World Book Capital
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Hello, I’m glad to greet you, I’m Yael Yancelson and today we’re going to a small city that I just got to know now that I’m visiting the FIL in Guadalajara, well, I’ll tell you that it was the guest country and I wanted to visit it, so we quickly arrived in Sharjah in the UAE, so breathe, if you can close your eyes, give me your hand and let yourself be guided, we begin!
Sharjah’s strategic location and its rich natural resources have been important factors in the emirate’s economic development. Sharjah had the first international airport in the Arabian Gulf, built by the British in 1932, and the first container port, built-in 1976. In addition to general commercial activities, both fishing and pearling have played an important role in Sharjah’s economy, but the pearling industry fell victim to strong competition from Japanese cultured pearls in the 1940s and lost its importance.
The discovery of oil in 1972 and the start of natural gas drilling in 1990 brought new sources of income to Sharjah, allowing the emirate to rapidly develop into the successful business and cultural center it is today. It is very interesting to know that Sharjah has become a powerful cultural center housing the Sharjah Publishing City free zone, which provides a specialized space for publishing businesses to thrive; the House of Wisdom, which has redefined the perception of libraries; and the Ciudad Universitaria, an educational complex of 15 square kilometers, with 22 institutes and an enrollment of more than 30,000 students per year.
This commitment to “knowledge, wisdom, literacy, and culture above all things”, in the words of Ahmed Al Ameri, president of the Sharjah Book Authority, has earned it recognition as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World. (1998), UNESCO Capital of Islamic Culture (2014), and UNESCO World Book Capital (2019). These designations celebrate Sharjah’s prominent role not only in supporting the arts but also in promoting the knowledge and appreciation of the history, architecture, traditional culture, and Islamic roots of the emirate. And I also tell you that we met the Founder and director of Children’s publisher Kalimat Group, as well as the Emirates Publishers Association. Bodour Al Qasimi, is a woman who is driving the female publishing industry in a very important way to empower girls and young people in the region with different programs and actions.
Let us then enter the Sharjah Museum of Calligraphy which was inaugurated in 2002. See how many beautiful works in fabric, wood, paper, and ceramics created by local artists and well-known international calligraphers demonstrate the complexity of this art form and its historical bases. They say that in addition to works from its permanent collection and calligraphy techniques, the museum holds temporary exhibitions. Every two years, the museum is one of the venues for the Sharjah Calligraphy Biennale, organized by the Art Directorate of the government’s Department of Culture and Information. The Museum also organizes workshops and conferences. And let’s see the building that is here on the left because they tell us that it has calligrapher studios and we will be able to see how they work and chance to take a course.
I also fancy going into the Art Museum, created in 1995 by the Art Directorate of the Department of Culture and Information, it was located in Bait Al Serkal until 1997. The new building, entirely dedicated to fine arts and activities related to art, was built a few steps from there and inaugurated on April 9, 1997, during the 3rd Sharjah Biennale. Here we can see how the main building and a later one are interconnected by two passageways, they have 68 meeting rooms of different dimensions and a total area of about 11,000 square meters.
So let’s enjoy permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, international and Arab artists who have investigated the history and culture of the region. There is the A Century in Flux exhibition, a selection of modernist paintings, sculptures, and works of art. The museum is regularly used as one of the venues for the Sharjah Biennale, organized by the Sharjah Art Foundation.
Did you know that the Association of Art Professionals in the United Arab Emirates, was established in 1980? It is headquartered here in Sharjah and has branches in Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, and Khor Fakkan. The Emirates Fine Arts Society is a member of the Arab Art Association and the International Art Association, IAA/AIAP (based in Paris, France). The mission is to support its members and promote art education and art appreciation by organizing exhibitions – including the Annual Exhibition at the Sharjah Art Museum – as well as workshops, seminars, and conferences. The headquarters with its courtyard and gallery is open to the public and offers workshops, let’s see if we can catch one!!
We now walk through an area known as the Heritage Area with various restored buildings, in the central square is the Souk Al Arash, you know that I always love to visit the local markets and this is the first in the city, so let’s see the wonderful fruits, vegetables and especially spices to cook a delicious traditional dish later.
Ahead we can see the AL Hisn Fort, which was the place of residence of the leaders and was built in 1820. Let’s go inside… and finally, we can’t stop going to the Al Noor Mosque, it’s worth it!!!
If you are hungry and you like to cook, click on the button, or if you prefer, continue traveling.
And that is how we leave this beautiful and interesting region of the planet with the desire to return. We will travel every week to another corner of this wonderful world, to discover, enjoy and fly with our imagination, I wait for you every Friday and I ask you if you like me Share the content with your friends and give me a like and a review of your comments because with that you help me a lot to raise the ranking of this podcast, ALTERNATIVE REALITY A UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT SPACE THAT CREATES COMMUNITY. We make a difference. And as I always tell you when helping others, we mainly help ourselves. If you want to know what the Include Me Foundation does for the labor and social integration of people living with intellectual disabilities, enter the link: www. incluyeme.org and if it moves you and interests you, review how you can support this interesting project.
Thank you for traveling with me, until next week! I am sharing some Amazon affiliate links so you can get essential things for this interesting trip and those you plan to do in the future!!!
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I want to thank Fabiola Ruiz Bedolla, our Mexican Sign Language interpreter, and her entire team of collaborators, as well as a very special thanks to Mercedes Obregón, director of the Pedagogical Institute for Language Problems, IAP. IPPLIAP. Thank you for joining this project and all of you for making it possible!
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