Feel as though you are stepping into Dubai's past with a walk through the narrow, shaded streets and alleyways of one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. Tucked behind the lavish malls and steel and glass skyscrapers is the Al Fahidi Historical and Cultural Area (formerly known as Bastakiya), a merchant quarter established at the end of the 19th century by wealthy Iranian pearl traders. Today, their traditional houses of coral, gypsum and limestone have been restored and turned into museums, galleries, restaurants and shops.
A good place to start your tour is at the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding, located in the courtyard of a traditional house. The center hosts cultural breakfasts and lunches almost every day. These events are an opportunity to taste local specialties and hear about Emirati culture. You can also join one of the guided walking tours of the historic neighborhood run by the center. For more information about times and prices visit the center’s official website.
As you walk through the old streets, note the tall, rectangular structures on top of some of the buildings. These are wind towers or windcatchers, called barjeels, a useful Persian architectural feature before the invention of modern air conditioning. The thick adobe walls of the towers capture and cool winds that come from all directions and funnel them down into the buildings.
Search for an original piece of art in one of the many galleries that showcase a variety of Arabic, Asian, Indian and contemporary art. Hunt for a souvenir in boutiques selling locally made arts and crafts, silks, ceramics and jewelry. Go to the Dubai Museum in the 18th-century Al Fahidi Fort to discover how Dubai turned from a small fishing village into a global metropolis. Savor a cup of traditional mint tea in a neighborhood café.
Al Fahidi Historical and Cultural Area is situated on the Bur Dubai side of Dubai Creek, close to two metro stations. A fun way to get there if you’re in the Deira part of the city is to take a water taxi or traditional dhow boat across the creek. The neighborhood is a conservation area where the lanes are pedestrianized.
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Check-in wasn’t the most pleasant. But the hotel staff redeemed themselves the remainder of our stay.
Good Hotel and good location. Restaurants and shops around the hotel.
Unique and nice boutique hotel. Location is perfect for walking to street markets, museums and good restaurants. Staff is friendly and helpful
We consider it fortunate that we were able to stay at the Orient Guest House. It was such a delight to enjoy the historic atmosphere of the hotel and it's surrounding area. The staff were most helpful and welcoming, the breakfast was very good and the room comfortable and just so charming. Thank ...
Location was great Early check in request granted Breakfast was okay