Sheikh Hamdan
Sheikh Hamdan posted a throwback picture of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, founder of Dubai, next to a canon side by side with a picture of himself in the same spot. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: Dubai is undertaking a new renovation project, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, announced on Wednesday.

He tweeted about the new initiative that would renovate Al Fahidi Fort, home to the Dubai Museum.

The Dubai Fort is situated on the south side of Dubai Creek, in the Al Souk Al Kabir area. It dates back to 1787.

In his tweet announcing the project, Sheikh Hamdan posted a throwback picture of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, founder of Dubai, next to a canon side by side with a picture of himself in the same spot. The photos are monochromatic.

Sheikh Hamdan added that Al Fahidi Fort, which is over 200 years old, is a historical witness to the renaissance of Dubai and its development and its transformation into a model for modern, developed and rich cities. "Our historical assets are our treasures, and we must continue to protect and preserve them for future generations," he said.

The move to renovate the old structure is in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to preserve heritage buildings.

Commenting on the rehabilitation project, Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture, said: “Al Fahidi Fort highlights our rich heritage and is a prominent monument that reflects our cultural identity and values. Today, this historical landmark is gaining huge importance as one of the most attractive cultural destinations in the emirate. This monument also holds a prominent place on the cultural tourism map, both locally and internationally, serving as a destination for visitors and tourists from abroad.”

Sheikha Latifa added: “The rehabilitation project aims to take visitors on a journey that gives them a deeper understanding of Emirati history and culture and provide them a unique experience at this landmark site, as part of Dubai’s aspirations to promote greater awareness of its distinctive identity, heritage and traditions.

Legacy of a leader

The Al Fahidi Fort when it was first made served as the headquarters for the Ruler of the emirate. It was restored during the reign of the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. In 1971, the year when the UAE was founded, Al Fahidi Fort was officially inaugurated as the Dubai Museum and began showcasing the history and heritage of the emirate of Dubai.

In 1995, the second section of the museum located under the fort was opened, which contains exhibits and collections from the period before the discovery of oil as well as antiquities that were found in Dubai’s archaeological sites.

Popular spot

Al Fahidi Fort welcomed around 1.5 million visitors in 2019, bringing the total number of visitors to the museum since its inauguration to almost 17 million visitors from across the world.

The rehabilitation project of Al Fahidi Fort comes as part of the second phase of the redevelopment and revitalization of the Dubai Historical District, a joint project between the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, Dubai Municipality and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, which aims to preserve the emirate’s rich history and heritage and situate the district as vibrant cultural hub for visitors.

As part of the rehabilitation plan, Dubai Culture has announced that Al Fahidi Fort will be temporarily closed due to the renovation work.