11 February 2015

A Visit to Al Bastakiya

Our eldest daughter occasionally has school assignments that require her to go out and explore the city. At times, it’s a bit bothersome, especially when we have other plans for the weekend and I only have the Friday off; but most of the time, it’s exciting because we get to learn things and see places that we haven’t seen before. Yes, it’s embarrassingly possible; take it from someone who's lived here for 11 years =)

Some time back, one of them included visiting Al Bastakiya which is an old neighborhood in Dubai. Fortunately, we didn’t have plans and it was one of my non-working Saturdays that weekend, so we all headed to the other side of town that morning.

This photo was taken outside the Calligraphy House. Being the shy type that she is, Caila wanted her picture taken with her sister, who gamely smiled almost instantly
It took a while before she finally agreed to a solo picture, and being the silly girl she is, it was a jump shot
Seeing how fun it looked, Sophie wanted to try it as well…although she couldn’t jump quite as high as her sister =)
Anyway, moving on to this historical neighborhood, we noticed that most of the buildings had been renovated into cafes, restaurants, art galleries (like the Calligraphy House earlier), and government offices. Several were made from concrete, and this one in particular had arches on the wall
But we also came across this one which was made from bamboo
An old building won’t be complete without a wind tower on the roof as these were used to cool the homes of the early settlers
The alleys were particularly narrow

And some of the doors were really big and heavy

Since we had started pretty late, it was almost lunch time by the time we finished exploring the place. As we headed to the car, we came across this outdoor majlis setting where the girls sat comfortably on the pillows for a few minutes more
It was a great morning well spent seeing how Dubai was during the early days…totally different from the way it is now. If residents want a few hours away from the metropolitan life but can’t afford to travel, Al Bastakiya is a wonderful place to visit. The peaceful environment and sounds of birds chirping in the background while you walk around or sit on the bench will make you forget you’re just a hop, skip and jump away from the busy city you’re familiar with.


  1. I love to explore that place! The building is really nice and looks like your kids are having fun. thanks for sharing great photos.

  2. Looks like a fun trip for the family!

  3. Looks like the trip was educational to all of you.

  4. Nice place :)

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