With the 41st National Day coming up next month, the UAE continues to take pride in developing and preserving its cultural identity and heritage sites.
Sharjah’s contributions have therefore been marked through its expanding efforts in hosting and organizing various cultural initiatives and projects.
Sharjah Government’s Department of Culture and Information has played a key role in cultural development through its various projects from preserving heritage sites to hosting traditional festivals.
The preservation of historical sites in Sharjah has always been one of the department’s top priorities. The five-phase, 15 year historical preservation and heritage restoration project Heart of Sharjah aims to complete its revitalization process by 2015.
“The Heart of Sharjah represents one of the most significant and ambitious restoration and development projects that have been attempted in the UAE or the GCC at large,” said Abdul Aziz Al Musallam, Director of Heritage and Cultural Affairs at the Sharjah Department of Culture.
The Heart of Sharjah project which is also being managed by The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) seeks to reflect what Sharjah was like over half a century ago and retain the feel of the 1950’s as well as link all the heritage areas together.
Sharjah’s Department of Culture and Information had also launched an initiative to preserve the Emirati dialect last August as apart of its efforts to preserve cultural identity. The initiative that was organized in collaboration with the Sharjah Media Centre aimed to moderate advertisements recorded in the Emirati dialect before allowing it to air on any of Sharjah’s media Corporation outlets with the purpose of avoiding distortion of the dialect.
The annual Sharjah International Book Fair is another event that proves to be successful year after year since its launch in 1982. The 10-day event is usually held towards the end of the year under the guidance of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
The book fair continues to grow every year and is looking to host over 150 publishers, 924 publishing houses from 62 countries this year. The 31st edition of the fair will take place from November 7 to 17.
The Department of Culture and Information also organizes an annual theatrical and cultural program, Sharjah Festival Days, with an aim to promote local cultural talent. The program involves a competition between local productions and theatrical groups which is judged by a panel of experts from different countries.
Along with various seminars being hosted during the festival, performances are staged at different venues in Sharjah, including Sharjah Cultural Palacem Sharjah Institute for Theatrical Arts, and Cultural centers in Kalba and Khor Fakkan.