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Dubai’s Old City “Bastakia” Attracts Tourists Updated for 2024

Updated: May 20, 2024

In the heart of Dubai, behind the sky scrapers, is Bastakia—where tourist can experience the old city.

Wealthy Iranian merchants from Bastak in southern Iran built the old city in the days before electricity and air-conditioning. A tour Guide of the Architectural Heritage Department of Dubai Municipality, Mr. Walid says different kinds of houses like the Barasti were built around 1819. These “coral stone houses” were in danger of being destroyed. When locals started moving out of the old city, laborers moved in and started to partition the old buildings. But the govern ment stepped in to do something about it.

[Waleed Nabil Ahmed, Tour Giude of Architectural Heritage Department]:
“Around 75% of these houses has been rent out to labors. So when the labors live inside those houses they destroyed them. They damaged them. So the government seen that they should preserve those houses and try to keep the historical area and to let the people know about our history about how we used to live here. ”

A unique feature of the old city is the wind towers that still exist in Bastakia. They are used for cooling the houses.

[ Waleed Nabil Ahmed, Tour Guide, Architectural Heritage Department of Dubai]:
“Wind Towers actually is it called actually Barjeel. It is tallest part the house you can see around here in this area. It is like an open box. Inside there is crisscross structure. So whenever the winds come from any side. It hits the wall and comes down to us. Because it is high and because of the alley ways and the arrows inside them so the winds hits wall comes down faster and cooler.”

The elegant houses were built with coral, gypsum and limestone. And now they attract tourists from all around the world.

[Dionysios Chatzis, Greek Tourist]:
“To see building so around take photo. I like the way the building are build and the color of the building. Because it suits the sand color. It is very beautiful and like wind towers I think it is great term for photographing.”

Some tourists find the old city a relaxing place to be—an escape from the modern Dubai.

[Leah Elisabeth, French Tourist]:
“I liked it. Because it is so traditional and it is very contrasting for the rest of city. Because everything is modern and here you can just walk in the calm place and you can enjoy architecture.”

Still, the old city has not been left untouched. Some buildings are used for shops, restaurants, hotels and galleries.

NTD News, Dubai.