Archaeological centre in Sharjah relives the history of Maliha

Maliha holds a 130,000-year-old cultural legacy

Staff Report
14:40 September 20, 2016
The award-winning centre

Sharjah: An archaeological centre in Sharjah is sharing the story of the town of Maliha in Sharjah, which holds a cultural legacy dating back to 130,000 years.

Inspired by the area’s historical significance, which was once home to the migration of mankind from Africa to different continents including the GCC region, where most found a home in Maliha, the centre, with its authentic design and experience, is allowing visitors to get up close and personal with several archaeological discoveries excavated many years ago and understand Maliha’s history.

Maliha bears the testament of almost five historic ages. Those who migrated to Maliha had built caves through its mountains, farms through its hills and homes and palaces through its meadows. As time passed by, with the dynamic environment and climate change, Maliha still managed to preserve these historic landmarks, with fossil rocks and mountains.

The award-winning centre, inspired by the tiniest details of the area’s history, has been architecturally conceptualised and built to take visitors through this ancient journey of Sharjah. The symbolic structure of the centre reflects Maliha’s natural landscapes which were resilient enough to preserve its history.

The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) is behind the unique project.

Mahmoud Rashid Deemas, Maliha archaeological and ecotourism project manager, said the centre is the first structure and the most iconic landmark since the development phase of the Maliha Archaeological and Ecotourism project, which was developed by Shurooq.

“Through this visitor centre, we wanted to send an educational and inspirational message to all visitors even before walking into it, and that is our commitment to building unique structures that are a part of Maliha’s remarkable nature and wonderful landscapes.”

The creativity behind conceptualising the architectural linings, curves and shape of the centre paid homage to the Bronze Age, which is one of the five ages Maliha went through since man first migrated there.

The Umm Al Nar Tomb, which is found in the centre of the construct and accessible to all visitors, served as a key historic monument which restored and preserved its momentous significance dating thousands of years ago.

Moreover, the centre provides three unique experiences which surround the tomb and these include the gentle descent of the tomb, the promenade of the roof accessing an overview look of the tomb and the exhibition area in the centre which itself tells the story of the tomb as well as Maliha.

The centre also has a restaurant where visitors can feast on tasty food along with a panoramic view of the fossil rocks and mountains of Maliha.

“Shurooq wanted to share the story of Maliha with all visitors and tourists when we first conceptualised the visitor centre. We wanted to take them from the giant look of the tomb on to the rich discoveries and findings which were made to understand what Maliha really was. It didn’t take long for tourists and UAE residents to feel and realise the strong connection between the design of the Maliha Archaeological Centre and the 130,000-year-old story it included, embarking on a true authentic experience of our Emirati traditions, values and history,” he said.

Shurooq is responsible for the restoration, preservation and development of several tourism projects in Sharjah, in a bid to promote the emirate’s rich heritage, tradition and culture to all tourists and UAE residents.

Their Maliha Archaeological and Ecotourism project won the prestigious Cityscape Global — Best Community, Culture & Tourism Project Award in the Middle East,