Sharjah Heritage Area
The older gentleman, who steps through the gate with me, smiles and returns my greeting. Instead of hurrying off, he beckons me to follow him. I am intrigued, and soon we step through a door next to a plaque that reads ‘National Theatre’. I learn that it is the rehearsal space used for productions created for the National Theatre of Sharjah. I am offered coffee, and when I mention that I used to be a Drama teacher, one of the young directors are waved over for a quick introduction.
My host is charming and animated as he talks about his involvement with the company, his work as a professional sculptor, and his newly found status as a grandfather. His pride of the emirate of Sharjah is palpable. “We have no oil, so no money, but we have culture.”
And culture is what this emirate has an abundance of. It prides itself in its archaeological history that stretches back to the beginning of time, and celebrates its cultural heritage in a variety of wonderful museums, both big and small. At the heart of the city of Sharjah lies the heritage district, where a variety of old buildings have been saved from the hungry mouths of bulldozers and progress. The ongoing restoration work aims, not only to preserve the integrity of the old buildings, but also allowing a glimpse into the old way of life that has effectively been wiped out during the last forty years of accelerated progress.
Some of the wonderful museums to be found within the Heritage Area include the Sharjah Calligraphy Museum, the Sharjah Heritage Museum, and the Al Eslah School Museum, while the Sharjah Fort is just around the corner.
GPS co-ordinates: N25.357501° / E55.384363°