CULTURE & HERITAGE
From the days of the early trading with the East to the settlement of the Qawasim seafaring tribe, Sharjah was the most important port on the lower Arabian Gulf.
The fascinating past of the UAE has ensured that present and future generations have a great historical and cultural heritage to be proud of. The glorious monuments and heritage sites in the region stand quietly today to retell their story of the past.
The older generations recall that their expertise with desert life was crucial to their own survival. These skills are still held in high esteem by many of the local inhabitants. Today’s visitors can experience desert life through participating in a range of organized trips and by enjoying a memorable night spent under the stars.
Other aspects of the UAE’s culture can be found by visiting places such as the fishing harbours or fish souks, boat-building yards, falconry centres, gold and spice souks and other venues. There are also various events that are organized in the UAE to encourage interest and appreciation of the heritage and culture of the region. These events range from exhibitions, theatrical shows, sporting activities, dhow and camel races, and a host of other cultural activities.
Sharjah has been transformed under the vision and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi into a vibrant and bustling metropolis while preserving the core values of tradition, heritage and culture.
In a region where history is often measured in terms of decades, every cultural aspect is precious. Preserving the heritage of the past remains essential to cultivating a national identity. Sharjah’s rich and varied cultural and commercial achievements are based on solid foundations and traditional heritage. More than 20 museums and heritage sites provide the perfect platform to showcase the arts, crafts, traditions and importance of Islam in the lifestyle of the people in this most fascinating city.
To enable Sharjah to continue to be at the forefront of cultural development and heritage preservation in the region, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi issued a decree to establish the Department of Culture and Information. The role of the department is to initiate and organize cultural activities across the emirate and to create a platform for interaction between Islam and other cultures.
Sharjah’s old city was restored just a decade ago, transforming the former homes of prominent families into museums showcasing the region’s heritage. Culture illuminates every facet of the emirate, providing context to all generations, a rhythm to the everyday. From classical to contemporary the cultural appeal is immediate and exciting.
There are ancient archaeological sites and cutting-edge contemporary art exhibitions, great houses of learning and the opportunity to join energetic traditional pastimes. Historic culture is championed in unrivalled educational centres, an extraordinary array of world-class museums, and the lovingly restored Heritage Area. Authentic Arabian culture can be seen at the scholarly Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi Centre of Gulf Studies or for shopping enthusiasts at the renovated souks and attractions highlight everything from trade to transport.
Classical culture is celebrated in the very architecture of the emirate. Islamic culture is at Sharjah’s heart, great buildings house the leading educational institutions of Sharjah’s University City, and theatre, music and visual arts are championed in both traditional and modern forms. Contemporary cultural life in Sharjah is busy and attractive, from the cafes of Al Qasba to inspiring art galleries and exciting festivals. The landscape itself encourages traditional pastimes and leisure pursuits. For all ages, from all cultures, Sharjah’s cultural enthusiasm is infectious.
Sharjah Arts Area
Located adjacent to the picturesque corniche is the Sharjah Arts Area. This area comprises of a handful of exquisitely restored traditional houses, as well as an 18th century mosque. This truly unique area is home to not only the Sharjah Arts Museum but also the Sharjah Arts Centre, the Sharjah Art Gallery, the Emirates Fine Arts Society and the Very Special Art Centre.
Located in the area is Bait Al Serkal, which was initially the home of the British Comissioner for the coast of Oman and later home to Sharjah’s first hospital. There are a lot of facilities available in Bait Al Serkal such as the Art Cafe, which serves delicious local cuisine.
In the surrounding area, artisan galleries are housed in Obaid Al Shamsi’s house and the yard has been converted into a place for the disabled, to provide an arena for those with special needs to practice and exhibit their art.
Sharjah Art Museum, which was opened in 1997, is the Gulf’s biggest art museum. It consists of thirty-two exhibition halls, eight of which house unique private collections generously donated by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi. The Sharjah Art Museum offers exciting exhibition programs which encompass both classical and modern art from local and international artists.
Heart of Sharjah Area
Heart of Sharjah Area is a testament of Sharjah’s dedication to preserving the cultural history of its predecessors. It is celebrated as the foundation of the accolade from UNESCO, which established Sharjah as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World.
In Heart of Sharjah Area, you will see handcrafted works of art and objects that date back to a time when local people relied solely on fishing and pearling. Trace the development of education, currency and the early postal system. Discover the traditional skills and crafts relating to jewellery, costumes, herbal medicine, music and folklore.
For more information please click here http://www.heartofsharjah.ae/