The UAE may be a young country, but it takes its heritage seriously and maintains strong bonds with the past, according to a UAE daily.
"The Rulers of the emirates have taken great efforts to tap into history through its ancient monuments. Among the emirates, Sharjah stands out because of its cultural leanings and the value of sights it offers to visitors," said Khaleej Times in an editorial on Tuesday.
It continued, "On Saturday, a small historical fort, which was once the residence of the Al Qasimi family, opened its doors to the public. After its makeover, it is now a museum. A team of 12 conservationists worked 15 months to restore the fort to its past glory. Care was taken to ensure it was of the same colour, appearance and texture from the time it was built in 1823. The fort-museum displays 12 galleries of photographs on every facet of life.
"There is also an armoury and weapons section where visitors can view armaments used in days of yore. The latest renovation of the fort shows how much Sharjah is keen to inform the world of its transformation from a small trading and shipping hub in the 19th century to what it is today.
"For its efforts in the cultural field, UNESCO in 1998 named the emirate as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World. Last year, it was named the Capital of Islamic Culture, accolades it richly deserves.
"H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has been a patron of the arts and has been responsible for the evolution of this sleepy emirate into a modern cultural capital, which blends the old with the contemporary.
"The emirate packs a punch when it comes to cultural prowess with 17 museums and 662 mosques. Since 1982, it has hosted an annual -international book fair. It has also staged the Sharjah Biennial since 1993, big achievements which have put it on the world tourism map as well. Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation is a must-see for those interested in Muslim architecture at its zenith.
"Not content to rest on its laurels. the emirate's cultural authorities are restoring an area from the 1950s, which will house traditional markets, museums, archaeological sites and art galleries.
"Modern Sharjah's culture-before-commerce policy has worked wonders for its image globally. It has found its niche, and has done it with confidence. The best from the emirate is yet to come." concluded the paper.