Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Dating back to the 1780s and restored in the late 20th century at the behest of Prince Charles, the historical town of Al Bastakiya is a lovely historic exception to the modern glass and steel towers that dominate Dubai’s skyline. Originally named after Bastak, the Iranian city from which Persians migrated to Dubai, it has recently been renamed the Al Fahidi Cultural and Historical District. Clean, sandy beiges characterize the wind-tower architecture that houses several galleries, cafés, and museums. Tourists, locals, and many artists keep the old town hip and upbeat, while the wind towers mean the area is a couple of degrees cooler than the rest of the city. For history, architecture, and art lovers, a daytime visit to this district is a must.

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Old Dubai: Al Bastakiya

To walk the narrow alleys of Al Bastakiya is to travel back to the early days of Dubai, when low stucco buildings dominated the cityscape rather than gleaming glass towers. Many of these old buildings feature “wind towers,” an ingenious way to channel cooling breezes into houses before the invention of air conditioning. This area is full of galleries, historic buildings, and coffee shops. Make sure to check the calendar of events to see if your visit will coincide with one of the many art and cultural festivals that happen here.

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