The old Bastakiya district, in Dubai, UAE, is a step back in time to the days before electricity and air-conditioning, where traditional courtyard houses were cooled by wind towers. It gives a glimpse of the way Dubai used to be.
Old Dubai was famous for its wind towers that lined the Creek on both sides, and today the narrow lanes festooned with the distinctively Arabian architecture is a popular historical attraction that has been marked for tourists to delight in.
The old Bastakiya district with its narrow lanes and tall wind-towers gives a tantalizing glimpse of old Dubai. Immediately to the east of Al Fahidi Fort is the largest concentration of traditional courtyard houses with wind towers.
In the past, the city was famous for a mass of wind towers that lined the Creek on either side. These wind towers were not just decorative. They were the only means of cooling houses in the days before mains electricity.
Bastakiya is a bustling market and cultural center of Dubai. The original, old city of Dubai is just one per cent of the modern city we see today. The district is filled with traditional courtyard houses and classic wind towers, which offer a charming glimpse of how Dubai once looked.
The surrounding historic buildings are home to museums, galleries featuring local artists, restaurants and markets. Dubai government is planning to renovate all the historic buildings of the Bastakiya area to open more museums, galleries, restaurants and traditional markets.
The Bastakiya district has been earmarked for tourist development, with the construction of a museum, cultural Center, and an art gallery that showcases local talent.
These houses are now part of the Heritage Village. Some have been converted into museums displaying the local culture and heritage, while in others the old era has been projected through recreations.
Some of the defensive architecture of of the past includes the watch towers built around the old city of Dubai. There is the Fahidi Fort, which now houses the Dubai Museum, and is the city’s oldest fort, dating to 1799. Other old fortifications that have been restored include Nahar Tower built in 1876, the Naif Fort and the 1838-built Umm Royool Tower, a unique structure “built on legs.”
Bastakiya is a district you will not want to miss, especially if you are interested in learning what Dubai is all about.
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