The only surviving historic district in Dubai, Bastakia (also spelled Bastakiya) almost fell victim to the demolition squads in the 1980s but now is the only place where visitors can get a real feel of what the emirate was like before developers moved in. The area first was settled in the early 19th century by a group of traders from Bastak in Persia, or today's Iran. The traders thrived here and built fine mansions for their families that flanked the lanes and alleyways.
Today, these mansions and the connecting thoroughfares have been renovated to house attractions, galleries, souvenir shops, and cultural organizations. Look out for barjeels, traditional towers that top the plain stucco walls. If you visit Bastakia in the evening, there will be more going on. During the afternoons, most shops and attractions are closed, creating a much sleepier atmosphere.
Bastakia, off Al Fahidi S., Dubai, United Arab Emirates