Showing posts with label Old Dubai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Old Dubai. Show all posts

Creekside Dubai


As much as we love visiting new and futuristic project locations like the Dubai Water Canal and Dubai Creek Harbour, we also love Bastakiya, Meena Bazaar, and the Old Dubai Creek. These places remain to be some of our favorite places in Old Dubai. If you want to know more about Dubai's tradition, architecture,  heritage and culture, these are the right places to visit.

It was one rainy afternoon in March (I know it is odd to say it was still raining in March in Dubai but we had a bit of a crazy weather lately) that I found myself dragging my family to visit the creek in old Dubai again.

Well not really raining, we only had overcast skies and a bit of drizzle.
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A Photo Walk - Bastakiya Part 2

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My breakfast at the Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Cafe was followed by a short photo walk inside the Bastakiya quarter. It is a tiny but most engaging neighborhood in old Dubai. The labyrinth alleys are lined with restored merchant houses with tall wind towers, restaurants and cafes, art galleries, souvenir and herb shop, mosque, and a soon to open coffee museum. Bastakiya is a charming step into Dubai's past.

What caught my attention the most was the Wall of  Old Dubai. The Bur Dubai wall was constructed in 1800 AD from gypsum and coral and serves as a defense wall of the old city.

The Calligraphy House

Visiting Bastakiya will give you a completely different perspective of what Dubai was like far from the glittering tall buildings and highly commercialized areas that we have now.

Sikka art fair is also being held in Bastakiya every year, it is designed to feature UAE contemporary art practices and initiatives. Sikka draws its names from the alleyways between the historic houses of Dubai aka Bastakiya, that serves as a metaphor for budding artists to develop their creativity and seek for their professional paths by participating in the art fair.

These wind towers or wind catchers are cultural icons of the city of Dubai. The old houses are equipped with wind towers to funnel air inside the house especially during summer, they are renovated and preserved and to this day, even some of the new buildings are designed to have wind towers for cultural display.

If you are in for some shopping while on the walking tour, there is a spice store, textile, and souvenirs store, just don't break the bank, save some for your entrance fee to Dubai Museum and Abra ride in the creek.

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Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Cafe - Bastakiya Part 1

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Last Saturday at around 8:30 am just after I dropped my daughter at St. Mary's church for her second retreat and confession, I went to visit the nearby tourist magnet in Al Fahidi District in Bur Dubai - the Bastakiya.

I have three hours of me-time as the retreat finishes at twelve, just enough time to get on this solo tour.

Bastakiya is established in the 19th Century by textile and pearl traders from  Bastak, Iran. To this day, the neighborhood houses cafes, restaurants, art galleries, a mosque, a library, spice shop, and a coffee museum is opening soon.

From Oud Metha, I took the C7 bus with a friend, we alighted opposite the building where she lives and Bastakiya is just a stone-throw away :p before I knew it I was already in one of the oldest and most historic parts of the city of Dubai.

The weather was perfect for a photo walk but I heard my tummy rumbling and breakfast was necessary. A friend was frequenting a tea house in this area and following his recommendation, I entered the Arabian Tea House previously called as Basta Art Cafe. An expansive cozy courtyard restaurant lined with flowering petunias and shaded by two huge trees. I seated myself in a table for two and Mirasol, a cheerful and pretty Filipino waitstaff handed me the menu.

While I was giving my order, two small fruits dropped from the tree above me. I pay attention to the tree, it is something similar to what I have seen outside. On that tree was Dubai Government signage chained on it saying it is a historical tree. To my surprise the tree was called Christ Thorn. I found out later on that it is the same tree species where Jesus crown of thorns was taken at the time of his crucifixion. It is also the only tree that  Muslims considered holy as it is mentioned in the Quran. The fruit of Zizyphus Espina is edible and used to make bread and also medicinal.

This huge tree has been standing here since 1960.

I look up again and instead I noticed how clear and blue the sky was. I inhaled deeply and thank God for all His blessings. For the life that I have, for this beautiful place and for the peace in my heart that the tranquility of this place brings to one soul. You probably have to come here to understand what I am talking about. Next time you are in this area, take a peek at this quaint dining place.

I ordered myself an omelet with cheese and cherry tomatoes. It comes with a fresh side salad, Arabic bread, grainy mustard dressing for the salad, and 1001 Nights tea with a small plate of balalit to complement my fruity tea.

This is a super healthy breakfast and really filling, I wasn't hungry until 3 pm.

Balalit is a traditional Emarati noodle breakfast dish made from vermicelli spiced with cardamom, saffron, rosewater, sugar, and butter.

1001 Nights tea is a black tea with a fruity flavor and has a sweet smell. Arabian Tea House has 100 selection of loose teas from Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Sri Lanka, and India.

Having this breakfast al fresco in this splendid courtyard makes it so memorable and mesmerizing. I am definitely coming back here.

The photo frames of old Dubai on the wall are for sale as well as the teaware and so are the teas. I bought a box of loose tea and what else could it be but the 1001 Nights tea although I am surely going to try the milk oolong which is highly recommended by the girls when I come back next time.

I am now ready for the photo walk but that's going to be on the second part as this is already quite a longish post so stay tuned.

Have you been to Bastakiya or Arabian Tea House? Please share your experience on the comment box below.

Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Cafe
Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai, UAE

Arabian Tea House Cafe
Shop No 6, Thuraya Telecommunications Tower, Dubai, UAE

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