Al Fahidi is one of Dubai’s most picturesque heritage sites. The area was built in the late 19th century by Persian merchants attracted to the city by its relaxed trade tariffs. It is also known as the Bastakia Quarter (named after Bastak, a town in southern Iran).
In the 1980s the area was due to be demolished. Intervention by Prince Charles during a visit saved it from this fate. It is now a conservation area.
The buildings here are now home to a variety of museums, cultural centres, galleries, and restaurants. They are linked by a network of narrow alleyways (sikkas). Windtowers (barjeels) are a prominent feature; an early but effective form of air-conditioning.
Tourist Attractions and Things To Do
Al Fahidi Fort dates back to the late 18th century and is thought to be the oldest building in Dubai. It now houses the Dubai Museum. Exhibits and artefacts here tell the history of Dubai.
The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is an educational centre based in Al Fahidi. It hosts a range of activities including talks, cultural breakfasts, tours of Al Fahidi, and visits to the Jumeirah Mosque.
Other attractions include the Coins Museum (displays of historic coins from all over the Middle East) and the Coffee Museum (hundreds of antique coffee machines from around the globe).
The Textile Souk (aka Old Souk/Bur Dubai Souk) is a traditional Arab market selling fabrics, clothes, souvenirs, and gifts.
Art Galleries include the Majlis Gallery, XVA Gallery, and the Alserkal Cultural Foundation.
Meena Bazaar is the colloquial name for the area south of the Textile Souk. It is popular with Dubai’s huge Indian and Pakistani expatriate community. Its streets are lined with cheap cafes, currency exchanges, and shops selling jewellery, food, clothing, textiles, groceries, and electronics.
City Centre Al Shindagha is a modern mall on the western side of Al Fahidi.
Hotels and places to stay in and around Al Fahidi include:
- Howard Johnson Bur Dubai
- Gateway Hotel
- Ascot Hotel
- York International Hotel
- Grand Nova Hotel
- New Penninsula Hotel
- Hyde Park Hotel
- Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa
The list was last updated on Sunday 4th of October 2020.
|Al Ustad Special Kabab||Al Mussallah Road|
|Iranian||$||Legendary Iranian restaurant. One of the best budget restaurants in Dubai. Founded in 1978. Aka Special Ostadi Restaurant.|
|Arabian Tea House||Al Fahidi Street|
|Arabic||$$||Outdoor cafe in Bur Dubai. Relaxed courtyard setting with tables shaded by canopies. Offers more than 100 varieties of tea from all corners of the globe. Food menu includes Arabic breakfasts, salads, sandwiches, and BBQ dishes.|
|Karachi Darbar||Al Nahdha Street|
|Indian, Pakistani, Chinese||$||Cheap restaurant offering a variety of Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese dishes.|
|Sind Punjab||A Street|
|Indian||$||Hole-in-the-wall restaurant established in 1977. Offers authentic Punjabi cuisine. Great butter chicken. Located in Meena Bazaar.|
|XVA Cafe||XVA Art Hotel|
|Arabic, Vegetarian||$$||Courtyard restaurant at the XVA Art Hotel. Peaceful atmosphere. Offers vegetarian Arabic dishes.|
Transport and Location
Al Fahidi is a neighbourhood in Bur Dubai, just south of the Dubai Creek. It is easily reached by Metro. Al Fahidi Metro Station lies at the south-eastern corner while Al Ghubaiba Metro Station is on the western side of the area. Both stations are on the Green Line.
Al Seef lies immediately east of Al Fahidi. This waterfront destination offers even more restaurants, shops, and things to do.
Tourist attractions, hotels, transport links and more can be seen on the map below.