ideal for a traditional breakfast or lunch or one may choose the soothing ambience of the XVA Galley that showcases a wealth of modern art while offering guests a shady courtyard café to retreat to. As part of the area, the Al Fahidi Fort houses the Dubai Museum, which is considered to be the oldest building in the city. Savour a rich array of local cuisine or even a smoothie or cocktail at the picturesque Arabian Tea House while enjoying the sweet melodies of birds that visit the charming courtyard of Bastakia Quarter.
If one is thinking of heading over to the quarter for a day’s exploration, consider staying at a Palm Jumeirah Hotel that will offer convenient access to the area. The Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa which is renowned for its Hotels in Palm Jumeirah would be a good facility from where one may discover the mystique and pageantry of the UAE’s most famous emirate.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.