Sharjah: The Maldives Heritage Week was officially launched on Sunday, 24th January at the Cultural Heritage Centre Al Bait Al Gharbi, in the heart of Sharjah. The event was opened by HE Dr Abdul Aziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, and Her Excellency Amina Shabeena, the Ambassador of the Republic of the Maldives.
Also in attendance were Mr Hassan Amro Adam from the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage in the Maldives, Aisha Ghabsh, General Coordinator for World Heritage Weeks, and Saqr Muhammad, Director of the Institutional Communication Department of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage. In line with all precautionary measures set by the government, the event saw all attendees adhering to social distancing, and the wearing of masks and gloves.
The Maldives Heritage Week activities last five days (Sunday to Thursday), and aims to transport heritage lovers, researchers, and specialists on a journey through the history, geography and heritage of the Maldives. Event attendees can enjoy a variety of activities that reflect the various colours and traditions of the Maldivian heritage.
Resume mass public events in the heart of Sharjah
HE Dr Abdul Aziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, said, “We are extremely pleased to resume mass public events in Sharjah, whilst adhering to all of the measures set in place by our wise leadership. We were happy to run a number of virtual events amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but this event marks the return of physical events, and we are pleased to celebrate Maldivian heritage in the heart of Sharjah.”
Dr Al Musallam continued, "There are many similarities between Sharjah and the Republic of the Maldives, such as the importance of fishing and sea travel. Due to Arabic influence, the Maldivian alphabet is also very similar to ours, and there are many stories of Arab travellers who stopped in the Maldives on their travels. The Maldivian heritage is simple but rich, and we are happy to be showcasing it to the public through traditional activities such as jewellery, crafts, and fashion.”
Her Excellency Amina Shabiya, the Ambassador of the Republic of the Maldives, said, “I am delighted to open the Maldives Heritage Week here in Sharjah. Heritage is priceless- it is a vital part of our identity, and an essential part of who we are. As an island nation, the Maldives’ heritage revolves around the sea, with influence and cultures adopted by settlers through history. This is very similar to the heritage of the UAE, and there is a great connection between the two. This dates back to when the silk road wrapped around the Persian Gulf and down the East coast of India, down to the Maldives. We are very proud of the similarities in heritage between the Maldives and the UAE, such as music, customs, and traditions.”
The activities of the event also include an exhibition of Maldivian costumes, performances of traditional Maldivian cuisine, traditional crafts and wood carving, jewellery making, and musical performances from the Harboy band and the Rani band.
The World Heritage Weeks program came under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, and is in line with the Sharjah Institute for Heritage’s vision to introduce world culture to the people of Sharjah.
© Press Release 2021