Tag Archives: Al Fahidi Fort

Dubai Neighborhoods: Bur Dubai & Bastakiya

And I’m back on schedule..kinda! At least I am keeping with the weekly Dubai neighborhood update, anyway…albeit, a few days later than I had hoped, but better late than never (a shocker for me, as I am rarely, if ever late for stuff). But I digress.

Part of the entrance display at the Dubai Museum in Bur Dubai

Part of the entrance display at the Dubai Museum, alongside the Al Fahidi Fort 

Today I had to make a trip to Bur Dubai (literally translated: mainland Dubai) to pick up some souvenirs for friends and family in the states (I’ll be reporting to you for the next 2 weeks from good ole ‘Merica), and what better place to find some authentic (and not so authentic) goodies than Bur Dubai? By way of explanation of the post’s title, Bur Dubai is the actual “neighborhood” I suppose you would say, with Bastakiya being a smaller subset of Bur Dubai…more of a historic quarter (as “historic” as one can get in Dubai anyway!)

My favorite mosque in the city: the famous, blue-tiled Iranian mosque - the colors and patterns get me every time!

My favorite mosque in the city: the famous, blue-tiled Iranian mosque – the colors and patterns get me every time!

One of the things about this part of town that really intrigues me is that while there are historical buildings, walls, and museums, the actual construction in Bur Dubai is relatively new. The area dates back to the late nineteenth century, but once Dubai began its gung-ho development (particularly in the 1970s), many of the original buildings were destroyed for new construction. Bummer! But fear not, my friends, because in the late 1980s, the realization hit that some of the old/original stuff should be preserved (what was left of it anyway…and by this point, very little!) and/or reconstructed in that same architectural style. So voila! Dubai can construct the world’s tallest building and reconstruct their original, ancient buildings. Kind of cheating the system a bit, but they’re trying! And you absolutely get a more old time-y feel in Bur Dubai and Bastakiya, even if it is a bit contrived.

A local wind tower, an architectural element ubiquitous with Bur Dubai; these towers are traditionally designed to catch cooler breezes that occur at a higher level above the ground and to direct it into the interior of the buildings - smart, huh? Especially in 100+ temps!

A local wind tower, an architectural element ubiquitous with Bur Dubai; these towers are traditionally designed to catch cooler breezes that occur at a higher level above the ground and to direct it into the interior of the buildings – smart, huh? Especially in 100+ temps!

Where: Check out the top right corner of this map, just below of Port Rashid to the left of the creek. Like many (all?) cities’ first/original cities, even Dubai sprang up from right by the water. What better place to pearl dive?

Brightly colored fabric in one of the many textile shops

Brightly colored fabric adorns one of the many textile shops

What: One of Dubai’s oldest and most historic districts, just bordering the famous Dubai Creek. The neighborhood comprises narrow alleys and lanes, traditional wind towers, a number of mosques, residential apartments/homes, the textile hub and shops, as well as innumerable souvenir shops!

Can I interest anyone in a sari?

Can I interest anyone in a sari?

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Highlights:

  • Al Fahidi Fort – the oldest building in Dubai, dating from the 1780s!
  • The Dubai Museum – very close to the Al Fahidi Fort, and a great place to learn a bit more about the cultural, tradition and history of Dubai
  • Majlis Gallery – a great gallery for local artistic fare
  • Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) – my personal fave!
A narrow lane of Bur Dubai

A narrow lane of Bur Dubai

Fun Facts: Check out this video with super dramatic music for more!

Until next time…

 

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