Atmospheric traditional Iranian quarter

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Dubai’s best preserved historic district, Bastakiya is one of the few places in the city where you’ll get any real sense of what the old place would have looked like. The quarter was originally built by Iranian merchants who were lured to Dubai in the 1920s to help build up the city’s economy with promises of low taxes and commercial freedom (proving that the city’s entrepreneurial business spirit is nothing new), with dozens of tall, largely windowless traditional buildings arranged around a labyrinthine tangle of winding alleyways, built deliberately narrow to provide shade in the heat of the day.

Many of the houses are now open either as art galleries, cafes or small-scale museums, giving you the chance to duck inside to admire the often finely decorated interior courtyards, and sometimes to climb up onto the roof for views over the Bastakiya skyline and the fine old wind towers which top virtually every house. Look out, in particular, for the XVA Cafe and XVA Gallery, and the lovely Majlis Gallery, the oldest in the city.

Categories: See & Do: Architecture |
Tags: Must-see |

At A Glance

Bur Dubai

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