Sharjah, one of the United Arab Emirates, has secured four new entries for the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage list. These new sites showcase the rich history and cultural heritage of the Emirates, and if things go according to plan, Sharjah will become home to the four newest UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Sharjah archaeology authority made the announcement earlier in February, and the sites have been extensively studied by academic experts and specialists to assess their cultural value and archaeological importance on a global scale. The four tentative world heritage sites include:
- Pre-Islamic Mleiha, Central Sharjah
- Four locations boasting significant Rock Art
- Wadi Al Helo for its evidence of copper mining
- Faya Area, Central Sharjah
World Heritage Standard
These sites fulfill the world heritage standard by achieving one of the 10 criteria demonstrating exceptional universal value. The announcement is part of the authority’s strategy to sustain and preserve the emirate’s cultural heritage, as well as promote the sites globally.
1. Pre-Islamic Mleiha
Located in central Sharjah, Pre-Islamic Mleiha is home to copper tombs dating back to the Bronze Age and pre-Islamic forts. The ancient town was an important part of trade networks, connecting the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea across the Arabian Peninsula. The region minted its coins, making the rulers and merchants rich. Evidence procured also includes the discovery of funeral practices and funerary architecture along with graves of camels and horses.
2. Faya Area
The Faya Area, also located in central Sharjah, offers evidence of human settlements that date back to the Stone Age. Near the Hajar Mountains, people took advantage of the freshwater springs, and caves served as occupation sites, offering evidence of human shelters, tools, barriers, and life. The site also showcases the evolution from hunter-gatherers to nomadic herders, relaying how they exploited natural resources, extracted raw materials, collected water, and hunted.
3. Wadi Al Helo
Another important copper mining site during the period of transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age, Wadi Al Helo is significant. Copper smelting and casting were quite prominent activities, and copper ore deposits in the Hajar Mountains seem to have influenced the development of the Bronze Age in Southeast Arabia.
4. Rock Art
Four locations along the Emirates East Coast at Kalba and Khor Fakkan boast several motifs and engraving techniques that span seven millennia. The most recent one is just a few decades old. From wild donkeys and goats to drawings of camels, horses, and ships, these were found deep inside the mountains. The ship drawings show the importance of maritime activities here.
Sharjah’s new UNESCO World Heritage Sites showcase the emirate’s rich cultural heritage and offer a glimpse into its historical significance. The sites’ addition to the UNESCO World Heritage List will promote Sharjah globally and help sustain and preserve its cultural heritage for future generations. So next time why not choose to visit any of these best sites in UAE to explore the great history, architecture and re-live the stories of the traditional times.