Historic UAQ fort reopens for National Day
UMM AL QUWAIN // After nine years of renovation and maintenance work, Falaj Al Mualla Fort opened in Umm Al Quwain as part of National Day celebrations.
Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla, Ruler of UAQ, opened the building ahead of the holiday in the presence of Sheikh Rashid bin Saud Al Mualla, the Crown Prince of UAQ, at an opening attended by hundreds of Emiratis and expatriates.
The fort, one of the most important forts in the UAQ, was built in 1825 during the reign of Sheikh Abdullah bin Rashid the First, and it is surrounded by three towers that were constructed to defend and protect the border.
The Anitquities and Heritage Department in the emirate started the repairs on the historic landmark in July 2009. The fort now features a majlis and shops with traditional tailoring and embroidery, plants and desserts.
“We repaired the towers around the fort and the fort itself and added the Sheikh Saud Majlis and different shops,” said Alia Al Ghafli, head of the department and of the UAQ Centre for Antiquities.
Attendees watched national shows and took part in festivities. The wide, sandy yard of the fort was filled with girls wearing dresses with the colours of the national flag, their heads adorned in Tassah, while boys wore military uniforms.
Alia Mohammed Zayed, a 16-year-old school student, came from Al Dhaid with her friends to share the joy of the occasion with her compatriots.
“I am happy on this day and feel proud of what the UAE has achieved, and feel proud when I see an old traditional building was repaired, which will stay for the further generations,” Ms Zayed said.
Meanwhile, Nayea Rashid Al Ghafli came with his brother and friends to celebrate the special occasion with the ruler and citizens of his emirate.
“We are here today to celebrate the National Day with the presence of Sheikh Saud and to participate in the annual occasion, which is the union day – when all seven emirates united together,” the 29-year-old said. “This day is as Eid for us.”
The Emirati officer said he was extremely happy because he lived the atmosphere of past and current days of the UAE, and because of seeing a gathering of the UAE’s sons and daughters in the same time and place to celebrate.
Ali Al Ghafli, 45, said that his feeling at the fort opening was “indescribable”.
“I have nice memories in this place, where I used to come with my friends when we were kids to pray in its small mosque and to look at it when its archaeological condition was ancient,” said Mr Al Ghafli. “So I am proud of this place and the government that repaired it to be new.”