Sharjah: The Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah has announced starting of the restoration and conservation process in The Heart of Sharjah, which is being managed by The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).
The five-phase, 15-year historical preservation and restoration project that aims to revitalise the heritage area in the heart of Sharjah, is well on its way to meet its 2015 deadline for completion of the first phase.
Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Director of Heritage and Cultural Affairs at the Sharjah Department of Culture, stated, “The Heart of Sharjah represents one of the most significant and ambitious restoration and development projects that have ever been attempted in the UAE or the GCC at large and we are extremely pleased with the progress that is being made on this landmark project.” He added.
“The restoration and conservation do not happen overnight, as we in our mandate to preserve the physical and cultural heritage of Sharjah know very well, but it requires continued hard work and dedication. In just this same way The Heart of Sharjah is long-term project that has become a labour of love for all the parties involved, and seeing it steadily take shape fill us all with immense pride.”
As a comprehensive restoration programme, The Heart of Sharjah project work has been on-going at several sites. Currently chipping is already underway at Al Hisn Fort and at the Al Midfa Houses the foundations have been checked and evaluated and tests to evaluate the feasibility of adding an upper floor have been conducted. The chipping process has also been completed and the team is currently working to repair the facade. Repair work on the Al Midfa Tower is about to commence, while at Al Tawaweesh House the foundation work has been completed and design and layout studies are underway.
Managed by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), the project is easily one of the largest tourism and heritage projects in the region and once completed will secure an undeniable place for the Emirate on the world heritage map.
Shurooq CEO Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal commented, “Executing a project of this scope would be impossible if not for the cooperation of stakeholders across the full spectrum of conservation, heritage, and development. The Sharjah Department of Culture’s assistance and continuous efforts have been invaluable, and we can only express our heartfelt thanks.” In restoring the traditional heritage areas of Sharjah and linking them together, The Heart of Sharjah seeks to reflect what Sharjah was like over half a century ago. The project will restore and revamp the city’s traditional areas to create a tourist and trade destination with contemporary artistic touches, yet retain the feel of the 1950s.
Scheduled for completion in 2025 and situated just five minutes from the city’s corniche and 10 minutes from the Sharjah International Airport, The Heart of Sharjah will feature diverse commercial, cultural and residential projects, including a boutique hotel, restaurants, retail shops, art galleries, traditional and contemporary markets, archaeological sites, museums, play areas and commercial offices. Many of these will be housed in renovated old or ancient houses, weaving Sharjah’s modern life with its history, as well as safeguarding its national historical character. The project hosts high profile events such as the Sharjah Biennale and Sharjah Heritage Days among many others.