Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood (Dubai)

The historical neighbourhood of Al Fahidi, Dubai is a journey back in time offering you a glimpse into how life used to be in Dubai. It’s an escape from the humdrum of Dubai’s city life and its tall skyscrapers. As you walk through the maze of the narrow lanes lined by over 50 houses that have wind-towers, you’ll be amazed by the natural air-conditioning they provide. The 50 houses at Al Fahidi, Dubai have been converted with great care into cultural exhibits, museums, art galleries, craft shops and cafes. There are two boutique hotels as well.

Dubai Al Fahidi Fort


Formerly called the Bastakiya Quarter, so named as it was built by the Bastaks from Persia, the quarter is now a heritage zone that stands out as a place steeped in history in the modern city of Dubai. It was built in the 1900s by the Bastaks, originally from Persia who decided to settle there as the sheikh offered tax relief.

However, it was during the 1970s that Al Fahidi, Dubai witnessed its residents moving into more modern neighbourhoods offering convenient facilities. Fortunately, what would have been an unimaginable loss for Dubai, its demolition was prevented by locals and expats. The venture was led by none other than Prince Charles in the 1980s. One still gets to see what remains of the old city wall dating back to 1800.

Things to See in Al Fahidi

1) You can start exploring the Al Fahidi, Dubai from the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, a place that’ll help you understand and appreciate the traditional customs and culture of Dubai. It was opened in 1998 and a visitor can participate in a range of activities that includes attending Arabic classes too apart from a guided tour of a mosque.

Timings: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm (Sunday to Thursday), 9:00 am to 1:00 pm (Saturday)

2) Follow this up by visiting the Coins Museum which never fails to fascinate its visitors. Engross yourself in a display of over 470 rare coins that give you a peek into what the British monetary system used to be not only in the region but India too. Located near the Ruler’s Divan in Bur Dubai, Al Fahidi, the museum was opened in 2004.

Timings: Closed on Saturdays and 8:30 am to 3:30 pm on other days

3) You wouldn’t want to miss the Symposium House which hosts cultural events and other activities showcasing Dubai’s heritage and culture. You’ll be enchanted by creations of local craftsmen displayed here. The intricate artwork will leave you spellbound as you marvel at their creativity and artistry.

4) The next place to visit should be the calligraphy house or the Dar Al Khatt. You’ll see Arabic calligraphy in all its glory here, each creation a breathtaking work of art. You’ll feel that the creations are more like intricate designs than any written script. Here you’ll find the iconic legend Abdul Fatah who has been an expert in Arabic calligraphy for as many as 36 years now.

5) If you visit Al Fahidi, between March 16 and 24, do visit the Sikka Art Fair. An initiative patronized by her highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice chairman, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, it brings together exciting new talent who merge with artists of international repute and work on a given theme.

Timing: The Dubai Heritage Village itself is open from 08:30 am to 10:30 pm. The entry fee varies from venue to venue.

Admission Fees: Free

How to Reach: You may use Bus or Metro. The nearest bus stop is Al Fahidi bus station and the Metro Station is Al Fahidi



If you’re looking to make your trip to Dubai an experience that’s off the beaten track, this is the place to be in. A visit to Dubai offers an experience of glamour, glitz and opulence. Al Fahidi, Dubai stands out like a fairytale from the past. We’re sure you’ll love to wander through the lanes of this village oozing old-world charm. We would love to hear from you about your experiences here.

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