UNESCO registers Heart of Sharjah in the tentative list of World Heritage Sites

SHARJAH: The Heart of Sharjah has been registered in the tentative list of World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), according to an announcement of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and the Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah. The new achievement reflects the significance of archaeological and historical heritage in the UAE and comes in line with Sharjah Islamic Cultural Capital 2014 celebrations.

Under the directives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and evelopment Authority (Shurooq), has formed a task force to nominate the Heart of Sharjah to be included on the List of World Heritage Sites. The file will be evaluated by the UNESCO’s bodies, which will conduct a number of visits and assessments over a period of 2 years before recommending whether to inscribe the Heart of Sharjah on the World Heritage List.

According to the selection criteria, the nominated site must be a place of outstanding natural importance such as a forest, mountain, island or manmade structures of cultural significance such as buildings or a city. Once listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the international organisation will protect the site and help with maintenance when needed. Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi extended thanks and gratitude to H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, for his continuous support to the Heart of Sharjah’s bid for a place on the list and for his directives aimed at highlighting the human and cultural heritage in Sharjah and the UAE.

She added, “The Heart of Sharjah has a multitude of historical and heritage sites which have outstanding historical value, as Sharjah served as a point of convergence of civilizations, a transit road for trade caravans on sea and land, and a meeting point between people and tribes. We will work to add this area of rich heritage to the list of World Heritage Sites to introduce the significant value of the UAE’s history to the world.

Abdullah Mohammed Al Owais, Board Member of the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities, said that listing the Heart of Sharjah’s as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a success that demonstrates the historical value of the UAE and will help boost tourism in the country, particularly cultural and heritage tourism. It will also show that the UAE’s glorious present is based on a deep-rooted history.

Al Owais praised the role played by all government corporations as well as cultural and heritage stakeholders. He extended thanks to the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities for their outstanding efforts and the care they took with the nomination file which provided invaluable moral support, as well as for their support of heritage conservation, restoration and exploration practices across the country. He affirmed their intention to continue collaboration with UNESCO to register more sites on the list.

The Heart of Sharjah is located in the old part of the Emirate of Sharjah in the northern United Arab Emirates. According to historical sources, this location contributed to the development of trade. Al Edrissy – an 11th century geographer – stated that there was a port in the existing location of Sharjah.