Sharjah // A stunning light show focusing on the UAE's seafaring heritage entertained crowds at last night's launch of the third annual Sharjah Light Festival.
Pearl diving and fishing are the themes of this year's event.
Floats of a near life-sized humpback whale and two giant jellyfish swam through the air in front of Al Qasba building as traditional Emirati sea shanties played in the background. Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, Ruler of Sharjah, formally opened the Festival at Al Qasba by using a tablet computer to start the 13-minute light show.
It celebrated the maritime heritage of the Emiratis, from pearl diving to shipping and industry.
Over the next nine days, until February 15, 14 urban sites across the emirate will be lit up in a colourful spectrum.
The festival is adding two locations on the east coast for this year - the historical Omar bin Al Khattab mosque in Khorfakkan and Sharjah University's campus in Kalba.
Hosted and organised by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), the festival is one of the most prestigious events to take place in the emirate.
A selection of artists and professionals will create several new shows this year, using the facade of famous landmarks and monuments to bring out the aesthetic beauty of Sharjah's architectural marvels, tourist attractions and art and culture.
"Through the Sharjah Light Festival that has been inspired by the unique heritage and grandeur of the 'emirate of monuments' which is Sharjah, we are seeking to highlight our civilisation, culture and rich diversity of our tourism," said Mohammed Ali Al Noman, chairman of the SCTDA.
"This tells the world the story of an emirate that is today recognised as the home of art and culture and which has earned itself a distinct place on the world tourism map.
"The latest feather in the emirate's cap is the recognition as the Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015."
At one point, the entire Al Qasba building began to sway, bringing to mind a ship travelling on an expansive sea.
"It was amazing," said Huda Taha, who was at the festival for the first time. "When the windows on the Qasba building were shuffled it looked so real, better than a 3D movie."
Show runs from 7pm to 11pm on weekdays and until midnight at the weekend.