Al Fahidi Historic District

Al Fahidi Historic District information

Location
Dubai , United Arab Emirates
Address
Al Fahidi St
Getting there
Metro: Al Fahidi
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Traffic fades to a quiet hum in the labyrinthine lanes of this nicely restored heritage area formerly known as the Bastakia Quarter. Its narrow walking lanes are flanked by sand-colored houses topped with wind towers, which provide natural air-conditioning. Today, there are about 50 buildings containing museums, craft shops, cultural exhibits, courtyard cafes, art galleries and two boutique hotels.

The quarter was built in the early 1900s by merchants from the Persian town of Bastak who settled in Dubai to take advantage of tax breaks granted by the sheikh. By the 1970s, though, the buildings had fallen into disrepair and residents began moving on to newer, more comfortable neighbourhoods. Dedicated locals, expats and even Prince Charles prevented the area's demolition in the 1980s. Hidden within the restored maze, which is easily explored on an aimless wander, is a short section of the old city wall from 1800. For a more in-depth experience, join a guided tour with the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding .

Next to the district, a new waterfront tourist development called Marsa Al Seef is taking shape. Set to celebrate Emirati culture, it may be completed in 2017.