Visiting the Old Districts of Dubai Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood
Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood also known as Al Bastakiya remains one of the most impressive old districts in Dubai. This ancient region is constructed back in the 1890s. In its halcyon days, this community was very much capable of holding and supporting 60 residential units. Narrow lanes usually distanced these groups. After a century, half of this village was destructed to allow for the construction and development of new official complexes. Some houses were used as accommodation for the foreign neighbors whereas; others were used as warehouses. In the late 1990s, the Dubai Municipality instructed that the residual parts of this ancient district must be demolished. At the same time, Rayner Otter, a renowned British architect, visited this area and made a substantial renovation in the building where he had taken residence. He started a wide campaign to protect and preserve the historic area. He also wrote a detailed letter to Prince Charles who had scheduled his visit to Dubai in the same year. The entire area was explored by him on his visit to Dubai. After a comprehensive survey, it was decided that the ancient district must be saved and preserved. Hence the demolishing was canceled. In the year 2005, a project was begun by Dubai Municipality to renew and restore the old buildings and the lanes which were the pride of this area.
As per the historic numbers, the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood spans over an area of 30000-meter squares. The area once abounded in high towers and traditional buildings. The air towers were referred to as Barajeel. They were made up of materials like gypsum, teak, stone, fronds, sandalwood, palm wood etc. The material was juxtaposed and was separated by pathways, public squares, alleys, and roadways. Such an arrangement gave this ancient district, a very beautiful, ethnic and natural diversity. Due to its mind-blowing strategic location at Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai), the ancient district has a historic relevance in conducting and managing Dubai. It helped in organizing commercial and trading relations overseas. At present, the district is juxtaposed to His Highness Monarch of the Dubai’s divan.
Currently, its buildings deal with incubation of a variety of artistic and cultural activities (both public and private). These exhibits range from arts, artistic societies, specialized museums to ateliers and cultural centers. The most iconic cultural center in Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood is Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Center. This center is entirely devoted to cultural understanding and development. The historic district is also responsible for hosting a plethora of artistic events like Artists-in-the-Residence event, Heritage Week, Sikka Art Fair, National Day celebrations and some other religious celebrations. Cozy, luxurious and elegant cafes, restaurants and motels overflowing with heritage are scattered throughout the district.
Visiting this district is an immensely fortunate opportunity for anyone. It must not be missed as the people will get acquainted with the old way of life, which was prevalent in Dubai. If you want to know the old life of Dubai then, Al Fahidi is the place that you must definitely visit. The values and heritage of the ancient Dubai are very much visible in the designs and architecture of the constructions. There are some things which might sound or seem special to the visitors. For example, you cannot ignore the community’s need for privacy. This is very much imminent from the lack of frontal windows in the old buildings and houses. The windows are also slightly narrow and are located at a distinct height from the ground. The twisting pathways and alleys and erecting all the buildings facing southwest (towards the qibla) are also some distinctive features of this district. Wind towers are also constructed on the top of the walls. These towers trap the wind and funnel it down into the houses, thus providing an effective and free form of air conditioning. There are a plethora of principles and values that cannot be overlooked. They appear once an explorer or the tourist experiences the Neighborhood for themselves.
The place is free to access throughout the day. You can explore the Neighborhood at any time, after considering the given working time of the headquarters and the museums. There is no admission fee for the visitors. It is easy to find your destination as the path is not very difficult to comprehend. You can easily reach the Neighborhood via the Al Fahidi bus station which is located nearby. It is also possible to travel to your destination via metro. Free parking areas are also available for the convenience of the travelers.
Overall, the Neighborhood is an ideal place to travel to with your friends and family. It is the medium to transport you back to a historic time. The old buildings, quirky little shops, art galleries and shady cafes make for an ideal place to while away for some hours. It is definitely worth a stroll to get a glimpse of a bygone era in Dubai with its traditional wind towers, bustling courtyards and the maze of winding alleyways.