The Bastakia Quarter (also known as the Al-Fahidi neighbourhood) was built in the late 19th
century to be the home of wealthy Persian merchants who dealt mostly in pearls and textiles
and were lured to Dubai because of the tax-free trading and entrance to Dubai Creek.
Bastakia occupies the eastern section of Bur Dubai along the creek, and the coral and
limestone buildings here, many with walls topped with wind-towers, have been wonderfully
preserved. Wind-towers provided the homes here with an early form of air conditioning the
wind fascinated in the towers was funnelled down into the houses. Persian merchants likely
transplanted this architectural ingredient (common in Iranian coastal houses) from their
home country to the Gulf.
Lined with discrete Arabian architecture, the narrow lanes are highly redolent of a bygone,
and much slower, age in Dubai’s history. Inside the district, you’ll find the Majlis Gallery, with
its group of traditional Arab ceramics and furniture (housed in a wind-tower) and the Al
Serkal Cultural Foundation, with a shop, cafe, and rotating art exhibitions (located in one of
the historic buildings).