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Bastakiya (Bastakia) Dubai

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Bastakiya - Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Dubai

Bastakiah renamed as Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood in 2012 ...

The Bastakia quarter, or Bastakiya, is an area of Dubai on the Bur Dubai side of the Dubai Creek that dates from the 1890s, where residents originally earned money from pearl diving. Bastakiya is named after the Iranian town of Bastak - many of the original traders in Bastakia were from Iran.

In the 1990s, most residents in Bastakiya had their homes bought by the Dubai Goverment, and starting in the late 1990s the Historic Buildings Section of the Dubai Municipality began redeveloping the area with old historic buildings renovated (or rebuilt), along with a number of art galleries and cafes being opened up. There are also a couple of pleasant boutique hotels with small doorways for tall people to bump their heads on. The area is one of the few historic areas in Dubai, and is also an excellent place to walk around for those interested in art & culture.

The Bastakiya area is home to several well known buildings and organisations for example

Many of the buildings in Bastakiya are topped with wind towers - a cooling tower that pre-dates the arrival of airconditioning, and is surprisingly effective in the summer heat of Dubai (at least that's what everyone tells the tourists, it's still hot though).

Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU)

The Sheikh Mohammad Centre for Cultural Understanding was established in 1995 to provide a venue where tourists and expat residents can learn about and understand UAE culture and traditions through their "Open Doors Open Minds" programs. Contact tel: +971-4-3536666, email Activities and facilities include

Sikka Art Fair 2012
Souq Al Bastakiya (SAB) or Bastakia Souk

Update: Souk Al Bastakiya not operating during 2009-2010? Unknown yet for 2010-2011.

During the winter months in the Bastakiya area in amongst all the art galleries, an open air souq (market) gets going on Saturdays from 1000-1700 (10am to 5pm) (or 10am to sunset depending on what you read) with about 50 stalls displaying and selling arts & crafts, fashion items, antiques, food & drink, etc. A Kids Corner operates to keep the anklebiters happy, and what would a Dubai event be without the ubiquitous Valet Parking (for AED 20). There's also a courtyard styled Souq Café on Fridays and Saturdays from 1100-2200 (11am to 10pm). Tel +971-4-3217114 or email For 2009 the Bastikiya Souq runs from 17 January to 28 February 2009.

Souq Al Bastakiya list of vendors
President Bush visit to Bastakiya, Dubai

President Bush visited Dubai in January 2008 and was shown around by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed. Residents of Dubai were given a holiday and major roads were closed, including the Sheikh Zayed Road, making the place look like some sort of post-apocalyptic deserted city. During his trip to Dubai, (date Mon 14 Jan 2008) President Bush had a walk around the Bastakiya area, and stopped for a spot of lunch at the Shaikh Mohammad Centre for Cultural Understanding, with Sheikh Mohammed and other dignitaries. Access to the whole Bastikya area was restricted on that day, and Bastakiya residents were instructed to stay indoors - even those standing on balconies were told to go back inside. President Bush was rumoured to have said "Nice place, but why doesn't anyone live here?"

Last update Thursday 11-Sep-2014
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