Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) commenced construction works to rebuild Souk Al Shanasiyah, a historical souk situated at the Heart of Sharjah, one of the largest heritage developments in the region.
The souk will be rebuilt on Bank Street in Sharjah, based on the foundations detected through the survey conducted using ground penetrating radar and the excavation and exploration works underway with the support of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. The survey and excavation works cover an area of 2500 square meter and are coordinated by Sharjah Ruler's Court in collaboration with Shurooq and with technical support from the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information’s Directorate of Heritage and Directorate of Antiquities.
Led by Prof Hanai Sasaki and Professor Emeritus Tatsuo Sasaki from Japan, the non-intrusive ground radar survey of the area showed the remains of the souq. Construction works will continue around the clock (24/7) and are expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.
Yousif Al Mutawa, Manager of Heart of Sharjah, said that the reconstruction of Souq Al Shinasiyah is a project of special significance for the Heart of Sharjah Management, as it connects Souq Sagr in Al Shuwaiheen area with Souq Al Arsa in Al Marijah area. In the 1950s Souq Al Shinasiyah was a vital area for trade exchange and point of convergence for traders coming from the neighbouring countries. He added that the new Souq would resemble the old image that exists in the memory of Sharjah’s residents and visitors who knew the Souq with its old fashioned architectural design.
Al Mutawa added: “Upon completion in the next few months, Souq Al Shinasiyah will be a heritage and trading landmark that attracts visitors and tourists, linking past with present and building the bridges of cultural and heritage communication among generations. The Souq will introduce the authentic history of Sharjah and its strong decades long presence in the trade, social, and cultural life. It will also increase trading activities in the area which will include many unique souqs and stores.”
He clarified that the spaces which will be available for lease in the new market will be unique opportunities for heritage enterprises, especially for the young entrepreneurs who wish to enter the business world.
The new Shinasiyah Souq will feature heritage design, extending over an area of 5872 square meters with 18 varied stores. The items on display will be predominantly heritage products, including handcrafts, traditional costumes, souvenirs, Islamic prayer beads, antiques, incense, perfumes, dates, and traditional sweets. The Souq will have restaurants and cafés in addition to parking spaces.
The Souq was named Shinasiyah after the traders coming from Shinas town who used to visit the market for the exchange of commodities with salesmen. The market had been vibrant and bustling commercial hub until it disappeared due to the urban expansion works in the surrounding area.
Scheduled for completion in 2025 and situated in old Sharjah district just five minutes from the city’s Corniche and 10 minutes from the Sharjah International Airport, The Heart of Sharjah will feature diverse commercial, cultural and residential projects, including the AED100 million Al Bait Hotel, in addition to restaurants, retail outlets, art galleries, traditional and contemporary markets, archaeological sites, museums, play areas, and commercial offices. The area hosts Sharjah Heritage Days, an annual event that attracts a large number of visitors.
The Heart of Sharjah was recently registered in the tentative list of World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in an impressive achievement that affirms the significance of archaeological and historical heritage in the UAE. Once listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the international organization will protect the site and help in maintenance when needed. Once listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the international organization will protect the site and help with maintenance when needed. In addition, a UNESCO listed world heritage site will be introduced and promoted all over the world and will be positioned in the world tourism map.