Al Bastakiya Overview
Sophisticated houses with rough walls shielding the privacy of the wealthy families within became a trademark of the Bastakiya area. Wind towers topped these walls, trapping the wind and funneling it down into the house as an effective form of early air conditioning. Inner courtyards, shady and highly decorated, provided a sharp contrast to this outer impenetrability.
Wandering around Bastakiya, it’s easy to transport yourself back to a bygone era. These old buildings have been converted into shady cafés, art galleries and quirky little shops – making Bastakiya the perfect place to while away a few hours. What makes Al Bastakiya unique is its architecture. The wind tower, called barjeel, is in every house of Al Bastakiya. The number of barjeels a house has indicates the wealth of the owner family.
Moreover, the doors of the houses are related to cultural behaviors. For example the main door of the house is large whereas the inner door is short, and this is because when men entering the house they should bend down not facing women directly.