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23 April 2024

Khor Fakkan restores historical landmarks

By Wam

The Sharjah Planning and Survey Department has restored key historic landmarks and areas of the city of Khor Fakkan and surrounding regions, upon the directives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Sheikh Sultan prioritised the urban heritage of Sharjah’s cities, and has researched historic documents on key historic landmarks in Khor Fakkan. He also ordered the restoration of the city, which is an icon of originality in the emirate.

Sultan Al Hammadi, Director of the Projects of the Office of the Advisor to the Planning and Survey Department in Sharjah, said that the department began its work based on historical information from Sheikh Sultan, which highlighted the presence of the demolished wall of the Khor Fakkan Fort, the Al Adwani Tower and other historic landmarks.

He added that the department discovered old photos and plans of these landmarks, and formed specialist working teams to gather available historical information from elderly people who witnessed these landmarks before their destruction. The department also reviewed restoration projects by specialists in urban heritage signed Memorandums of Understanding, MoU, with relevant government authorities, and hosted specialist antiquities missions, he further added.

The projects that will be inaugurated next week include work on the fort and its historical wall and the restoration of the old market, as well as the reconstruction of the Al Adwani Historical Tower, the folklore area in Shis, and the defence towers and mountain houses in Wadi Shie.

Khor Fakkan Fort Khor Fakkan Fort was built in the 1940s from stone to the rocky nature of Khor Fakkan. It first consisted of a single square with temporary walls, and another square was added facing the sea that was higher than the previous wall to reinforce its defences. The fort’s walls face all four directions, overlooking Al Adwani Tower and Al Rabi Tower.

During the 1960s, the fort was rebuilt to serve as a government building, and the residents called it the "Citadel," which housed all government departments, including the postal, electricity and water departments. During this period, a majlis was added to the fort facing the sea to receive guests. A mast was then placed in front of it, and a cannon was installed in its front yard. The fort became an area where people gathered.

Due to the city’s urban expansion, the fort was demolished in 1985. In 2018, Sheikh Sultan ordered the reconstruction of this historical landmark, to serve as an icon for the city. The department researched photos, documents and historical maps to locate the location of the fort, and it hosted a Japanese archaeological excavation mission after it signed an MoU with the Sharjah Antiquities Authority. The mission found some antiquities in the area.

The Al Adwani Tower The Al Adwani Towers is located on a mountain peak overlooking the historical Khor Fakkan Port, and is unique in the Gulf region due to its structure and because it was used as a lighthouse for ships. The tower, which was built in the 15th century, remained standing until 1985, when it was destroyed along with the mountain.

Sheikh Sultan ordered the reconstruction of the tower, and the major challenge of the reconstruction project was to find its original location. Therefore, the department aimed to accurately locate the mountain, by looking at old maps of the region and demolished buildings in the area, to find the tower’s unique location.

The Khor Fakkan Wall Khor Fakkan Wall witnessed the courage and heroism of the residents of Khor Fakkan when facing a Portuguese invasion. The historic wall was eventually demolished, but it remained in the stories of travellers, invaders and residents of the region.

Sheikh Sultan complied evidence from history books and the stories of residents to determine the possible location of the wall. He also directed the department to supervise the wall’s excavation. The department signed an agreement with Sharjah Antiquities Authority to host a specialist Japanese mission, which excavated the old part of the city of Khor Fakkan in the 1990s.

The Japanese team began their work based on historical information, with the support of the department, whose Urban Heritage Team provided them with information. The Japanese team found the first part of the wall, which is parallel to the cemetery and the mountains.

The mission continued its work to find the other parts of the mountain and historical documents indicate that the wall was not only parallel to the mountain, but it was also surrounded by the sea. During its third visit, the mission discovered a part of the wall leaning towards the mountain, which may be connected to a fort of the old city.

Inside the wall, houses from the 15th century were discovered, which was the first evidence of the wall’s history.

Rabi Tower The Al Rabi Tower, which has a unique architecture, is located on the top of a hill overlooking the city of Khor Fakkan, and is linked to the Al Adwani Tower from one side and to Al Miqsar from the other side in Wadi Shie.

As per the directives of Sheikh Sultan, the department organised a paving project to repair the roads leading to the Al Rabi Tower. It also opened a cafe at Al Rabi Peak overlooking the entire city and the surrounding mountains and sea.

Wadi Shie Region Heritage The Old Village in Shis Accessing the region of Shis has become easier through the new Khor Fakkan Road.

The department, upon the directives of Sheikh Sultan, planned the restoration of the old village of Shis.

The village, which is completely free from cars, contains stone houses that were built with rocks similar to marble. There is also a mosque in the middle of the village, which is planned to be restored.