Restoration and conservation work on the project progressing on schedule, with phase I set to finish in 2015.
The Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah announced on Monday the commencement of restoration and conservation works for the Heart of Sharjah project.
Managed by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, the project is a five-phase, 15 year historical preservation and restoration project that will revitalise the heritage area in the heart of Sharjah.
Officials said that the project is well on the way to meeting the 2015 deadline for completion of the first phase.
“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,” said Abdulaziz Al Musallam, director of Heritage and Cultural Affairs at the Sharjah Department of Culture.
As a comprehensive restoration programme, the Heart of Sharjah project on going at several sites. At present, chipping is already underway at Al Hisn Fort, while the Al Midfa Houses are having their foundations checked and evaluated to test their ability to withstand the construction of an upper floor.
Repair work on the Al Midfa Tower is also about to commence, Al Mussallam said, while at Al Tawaweesh House, the foundation work has been completed, with design and layout studies underway.
“Restoration and conservation does not happen overnight, as we in our mandate to preserve the physical and cultural heritage of Sharjah know very well, but it takes continued hard work and dedication,” he explained.
“In just this same way, Heart of Sharjah is a long-term project that has become a labour of love for all parties involved, and seeing it steadily take shape that fills us all with immense pride.”
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.
Managed by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), the project is easily one of the largest tourism and heritage projects in the region.
The project is scheduled to be completed in 2025, it will contain commercial, cultural and residential projects, including a boutique hotel, restaurants, retail shops, art galleries and traditional and contemporary markets.
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.