Al Bastakiya

Al Bastakiya (Arabic: البستكية) is a historic district in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Together with Al Shindagha, Al Bastakiya is one of the oldest residential areas in the city of Dubai.The locality lies along Dubai Creek and includes narrow lanes and wind towers, as well as the Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest existing building in Dubai. Traditionally a stronghold of rich Persian merchants, the demographic of the locality changed with the discovery of oil, which resulted in many rich families relocating to other parts of the city.

The construction of Al Bastakiya dates back to the 1690s. In its prime, the locality was capable of supporting 60 housing units, most of which were separated by narrow, winding lanes. As a result, expatriate families moved into Al Bastakiya and the Al Souk Al Kabir area (referred to as Meena bazaar by immigrant residents).

In the 1970s about half of Bastakiya was destroyed to make way for the development of a new office complex for the emirate's ruler. The remaining area fell into some disrepair and, apart from the Majlis Gallery, an art and crafts centre, the wind tower houses became largely used as warehouses or for accommodation of expatriate labourers. A British architect, Rayner Otter, took up residence in one house and carried out extensive renovations within. In 1989 the Dubai Municipality scheduled the remaining area of Bastakiya to be demolished. Rayner Otter started a campaign to preserve the area and wrote to Britain's Prince Charles who was due to visit the emirate that year. When he arrived in Dubai, Prince Charles, who is known for his views on architecture and his love of historic buildings, asked to visit Bastakiya. Here he met Otter and explored the whole area. It is understood that during his visit Charles suggested to his hosts that Bastakiya should be preserved. Shortly after his departure the decision to demolish Bastakiya was reversed.

A project aimed at restoring the locality's old buildings and lanes was initiated by Dubai Municipality in 2005

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