Visit cultural, heritage sites to learn UAE’s history


These significant buildings are an important tool to teach generations about the UAE’s illustrious history.

“He who does not know his past cannot make the best of his present and future, for it is from the past that we learn” – these were the words of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The UAE leadership, following on the wise words of Sheikh Zayed, has preserved the nation’s culture and heritage through sundry museums and landmarks spread across the seven emirates. These significant buildings are an important tool to teach generations about the UAE’s illustrious history.

Qasr Al Hosn, which opened to public last December after a decade of construction and renovation, offers a glimpse into the home of the ruling family, lifestyle, traditions, rituals, occupation, warfare, etc. Abu Dhabi’s oldest heritage site is in short a journey through the formation and unification years of this country.

Abu Dhabi is dotted with many such monuments like the Founder’s Memorial, UNESCO World Heritage Site Qasr Al Muwaiji in Al Ain, world’s first and largest hospital dedicated to falcons – the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, Al Ain Palace Museum, Al Jahili Fort, Zayed Centre, Manarat al Saadiyat etc.

Similarly is the Dubai Museum ‘Al Fahidi Fort’, which gives a sneak peek into the emirate’s old history. Etihad Museum, Majlis Ghorfat Umm Al Sheif, renovated Naif Fort – Dubai’s first police station, Coins Museum, Hatta Heritage Village, the Museum of the Poet Al Oqaili, Al Fahidi Historical District are all testimonies of struggles and achievements of the UAE. Also are Al Jazirat Al Hamra, the Ghost Town of Ras Al Khaimah, and Al Badiyah Mosque in Fujairah, the 15th century mosque takes visitors through beliefs of different eras.

Meticulous work has been undertaken over the years to preserve these monuments. Recently, the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development launched the UAE architecture project under its heritage and arts sector. This is an effort to document the country’s modern architectural heritage and develop architectural knowledge.

Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi, assistant undersecretary of the arts and heritage sector, said: “Architecture is a vital component in the broader definition of culture. Great prominence is placed on preserving heritage sites, but it is also imperative to document and maintain under-appreciated modern architecture. The UAE architecture project is in line with the ministry’s mandate and new strategic objectives to document the country’s architectural heritage for the benefit of future generations.”

The project is also creating the UAE Architecture Index – a comprehensive architectural archive and a research reference – which will benefit students and researchers.

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