Originally the area was populated by residents from Iran's Bastak region who earned a living from pearl diving. Most experts believe that the area was settled in 1890. Eventually the Iranian immigrants became permanent residents and most started becoming well established and wealthy. The discovery of oil and the growth of the city saw the old residents of the area move out. In the 1970s, fifty percent of Al Bastakiya was leveled to make a way for government offices. The remaining sections started falling apart and were used for labor camps. The declining neighborhood was scheduled to be demolished in 1989 but a visit from Prince Charles reversed the fortunes Bastakiya. The demolition was canceled and in 2005, the government of Dubai started a restoration project of the area.
Things to Do at Al Bastakiya Area Dubai
The narrow streets of Dubai's oldest neighborhood contain numerous activities and sights to see. Some of the highlights of the area are:
- Al Souk Al Kabir or Meena Bazar is a large retail and commercial area that has many immigrant shops and stores.
- Al Fahidi Fort is the most ancient building in Dubai and is estimated to be built in the 1780s.
- Dubai Museum is a great spot to learn about the history of the city and area.
- The Al Basktakiya area is well known for art and some well known galleries include Majlis Gallery and XVA Art Gallery.
- Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
Since it is a residential and commercial area, each store has its own separate timings of business. It is best to check out the individual timings for each venue before visiting.
How to contact Al Bastakiya Area Dubai
The neighborhood does not have a central administration or set up so their is no one point of contact. However, you can get in touch with the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding at the following numbers:
Telephone: +971 4 353 6666
Fax: +971 4 353 6661
Bur Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
How to get there
The closest metro stop is the Al Fahidi metro station which is only a few minutes walk from the area. After getting off at the station, walk onto Al Mankhool road in a north east direction. Ccross the roundabout and take the second exit, and you will find the location on your left. View Map.
The historic area has its own bus stop called Bastakiya 1. Commuter can use C7 to get to the stop and then head northwest on 3rd Street. Once they hit Al Mankhool, they should make a right and the location will be on the left hand side. View Map.