Sharjah 4 April 2017: Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has said progress on the second phase of the Heart of Sharjah development – one of the largest heritage and tourism projects in the region – is right on schedule.
The announcement coincides with two major heritage events in Sharjah, the Sharjah Biennial 2017, which commenced on March 10 and runs until June 12, and Sharjah Heritage Days, a prominent cultural extravaganza due to take place from April 4-22.
Marked for completion by 2025, the five-phase Heart of Sharjah project aims to revitalise the area’s historical and heritage areas by renovating its traditional buildings and infrastructure, thereby transforming it into a vibrant tourist destination for visitors keen to immerse themselves in tradition and culture.
Heart of Sharjah is being undertaken by Shurooq in coordination with the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, Sharjah Museums Department and Sharjah Art Foundation.
As per the predetermined schedule, Shurooq has completed the majority of work for Heart of Sharjah’s second phase, which includes infrastructure development and the addition of new services and amenities, such as restaurants, cafes, public facilities, children’s play areas and car parking. It also involves the upgrading of Heart of Sharjah’s internal courtyards and squares that will be used as venues for events.
Shurooq has collaborated with Sharjah Institute for Heritage in the restoration of Heart of Sharjah’s previously inhabited houses, with the names of their owners retained in order to preserve its cultural character. The sites of other previous dwellings, that have long since disappeared but were discovered through excavation works that revealed their foundations, have been marked on the ground with coloured paving tiles.
A main feature of the second phase of Heart of Sharjah is the development of the ‘natural environment’ area, which features mountainous, rural Bedouin and marine environments that highlight the various traditional lifestyles of the UAE.
Yousif Al Mutawa, Manager of Heart of Sharjah, said: “The development work on the second phase of the heritage project is on progress according to the set timetable.”
Heart of Sharjah, which is under a 15-year development plan, is considered to be of particular historical significance because it reflects Sharjah’s authentic identity and its cultural, social and political heritage.
The project has been designed to serve as a link between the emirate’s prestigious past, its flourishing present and its bright future.
Heart of Sharjah is included on the tentative list of the World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).
– By Angel Chan