Sharjah Light Festival Puts the Emirate’s
Popular Landmarks in Limelight
SHARJAH: This year’s Sharjah Light Festival has turned the spotlight on 12 historic buildings and tourist spots that capture the Emirate’s rich cultural legacy.
The fourth edition of the Festival has Al Qasba hosting two captivating light shows and a virtual gallery of video projections that have been drawing crowds of residents and visitors since the Festival opened last Thursday. Al Qasba is a leading cultural, entertainment and business hub in Sharjah that spans over 10,000 acres and is home to the iconic Eye of the Emirates, one of the region’s largest observatory wheels.
Designed especially to delight children, one of Al Qasba shows features animated characters designed as eskimos that explore the Emirati architecture of the building to the tune of a playful song that represents a fascinating dialogue between Sharjah’s rich Arab and Islamic culture and the European inspiration of the artists.
Another 10-minute show at this social hub reveals an eclectic cast of characters and landscapes that transform the internal façade of Al Qasba into a gigantic kaleidoscope luring spectators to a fantastic, dreamlike world with an original soundtrack inspired by oriental music.
Al Majaz Waterfront, another popular hangout, has also been selected as one of the Sharjah Light Festival locations this year. A park that has recently undergone renovations worth AED 100 million, Al Majaz hosts light sculptures that represent giant luminous dandelions. French artists commissioned by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority have designed this display as an imaginary landscape that invites people to wander around and visually experience this alluring garden.
As spectators travel further into Sharjah city, they will come across forty giant flowers lit up across Kuwait Square, a notable Sharjah location that has been transformed by spectacular visual effects. These flowers, which sparkle in sunlight during the day, change colours from amber-yellow to a rich purple as dusk creeps upon the Emirate.
Just down the road from Kuwait Square and attracting even greater crowds to the city centre, the light display at the Cultural Palace Square is leaving onlookers spellbound. The Cultural Square is one of the UAE’s most impressive sites, surrounded by rich Islamic architecture and home to an awe-inspiring sculpture of the Holy Quran.
The SLF festivities this year turn the area around this iconic sculpture into an enchanting silver forest, shaped by thousands of light buds blossoming on the Roundabout. The sight of these beautiful luminous plants delights not only visitors who travel especially to experience the festival, but also drivers passing by on their way home.
By highlighting these celebrated heritage areas, the Sharjah Light Festival enhances the Emirate’s position as a global tourism destination offering a unique Arab and Islamic cultural experience. The festival is also instrumental in positioning Sharjah on the crossroad of great intellectual and artistic worldwide movements and underlining the Emirate’s status as the cultural capital of the Arab world.
This year, the festival is being held under the theme of ‘Sharjah – Capital of Islamic Culture 2014’ and seeks to showcase some of the Emirate’s stunning architectural masterpieces through light and video displays. Artists from around the world have been tasked with highlighting the emirate’s rich Islamic heritage in a new, modern light, creating an event that forms the centrepiece of Sharjah’s cultural calendar.
The festival will continue until tomorrow (Friday, 14 February) at 12 different Sharjah landmarks. Other locations featured this year include the Sharjah Municipality, the Central Souk, Masjid Malek Faisal, Al Taqwa (Al Majaz) Mosque, Dr Sultan Al Qassimi Centre of Gulf Studies, Hamza Bin Abdul Mottaleb Mosque in Kalba, Sheikh Rashid Bin Ahmad Al Qassimi mosque in Dibba Al Hisn and Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque in Khorfakkan.
The event is free to attend and runs from 7.30pm to 12pm on Friday. A full programme of activities and further details are available via the official website www.slf.ae
About Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA):
Established in 1996 by the Government of Sharjah, the SCTDA has been in the forefront of promoting and taking Sharjah to the world with its relentless efforts and unmatched enthusiasm. The Authority constantly explores possibilities and avenues of promoting and developing tourism and commercial sectors in the emirate through special events, activities and festivals at home and around the world. It pursues its goals by planning and drawing up strategic plans to promote and develop tourism sector in all its forms. It conducts social and economic research and studies as well to evolve its strategies and pursue its goals. And as part of its strategy to promote Sharjah, SCTDA participates in local, regional and international exhibitions, focusing on the factors of distinction and exclusivity.
The SCTDA works to raise public awareness locally, regionally and internationally about the unique features and strengths of Sharjah’s tourism product and leisure and investment destination. As a result, Sharjah has emerged as a favourite holiday destination for visitors from around the world, especially those from Europe and neighbouring Gulf countries
Sharjah has come to be recognised as the home of Arab and Islamic culture and civilisation, it was declared the Cultural Capital of the Arab world in 1998 by Unesco. Recently, the Arab tourism ministers’ summit in Cairo selected Sharjah as the Capital of Arab Tourism for Year 2015.