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Al Fahidi is a historical district that is largely undisturbed from the 1970's. Wandering down the small and narrow lanes of this historical district feels like taking a step back into the past. This quarter was first built around the early 1900s by merchants from the Persian town of Bastak who settled in Dubai. Though the original buildings fell into disrepair and neglect, dedicated patrons have ensured that the Al Fahidi historic district has been preserved well for future generations to behold and enjoy.
The architecture of the Al Fahidi District – a notable feature of the Al Fahidi District is the distinctive architecture. It is one of the few remaining areas in the Arab Peninsula that still features Wind Towers or Barajeels. These were designed to collect the wind and funnel them down into the building as a sort of natural air conditioning to help the residents stay cool during the hot days. Furthermore, the buildings are constructed from materials such as stone, palm fronds, and sandalwood which give the buildings a very rustic feel. There are no windows facing the street, and the earthy feel of the exterior contrasts with the highly decorated interiors which have been brought alive with brilliantly emotive artwork and decoration.
In the present day, these residential buildings in the Bastakiya district as Al Fahidi is also known have been converted to quaint cafes and art galleries that are a refreshing change to the glitz and glamour of Dubai proper. Travellers can sample the offerings of Al Fahidi in an unhurried manner after a hectic day and the frenetic pace of Dubai. A lot of niche events in Al Bastakiya, Dubai, like the Heritage Week, the Sikka Art Fair and various seasonal events provide ample opportunity for visitors to soak up local events and culture. Truly, Al Fahidi is a locale that is highly pleasurable to explore over the course of a day.
Notable sights at Al Fahidi – The most important site is the Al Fahidi Fort, which is one of the oldest buildings in Dubai having been built way back in 1787. At various times in history, it has served as a palace, prison and garrison. Currently, it functions as the Dubai Museum which showcases the history and culture of Dubai with various interesting and interactive exhibits.
While Dubai is highly cosmopolitan, Al Fahidi remains quintessentially Emirati in nature. This is a side of Dubai that is seldom heard of or seen among the high buildings and the luxury hotels. The discerning traveller looking to go beyond the typical sights of Dubai will do well to venture out the old historic Al Fahidi Dubai area that still is reminiscent of old Arabia. Furthermore, there isn't quite the commercial feel of upmarket Dubai which tends to assail the senses and assail the wallet in turn. Step away from the popular and the over-done and delve into the unexplored amidst the maze that is Al Fahidi the next time you visit Dubai and want to taste the local customs and way of life.
A tour around Al Fahidi can be arranged for you by DAMAC Maison's concierge. We organise different trips that include a visit to Al Fahidi – you can choose from Dubai City Tour, Shopping Tour, My Dubai Tour, and the SMCCU.
t: +971 44449091 (International)