Sharjah project captures hearts: paper

ABU DHABI, 14th July, 2016 (WAM) — Every city has a definitive pulse that reflects its history, ethos and spirit. Sharjah has become synonymous with heritage and culture.

In an editorial today, the daily newspaper The Gulf Today commented on the Heart of Sharjah project, saying “It is heartening that under the directives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, has embarked on a major project to develop Heart of Sharjah as part of its efforts to protect the emirate’s valuable cultural heritage.”

The Heart of Sharjah is the largest historical preservation and restoration project in the region.

Planned over a 15-year period and set for completion by 2025, the project seeks to revitalise the heritage district as a vibrant cultural destination by unraveling a glorious past. It will restore historical buildings and construct new structures based on traditional Sharjah architecture, and transform them into hotels, restaurants, cafes, art galleries and markets. Where, said the editorial, “The current generation and future generations can experience Sharjah’s cultural and social fabric.”

“The project, which is already home to annual events and is on the list of candidates to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is sure enough acknowledgement of the archaeological and historical richness of the UAE,” it added.

“Besides, it also contributes to preserving, safeguarding and restoring the area as per the international standards determined by UNESCO,” it explained.

The paper went on to say that the Heart of Sharjah is situated in the old part of the city of Sharjah in the northern UAE and, according to historical sources, its location contributed to the development of the country’s trade.

“Al Sharif Al Idrisi, an 11th century Arab geographer, recorded that there was an early port in the existing location of Sharjah, and in the 18th century it was one of three main ports on the coast between Qatif in Saudi Arabia and Sir in Ras al-Khaimah, facilitating the trade of rice, dates and pearls with the Iraqi city of Basra,” it said.

“Sharjah has emerged as a favourite holiday destination for visitors from around the world, especially those from Europe and neighbouring Gulf countries.

“It has been recognised as the home of Arab and Islamic culture and civilisation, and UNESCO declared it the Cultural Capital of the Arab world in 1998. Also, the Arab tourism ministers’ summit in Cairo selected Sharjah as the Capital of Arab Tourism for Year 2015,” the editorial noted.

“There can be no doubt that the Heart of Sharjah project will secure an undeniable place for the emirate on the world heritage chart, ensuring its placement on the global tourist map,” the paper concluded.