Al Bastakiya: The New Dubai Lifestyle Destination

When you hear of Dubai, what quickly comes to play in your mind are the guts numbing Skyscrapers, the topnotch Luxuries and exotic tourist centers. However, there’s one place in the UAE that is controversial to the modern day Dubai, yet pulls much more volume. With pleasure, welcome to Al Bastakiya Dubai, an historic settlement delight, dating back to the 19 century.

Bastakiya, also called Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood.

Buckle up, in this article you’ll come to know about the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood and how it still survives till the 21 century. You’ll be knowing the following:

  • History of Al Bastakiya
  • Bata Art Café
  • Majlis Gallery
  • XVA Hotel and Café
  • Access to Al Bastakiya
  • FAQS
  • Summary

History of Al Bastakiya

Let’s go back to the 19 century 1890s precisely When the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood was only a small village of fishermen, merchants and pearl seekers. The town Bastakiya named Bastak after the southern Iranian town. It was built by the wealthy Persian merchants who were attracted to Dubai because of the favourable terms of trade and incentives made available by the Emerati government. At its fullest, Bastak was a 60-home unit which was Separated by narrow winding lanes. 

90 years later-1980s, Catastrophe struck the peaceful Neighborhood. Half of Bastak was grazed down by the authorities, the reason was for the construction of a developed and modernized office complex. However, the remains of Bastak were used as warehouse.and accommodation for foriegn labourers.

Fast forward to 1989, the Dubai Municipality ordered that the remaining part of the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood should be removed as well. But Bastak wasn’t without a savior. Amongst the accommodated was a British architect Rayner Otter who has just concluded on an extensive renovation of his residence. Otter started a fearless campaign to rescue the area. He wrote to Prince Charles who coincidentally was scheduled to visit Dubai that year. Prince Charles visited Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood as invited. On arrival he went on exploration with Otter. Prince Charles was so thrilled by its environs that he suggested that the area should not be demolished.

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Al Bastakiya Dubai
Al Bastakiya Dubai

A new Dawn for Bastakiya

In 2005, a project was put in place by the Dubai Municipality to restore the ruins of the old buildings structure, its towers, lanes, alleys and stature were restored.

What’s in Bastakiya?

Though the oldest residential location alive and functional in Dubai. Bastakiya has many undying Features to be grateful for and it’s worth your time. Explore Al Bastakiya on foot and be captivated by its ancient luxury and serenity.

Coffee Museum

Soak yourself in ancient wisdom at the Traditional Coffee Museum by browsing through books that you can take home with a token. Enjoy the richness of the amazing Arabic coffee at the Bastakiya Coffee Museum. You will also be exposed to the traditional coffee secret of how it’s been made. At the end you’ll be offered a taste of it. Good right?

There’s a lot of options for the reader and non reader here, you can as well get lost gazing on the original masterpiece walls that’s decked by art. Not only that, you can get a few gifts from the cafe shop, something to keep the memory alive with. 

XVA Gallery and Hotel

Dubai is also known for award winning artists, interestingly, most of the best minds are breeded here. The XVA gallery is popular in the UAE at large as one the best art galleries. Known for its contemporary art designs and creativity.  In addition to artistry feats, the gallery consists of an exclusive hotel which serves exotic Middle eastern dishes in an inviting atmosphere for vegetarians. Another big name and Worthing the time is the Majlis gallery,

Explore Bastakiya on foot

To have the best of Bastakiya, join a walking tour with a local guide. This way you’ll be led to discover the hidden wonders at the ancient town. Ranging from the most captivating corners on the quarter, the interesting museums.

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Or you can explore the quarter in a lone tranquility through its narrow lanes of ochre-coloured walls. Take a stroll to the traditional houses now turned to small museums, art galleries, cafes and restaurants and give yourself a rewarding sunset. However, it’s best if you join the private walking tour with a local guide, don’t worry, dinner is served at one price. Have you heard of The Sheikh Muhammad Center for Cultural Understanding?

The Sheikh Muhammad Center for Cultural Understanding

Is a non-profit organization that organizes many activities ranging from Arabic language courses, and visits to the Jumeirah Mosque. That’s not all, you’ll taste the delicious and exotic cultural lunches and breakfasts and you’ll also learn about their location and culture. That’s why it is called the centre of cultural understanding.

Al Fahidi Fort

Al Fahidi Fort is a place worth seeing, it’s the oldest building still standing and functional. It’s been standing since the 1700s and has served various purposes since then as a defense post fully equipped with ammunition and a prison. It also has the office of the ruler of  Dubai. Built in the late 1700s, this is the oldest functional building in Dubai; originally made with coral and shells which were cemented together with lime. Over the centuries, the fort has served as a defence post, complete with ammunition storage and a prison, as well as an office and residence for the ruler of Dubai.

In 1971 it was converted to a museum which is now a knowledge center about the ancient history of Dubai weaponry, and a knowledge haud of things that happened before the Dubai oil boom. You experience the richness of the UAE culture and tradition in this location. 

Location of Al Bastakiya

This legendary destination is located in Al Fahidi Street in Bur Dubai; between Dubai Creek and the Al Fahidi subway station. It’s 8.2km away from the international Airport and it’s accessible by road. Meaning it has lots of public means of transportation passing through it. The nearest metro station to Al Bastakiya is Al Fahidi,which is the best way to access and from there it’s just walking distance. It’s located in Al Fahidi Street in Bur Dubai. However, a cab or taxi will do just fine.

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Ticket fee to Al Baskatiya

The Al Bakastiyais a free entry quarter, however, you’re to pay for any activities that you carry out inside the premises such as walking with local guides, dining, shopping etc. The reason for its free entry is to help publicize the rich cultures and heritage of the UAE.

Frequently Asked Questions- FAQs


When the world is craving tech advancement, latest Luxury, the highest skyscrapers and the best game reserves which in all, Dubai tops the chart. You can be unique by taking the controversial turn to this ancient tranquility and see the world from its natural and unpolluted perspective at Al Bakastiya. It’s a place Worth the effort. When next you have a tour in Dubai, do well to see for yourself.

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