Bastakiya quarter is Dubai’s most engaging neighborhood. Established at the end of the 19th century by well-to-do textile and pearl traders from Bastak, Iran, its labyrinthine lanes are lined with restored merchant’s houses, art galleries, cafés, and boutique hotels. “The Bastakiya is a picturesque step into Dubai’s past. It’s big on atmosphere and a delight to wander
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.