UAE

  • Keywords: UAE Cultural Landscape, Sharjah, Mleiha, Fayah, Al-Buhais, Emlaih, burial, tomb, archaeological remains

1. OFFICIAL CLASSIFICATIONS AND CATEGORIES

1.1 National and International Classification Lists

The Cultural Landscape of the Central Region in the Emirate of Sharjah is in the Tentative List of UNESCO, with date of submission: 30/01/2012, criteria: (iii)(iv)(vii) and category: mixed. It was submitted by The National Council of Tourism and Antiquities. Also it was designed by the government as a Protected Area of Natural and Cultural Heritage. UNESCO named Sharjah ‘The Cultural capital of the Arab World’ in 1998.[9] The seventeen museums in Sharjah played a critical role in obtaining the award.[10] The Sharjah area of Al Shuwaiheen, from 1993-1995, underwent heavy restoration, specifically of five architecturally historical buildings and a mosque. The area is considered a cultural center of the region, dating back to the end of the 18th century

  • Tentative List of UNESCO
  • Protection Figures

1.2. Cultural Landscape Category/Tipology

Organically evolved landscapes
Relict (or fossil) landscape
Associative cultural landscape
1

1.3. Description and Justification by Med-O-Med

Description

The central Sharjah region consists of three natural areas, these are: the section which lies to the west of the mountains comprised of desert dunes, and the eastern area which is a gravelly plain that extends up to Alhajar Mountain. The last section is the sedimentary maintains which lies in the middle of the area and extends in both north and south directions. The area is interesting for this inventory because of all the archaelogical remains that have been found there. Humans lived in this area by developing cultural and physiological behaviour adapted to the harsh climate, their vestiges date back to several hundreds of thousands of years. The site is proposed as a Mixed Landscape in the Tentative List of UNESCO, and Med-O-Med has considered appropiate to give another step considering this site as a Cultural Landscape taking into account its natural and cultural heritage, following the UNESCO criteria (UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Article 1, 1972, Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, 2008): -Its Natural Heritage Components: the majestic presence of the mountains characterizes the beauty of the territory. Naturally the region is characterized by the presence by a variety of perennial trees these like Algal, Samar and Sider in addition to the many annual plants that grow after the fall. Wilde animals like foxes live in the mountainous region while in the sandy areas live such creatures like hedgehogs and lizards. The region is also known as being a suitable shelter for many wild donkeys, in addition to a number of different kinds of emigrant birds. Sea fossils can be seen embedded within the layers of the sedimentary mountains in the region, these represent the natural history of the area. -Its Cultural Heritage Component: this region has outstanding universal value for the quality and density of archaeological remains that are found around the mountains, composing a special landscape were aesthetical and natural values are inseparably mixed with cultural values. The ancient remains represents the way of living of the people who inhabited the area since Neolithic period until the 4th millennium A.C., they are distributed mainly in 5 sites: the Site of Mleiha Mountain (a group of burials dating from the end of the 4th Century B.C.), the Site of Mleiha (fortified buildings and houses dating back from the end of the Iron Age till the 4th Century A.D.), the Site of Fayah Mountain (tombs dating back to the Neolithic Period and to the fourth millennium B.C.), the Site of Al-Buhais Mountain (it contains a large number of tombs dating from the 5th Millennium B.C to the first century A.D untill the 5th millennium B.C.), the Site of Emlaih Maintain (a group of a Bronze Age burials dated to the transitional period between the end of the 4th Millennium B.C and the 3rd millennium B.C.) For all these reasons, Med-O-Med, using the UNESCO categories of Cultural Landscapes, classifies The central Sharjah region as a Cultural Landscape in the second category: “relict landscapes” and, mainly, in the third category: “associative landscape “, as far as this territory is completly connected with its historical and cultural significance. The large diversity of types of archaeological remains together with the interaction of man with this exceptional environment make this site a unique example of an archaeological landscape found in a desert environment special with its geomorphology and geological formations.

2. NAME / LOCATION / ACCESSIBILITY

  • Current denomination The Cultural Landscape of the Central Region in the Emirate of Sharjah.
  • Current denomination The Cultural Landscape of the Central Region in the Emirate of Sharjah.
  • Original denomination Sharjah or Al-Shariqah (Arabic: الشارقة‎ Aš Šāriqah).
  • Popular denomination Sharjah (Arabic: الشارقة‎ Aš Šāriqah).
  • Address: Sharjah is one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It comprises the city of Sharjah (or Al-Shariqah) (the seat of the emirate), and other minor towns and enclaves such as Kalba, Dibba Al-Hisn and Khor Fakkan. The emirate is a constitutional monarchy of the Al Qasimi dynasty. It has been ruled by Sultan bin Mohamed Al-Qasimi since 1972. The sites of interest are located at the central region in the Emirate of Sharjah.
  • Geographical coordinates: Coordinates: N 25065072 – E 555053.8 The emirate covers 2,600 km² (1,003 mi²)
  • Area, boundaries and surroundings: Constituent emirate of the United Arab Emirates. Some of Al-Shariqah's (or Sharjah) interior boundaries are only presumptive, but its main portion is an irregularly shaped tract, oriented northwest-southeast, stretching about 60 miles (100 km) from the Persian Gulf (northwest) to the central inland region of the Oman promontory (southeast). Al-Shariqah also has three coastal enclaves on the eastern, or Gulf of Oman, side of the promontory, they are, from north to south, Diba (ownership of which is shared with Al-Fujayrah emirate and the sultanate of Oman), Khawr Fakkan, and Kalba. Because of the extreme political fragmentation in the region, Al-Shariqah, including its enclaves, has common boundaries with each of the six other emirates of the union, as well as with the sultanate of Oman.
  • Access and transport facilities: -The area forms a connecting link between many emirates through the routes connecting the south form Al-Ain towards the eastern region in the U.A.E. -Airports in Sharjah: Sharjah International Airport and Port Khalid. -Public Transport: The Sharjah Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) has started the public transport system in Sharjah from May 23, 2008 with 11 buses running on the first route, Route 14 from Sharjah International Airport to Al-Sharq terminal.
  • Events:

    Events in Sharjah city: -Expo Centre: Expo Centre under construction in 2001. The Expo Centre Sharjah in the city of Sharjah holds an annual book fair that is known throughout the region. It was founded, built and operated from 1976 to 1989 by Frederick Pittera, an international producer of Trade & Consumer Fairs. The event typically attracts hundreds of local and international publishers and thousands of titles. -Sharjah Light Festival. The Sharjah Light Festival (SCTDA) is a nightly art exhibit with local and international artists that takes place in public places.

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The Cultural Landscape of the Central Region in the Emirate of Sharjah (UAE)

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The Cultural Landscape of the Central Region in the Emirate of Sharjah (UAE) 25.065072, 55.505380 The Cultural Landscape of the Central Region in the Emirate of Sharjah (UAE) (Directions)

3. LEGAL ISSUES

Property regime
  • Public
  • Owner: Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi of the Supreme Council of the UAE and Sheikh of Sharjah.
  • Body responsible for the maintenance: Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi of the Supreme Council of the UAE and Sheikh of Sharjah.
  • Legal protection: The UAE is a signatory to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). These two conventions request countries to establish a system of protected areas to conserve biodiversity, develop guidelines for the selection, establish and manage protected areas and to promote the ecosystem, natural habitats and species conservation. As part of its commitment to the conservation of natural resources, ecosystems, wildlife and wildlife habitats, the Agency was given the responsibility of establishing and managing protected areas in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. By the end of 2008, the total area of the declared marine protected areas was 5019 Km² which represents 5% of the geographical area of the Emirate. Other potential sites for marine protection are estimated collectively at about 7% of the marine biome or 4% of the total area of the Emirate. Most of the archaelogical sites mentioned in this file are in need for special protection to guarantee their preservation and present authenticity for future generations. To this end, the region was designated as protected area of natural and cultural heritage, with marked boundaries. Documentation and archaeological surveys and studies were conducted covering the whole region, and detailed maps and records of the region exist.
  • Public or private organizations working in the site: Excavation work was carried out as part of a joint programme between the Directorate of Antiquities at the Culture and Information Department in Sharjah and the Institute of Prehistoric Studies and Research at the German University of Tubengin. Also, conservation work was carried out in a number of sites, and reversible protective structures were erected at various areas with minimal impact. The Sharjah Antiquities Law, as a too, ensures the full protection of the site and organization of archaeological work in the Emirate.

4. HISTORY

History of the Emirate: Human settlement in Sharjah has existed for over 5,000 years. Historically the emirate was one of the wealthiest towns in the region. Around 1727 the Al Qasimi clan took control of Sharjah and declared the polity independent. On 8 January 1820, Sheikh Sultan I bin Saqr Al Qasimi signed the General Maritime Treaty with Britain, accepting protectorate status in order to resist Ottoman domination. Like four of its neighbours, Ajman, Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah, and Umm al-Qaiwain, its position along trade routes to India made it important enough to be recognized as a salute state. On 2 December 1971, Sheikh Khalid III bin Muhammad Al Qasimi (Sheikh Khalid III) joined Sharjah to the United Arab Emirates. In 1972 the former ruler Sheikh Saqr staged a leftist coup and killed Khalid III. Saqr was unable to establish his rule and fled. Khalid III’s brother, Sultan bin Mohamed Al-Qasimi, an author and historian, came to power. In 1987 Sultan’s brother Abdulaziz staged a coup while Sultan was abroad. Huge state debt was stated as the reason. UAE President Zayed vehemently denounced the coup, and a deal was reached for Sultan to be restored, while Abdulaziz would become the Deputy Ruler. Sultan, however, dismissed Abdulaziz quite quickly. In 1999 the Crown Prince (Sultan’s eldest son) died of drug addiction while on vacation in their palace in England. Sultan made the decision to testify in front of a UK court. The new Crown Prince was appointed from a remote branch of the Family.

5. GENERAL DESCRIPTION

5.1. Natural heritage

  • Heritage: Rural
  • Geography: Arid Mountain
  • Site topography: Natural
  • Climate and environmental conditions: The climate of the UAE generally is hot and dry. The hottest months are July and August, when average maximum temperatures reach above 40 °C (104.0 °F) on the coastal plain. In the Al Hajar al Gharbi Mountains, temperatures are considerably cooler, a result of increased altitude. Average minimum temperatures in January and February are between 10 and 14 °C (50 and 57.2 °F). During the late summer months, a humid southeastern wind known as the sharqi makes the coastal region especially unpleasant. The average annual rainfall in the coastal area is fewer than 120 mm (4.7 in), but in some mountainous areas annual rainfall often reaches 350 mm (13.8 in). Rain in the coastal region falls in short, torrential bursts during the summer months, sometimes resulting in floods in ordinarily dry wadi beds. The region is prone to occasional, violent dust storms, which can severely reduce visibility. The Jebel Jais mountain cluster in Ras al Khaimah has experienced snow only twice since records began.
  • Geological and Geographical characteristics: Sharjah is the third largest emirate in the United Arab Emirates, and is the only one to have land on both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The emirate covers 2,590 km² (1,003 mi²) which is equivalent to 3.3 per cent of the UAE's total area, excluding the islands. It has a population of over 800,000 (2008). The emirate of Sharjah comprises the city of Sharjah (the seat of the emirate), and other minor towns and enclaves. The city of Sharjah, which overlooks the Persian Gulf, has a population of 519,000 (2003 census estimate). Sharjah also owns three enclaves on the east coast, bordering the Gulf of Oman. These are Kalba, Dibba Al-Hisn, and Khor Fakkan, which provides Sharjah with a major east coast port. In the Persian Gulf, the island of Sir Abu Nu’ayr belongs to Sharjah, and Abu Musa is claimed by UAE, but controlled by Iran. Sharjah has an exclave called Nahwa inside the Omani enclave of Madha which borders Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah and Sharjah. Sharjah also encompasses some important oasis areas, the most famous of which is the fertile Dhaid region, where a range of vegetables and fruits are cultivated. The central Sharjah region consists of three natural areas, these are: the section which lies to the west of the mountains comprised of desert dunes, and the eastern area which is a gravelly plain that extends up to Alhajar Mountain. The last section is the sedimentary maintains which lies in the middle of the area and extends in both north and south directions. The area is interesting for this inventory because of all the archaelogical remains that have been found there. Humans lived in this area by developing cultural and physiological behaviour adapted to the harsh climate, their vestiges date back to several hundreds of thousands of years. The area forms a connecting link between many emirates through the routes connecting the south form Al-Ain towards the eastern region in the U.A.E.
Vegetation:

Naturally the region is characterized by the presence by a variety of perennial trees these like Algal, Samar and Sider in addition to the many annual plants that grow after the fall.

Fauna:

Wilde animals like foxes live in the mountainous region while in the sandy areas live such creatures like hedgehogs and lizards. The region is also known as being a suitable shelter for many wild donkeys, in addition to a number of different kinds of emigrant birds.

Land uses and economical activities:
The animal bones from the site BHS18 (Al-Buhais Mountain) help to reconstruct the economy of its prehistoric inhabitants. Faunal remains were best preserved in the area of the stone midden. Among the animal bones are remains of the ancient local fauna, including the wild ass, wild dromedary, the Arabian oryx, gazelle and a wild goat. The occurence of wild camel and ass indicates the possibility of a later local domestication of these species in SE-Arabia. Nevertheless, domestic animals form the bulk of the faunal remains from the site. They attain almost 95% of the total by number and about 90% by weight. This means that most of the meat consumed at the site came from domestic livestock. Sheep and goats produced almost two thirds of the meat. They must have dominated the pastoral scenes to be imagined at the foot of Jebel Buhais during the 5th millenium BC. Cattle were kept in smaller numbers.
Agricultural issues or other traditional productions and their effect on the landscape:
There are over 50 different varieties of date palm in the country (some of them represented along the region), bearing many types and qualities of fruit at different times of the year. Here the natural maturing time for dates is in the summer between June and July. Not so many years ago this precious tree was vital for survival in a land of scarcity. The fruit provided a major natural source of highly nutritious food that could be eaten (fresh, dried or drunk as a juice) all year round and all parts of the tree were utilised in various ways.
Summary of Landscapes values and characteristics:

This region has outstanding universal value for the quality and density of archaeological remains that are found around the mountains, composing a special landscape were aesthetical and natural values are inseparably mixed with cultural values. The large diversity of types of archaeological remains together with the interaction of man with this exceptional environment make this site a unique example of an archaeological landscape found in a desert environment special with its geomorphology and geological formations.

5.2. Cultural Heritage

A) Related to current constructions, buildings and art pieces in general

Architectonical elements /Sculptures:

The city of Sharjah contains the main administrative and commercial centers, as well as a number of cultural institutions including several museums. Distinctive landmarks are the two major covered souks, reflecting Islamic design, a number of recreational areas and public parks such as Al Jazeirah Fun Park and Al Buheirah Corniche. The city is also notable for numerous mosques.

Art pieces, artesany, furniture and other elements:

Sharjah has maintained its cultural traditions that date back to the days of the desert tribes and the influences brought about by their migration. Such skills and trades have been handed down by word of mouth and are still evident for visitors to discover and appreciate. Pottery Jars Discovered at every archaeological dig are earthenware jars used for storing water and grain. Today, these are still fired in manmade wood-fuelled kilns. The various shapes and sizes of the water, grain and later oil jars, are displayed in the Sharjah Heritage Museum. New locally made pots are on sale in the Plant Souk in Al Jubail. Bridal Chests These old Arabic chests, which are hard to come by were made throughout the Gulf, characterized by the solid wood (usually rosewood) with inlaid brass decoration and often secret compartments. Smaller wooden chests, with carved decoration only and many compartments were made specifically for the pearling industry. Pearls would be graded and stored in the boxes according to size, along with scales and other pearling paraphernalia. Weaving and Embroidery In the past, girls in the family assisted in the making of their wardrobe, and traditional patterns of embroidery and dress style were handed down from mother to daughter. Arabian embroidery is a combination of rich and harmonious needlework on strong coloured textiles, characterised by a close worked, open chain stitch. Wrists, ankles and necklines are generally embroidered, often with fine gold and sliver thread, and sequins added for embellishment. The trim on the trouser is made from a narrow strip of foil to create a decorative edging. These traditional crafts are still popular pastimes amongst the national women. Daggers and Knives Even up to the middle of the last century men would complete their attire by wearing a broad, silver embroidered waist belt and Khanjar (dagger). The coastal dagger of the emirates (Khanjar Sahily) is made of silver and highly decorated. Quite often, the bishak (knife) was worn instead of the dagger, particularly in the eastern area of the UAE. The carved wooden scabbard with chased and stamped silver decoration is further embellished with silver on both the wooden hilt and the iron blade. Doors Traditional Arabic doors from the region are unique pieces of local heritage dating back 500 years. As well as being functional they are one of the most important forms of decorative expression to be found in the region’s forts and houses. The amount and quality of the carving depends on the price of the door and therefore the status of the household. Perfume and Incense These are an integral part of Arabic life for both men and women and are usually family run businesses. The three types of perfume and how they are mixed are a closely guarded secret. Attar is the oil based perfume, bukhoor is the fragrant burnt incense (formed by burning the wood chips) and the third is a wax sachet, which when burnt gives off a charcoal odour. You will find many perfume shops to explore in the area between Al Bourj Avenue and the Arts Area that sell the oils, the incense woods, perfume bottles and traditional burners made from clay, porcelain or silver. Henna Made from the leaves of the lawsonia inermis shrub, Henna has been used for centuries to enhance beauty in the Middle East and India. Traditionally, henna is used to colour hair and to decorate the palms of hands and the soles of feet, especially for weddings and Eid celebrations. The colouring, which also contains cooling properties, will remain on the skin for several weeks before fading. In addition to Indian and Arab beauty centres which provide this treatment, you can buy henna in Souk Al Bahar, just in front of the Arts Area. The use of the date palm: the long thin leaves were dried and then woven to make mats, baskets, brushes, bags and bowls and used as roof matting for insulation, the mid-rib was a vital component in the construction of the Shashah traditional fishing boat, the trunk was hollowed out to form a mortar with the rest carved for the pestle for crushing wheat. Locally woven mats, baskets, bags and bowls are on sale in Souk Al Arsah and Souk Al Bahar.

In the case of gardens: original and current style:
It is not the case.
B) Related to ancient remains

  • Archaeological components:

    There are several archaeological sites in the central region of Sharjah: 1) The Site of Mleiha Mountain A group of burials dating from the end of the 4th Century B.C. The burials extend on the eastern foots of the mountain. 2) The Site of Mleiha The site of Mleiha is situated about 20 km to the south of Al Dhaid which is located about 75 km southwest of Sharjah. The excavation area is situated 1 km to the west of the main road leading to the Al Madam plain and is parallel to the eastern side of the Faya mountain range. That is a site which was dated back from the end of the Iron Age till the 4th Century A.D. There are a number of fortified buildings like the Fort of Mleiha and the so-called castle building. Also a number of houses beside other burials and workshops for iron and bones manufacturing activities can be seen. A variety of objects were unearthed throughout the settlement. An important Bronze Age tomb dated back to the 3rd millennium B.C was also discovered. 3) The Site of Fayah Mountain This site is characterized by its various cultural periods and historic phases extending from Middle Paleolithic to the 18th century A.D. Also found are remains of a tomb dating back to the Neolithic Period as well as a number of tombs which belong to the fourth millennium B.C. Other tombs date to the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC were recently excavated. The Paleolithic site of Faya is considered to be one of outstanding significant areas of the site. Excavations revealed a number of stone tools dated by OSL to 125,000 years and this finding is older than what was known in the northern part of the Arabian peninsula by 50,000 years. As far as Mleiha site is concerned, this archaeological area is exceptional as it is distinguished by a civilization which extended from the third century B.C. up to the 4th Century A.D. In fact, two types of writings were discovered and practiced at the site at the same time. These are Al-Musnad and the Aramaic calligraphy. Also coinage was known in this area and type coins of Mleiha were minted in the site as evidenced by the discovery of coin molds. In addition, Al-Buhais Mountain is a unique area significant due to its archaeological sites and burial typologies and discoveries ranging from the Neolithic to pre-Islamic eras. 4) The Site of Al-Buhais Mountain. This site is one of the most important sites in the Arabian Peninsula. It contains a large number of tombs dating from the 5th Millennium B.C to the first century A.D Of special interest is the site No. 18 which dates to the beginning of the 5th millennium BC. The excavations revealed a mass grave containing around 1000 human skeletons beside traces of seasonal settlement. The study of bones has shown that the inhabitants of the region mobile herders moved between the coast and the mountain. They kept domesticated animals and practiced medical surgeries. On the whole, a significant amount of evidence extracted from the archaeological and environmental findings at al-Buhais has advanced our understanding of the complex system of human ingenuity interacting with natural resources, climatic conditions and a network of environmental advantages and constraints. At the present state of our knowledge the fossil spring near the site seems to be the prime reason for the site’s existence at this spot. Its position close to Wadi Yudayyah is another determining factor for its location, if our assumption is correct that the inhabitants of BHS 18 were pastoral nomads moving with their herds from the Gulf coast to the Hajar Mountains. In this case, the Neolithic shell middens in Sharjah City and near the Ajman and Hamriya lagoons, which surround the mouth of Wadi Yudaida, would probably have been the coastal sites of this nomadic group. The area around BHS 18 is well suited for a prolonged stay after a strenuous crossing of the sands, which would have taken at least two or three days without much water and pasture. From the Buhais area, the human groups may have continued their wanderings across the Inland Basin in a southeasterly direction, reaching the Hatta Gap in the Hajar Mountains, which would have allowed easy passage to the eastern coast or access to the longitudinal intra-mountain depressions farther south, and to the higher elevations of this landscape as well. The transhumance described above and in this volume may well have occurred in early spring, as indicated by the evidence provided by the faunal remains from BHS 18. Strangely, there is no evidence yet for an autumn occupation at the site. According to the model developed here, the Buhais area would also have been passed on the way back to the coast. If this assumption is correct, it would mean that no animals were killed at BHS 18, at least not in the area of the stone midden where the evidence was uncovered. As this midden seems to have been connected with funeral rites, and these in turn may have had a seasonal cycle as well, different forms of deposition of animal bone remains might be seen as a possible explanation for the lack of seasonal evidence for the postulated autumn-stay of the pastoral nomads at al-Buhais. Future research on molecular information in human and animal bone and teeth may improve our capability of reading and interpreting the environmental evidence in order to advance our understanding of the early history of this area. 5) The Site of Emlaih Maintain This site comprises a group of a Bronze Age burials dated to the transitional period between the end of the 4th Millennium B.C and the 3rd millennium B.C. A nearby site called Nad Al Thamam was also discovered in a dune area. A number of stone implements date to the 5th millennium B.C. were found.

  • Historical routes:

    The road that crossed the region was used in the past by caravans loaded with trading items from the coasts of the northern emirates to Al Batinah region in the Sultanate of Oman.

  • Traces in the environment of human activity: All the ancient remain found in the region.
C) Related to intangible, social and spiritual values

  • Population, ethnic groups: The Emirate and has a population of over 800,000 (2008).
  • Languages and dialects: Arabic
  • Lifestyle, believing, cults, traditional rites: The ancient remains found in the area show the way of living (gastronomy, hunting, agriculture...), the traditional rites (burial cults, for examples), etc, of its inhabitants since Neolithic Period.

5.3. Quality

Condition: environmental/ cultural heritage degradation:
Most of the archaelogical sites are in need for special protection to guarantee their preservation and present authenticity for future generations. Conservation work was carried out in a number of sites, and reversible protective structures were erected at various areas with minimal impact.
Quality of the night sky, light pollution and possibility to observe the stars:
Total silence and solitude, clean air, total possibility to observe the stars and the magic of the desert.
Perspectives/Views/ Points of interest/Setting:

-All the achaeological sites described in this file and its mountainous landscape. -The capital of Sharjah, its mosques and museums.

6. VALUES

Tangible

  • Aesthetic
  • Archaeological
  • Geological/Geographical
The main tangible values of the central region of Sharjah are: -Aesthetic: The majestic presence of the mountains characterizes the beauty of the territory. -Archaeological: This region has outstanding universal value for the quality and density of archaeological remains that are found around the mountains: the Site of Mleiha Mountain (4th Century B.C.), the Site of Mleiha (from the end of the Iron Age till the 4th Century A.D.), the Site of Fayah Mountain (to the Neolithic Period and to the fourth millennium B.C.), the Site of Al-Buhais Mountain (from the 5th Millennium B.C to the first century A.D untill the 5th millennium B.C.), the Site of Emlaih Maintain (4th Millennium B.C and the 3rd millennium B.C.) -Geological/Zoological: Sea fossils can be seen embedded within the layers of the sedimentary mountains in the region, these represent the natural history of the area. The mollusc species list shows that gastropods are very dominant. The important species are Ancilla cf.farsiana, Engina mendicaria, Polinices mammilla, Anachis fauroti, an unidentified species of the Marginellidae family, and Planaxis niger. Bivalves are represented by some Venerids. There are also an important number of pearls. Interestingly, there is a concentration on relatively few species. Ancilla alone constitutes 75% of all molluscs.

Intangible

  • Historical
The main intangible value of the central region of Sharjah is its historical significance. The archaelogical remains (houses, fortresses, tools, burials, bones, etc.) found in the site are a precious testimony of the human being history. Sharjah has always been a pioneer in culture and in education, that way was considered, by UNESCO (1998) as 'The Cultural capital of the Arab World'. The seventeen museums in Sharjah played a critical role in obtaining the award.His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi has transformed Sharjah into a modern oasis of social and intellectual development by opening the doors of culture, learning and literature to all who wish to learn. In addition to the museums, there are numerous research centers, universities, theatres, and other cultural centres in the city.
Authenticity:
The richness of the cultural heritage of archaeological vestiges, together with the natural diversity of the ecosystem, fully reflect Outstanding Universal Value. It is vulnerable to deterioration caused by climatic phenomena, and to damage caused by visitors. Most of above mentioned areas are intact and located away from cities. They are in need for special protection to guarantee their preservation and present authenticity for future generations. Various elements of the sites can be compared with other similar features found in the Arabian Peninsula. The Mleiha fort can be compared with the fort discovered at Feilaka in Kuwait, however, the Mleiha Fort with its eight square towers is distinguished by having only one entrance on its eastern side and its building materials made of mud bricks. The inscriptions, especially the funeral writings, on tombstones seem to be similar to those which were found at Al-Hasa in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, at Mleiha site funeral writings consist of only two words: soul and grave. Moreover, the decorations found in the burials at Mleiha were almost like those found decorating Saleh burials. The same decorations were also found at Al Betra in the region of Ras Suleiman. The most characterizing feature was that Mleiha burials were built of bricks and decorated with plaster. The graveyards found at Emailh mountain are somehow similar to those found in Al-Ain site known as Hafit burials, but the burials at Emailh are thought to be transitional between the Hafit phase and Um Al-Nar phase, hence their outstanding significance.
Universality:
***Med-O-Med subscribes to UNESCO criteria (Tentative List (iii)(iv)(vii) for the central region of Sharjah: The Paleolithic site of Faya is considered to be one of outstanding significant areas of the site. Excavations revealed a number of stone tools dated by OSL to 125,000 years and this finding is older than what was known in the northern part of the Arabian peninsula by 50,000 years. As far as Mleiha site is concerned, this archaeological area is exceptional as it is distinguished by a civilization which extended from the third century B.C. up to the 4th Century A.D. In fact, two types of writings were discovered and practiced at the site at the same time. These are Al-Musnad and the Aramaic calligraphy. Also coinage was known in this area and type coins of Mleiha were minted in the site as evidenced by the discovery of coin molds. In addition, Al-Buhais Mountain is a unique area significant due to its archaeological sites and burial typologies and discoveries ranging from the Neolithic to pre-Islamic eras. Criteria: (iii) The archaeological sites of the Central Region in Sharjah reveal the evolution of various life's periods in the area which started since the Paleolithic period and continued up to modern times. The area is testimony to various cultural periods and diversity in the burial patterns and traditions. (iv) The Fayah mountain has a unique location and is of outstanding significance in the history of mankind, as archaeological evidence has proven the migration of the Homosapiens from Africa and their passing through the region crossing to Iran and India then reaching the Far East. The site also illustrates the human interaction with the environment representative of cultural practices and reburials which organically evolved and now includes both fossils and continuing interaction with the landscape throughout history. (vii) The central region of Sharjah is uniquely characterized by a diversified geological nature. It was a very important area illustrating the formation of land and varied geomorphologic traits of the region's physical geography.
Values linked to the Islamic culture and civilisation:
-Archaeological/Historical/Ethnological: all the ancient remains found in this region represent the way of living of its ancestors, showing rites, customs, and beliefs linked to the Islamic civilization.The archaelogical remains (houses, fortresses, tools, burials, bones, etc.) found in the site are a precious testimony of the human being history. -Architectonical: The city of Sharjah reflects the Islamic design in its mosques and gardens.

7. ENCLOSURES

Bibliography:

http://www.archaeologymuseum.ae/doc/pdfs/Jasim%202001%20AAE%2012%20Mleiha%20excavations.pdf http://www.timeoutdubai.com/knowledge/news/8470-ancient-ruins-found-in-sharjah http://cet.uaeu.ac.ae/cgi-bin/ImageFolio42/imagefolio.cgi?img=0&search=Al%20Fayah%20Mountain&cat=all&bool=phrase http://arheologija.ff.uni-lj.si/documenta/pdf35/deBeauclair35.pdf http://www.geo.uni-tuebingen.de/arbeitsgruppen/urgeschichte-und-naturwissenschaftliche-archaeologie/grabungen/vae/al-buhais-18.html http://portal.shjmun.gov.ae/ar/Pages/default.aspx http://www.sharjahtourism.ae/en/heritage/culture http://www.sdci.gov.ae/english/index1.html https://www.ead.ae/en/portal/marine.protected.area.aspx http://www.cbd.int/countries/?country=ae http://www.moew.gov.ae http://www.mbzspeciesconservation.org http://www.parks.it/world/AE/Eindex.html -Beauclair, R. (2008). Funerary rites in a Neolithic nomad community in Southeastern Arabia> the case of al-Buhais 18. Documenta Praehistorica XXXV. Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelalters, Universität Tübingen -Hughes, R. H and Hughes, J.S. (1992). A Directory of African Wetlands. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambrigde, UK, UNEP, Nairobi, Kenia/ WCMC, Cambridge, UK, xxxiv+820 pp., 48 maps. -Sabah, A.J. (1995). Excavations at Mleiha 1993–94. Sharjah Archaeological Museum, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. -UNESCO. (2001). Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. World Heritage Committee. 25 session. Helsinki, Finland. -UNESCO. (2002). Cultural Landscapes: the Challenges of Conservation. Associated Workshops, World Heritage. Ferrara , Italy.

Practical Information:
-American University of Sharjah: +97165585000 +97165585099 -Department of Culture and Information: +97165671116 +97165663360 -Environment & Protected Areas Authority: +97165311501 +97165311419 -Expo Centre Sharjah: +97165770000 +97165770111 -Higher Colleges of Technology: • Sharjah Men's College: +97165585222 +97165585252 • Sharjah Women's College: +97165585333 +97165585353 -Ministry of Education: +97165723082 +97165725866 -Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services: +97165660667 +97165664461 -Sharjah Museums Department: +97165566002 +97165566003

Compiler Data: Sara Martínez Frías.