The Quran Roundabout in Sharjah. Image Credit: Sharjah Media Council

Dubai: You must have manoeuvred your car hundreds of times on the Kuwait Roundabout and the Cultural Roundabout while on a shopping trip or going to work in Sharjah. But have you ever wondered why they are there and what they stand for?

Gulf News learned their interesting stories and how they came to be. They are not mere structures of concrete and sand, but monuments that speak of the country's rich history.

The Kuwait Roundabout

Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

It was built in the mid-1980s in recognition of Kuwait's contribution in building the emirate of Sharjah into what it is today.

As far back as the early 1950s, the government of Kuwait provided Sharjah with the means to build schools, hospitals, and various social institutions that are essential for communities.

According to documents obtained from the Department of Culture and Information, it was common for UAE nationals to send their children to Kuwait for studies as the country had a strong reputation of being advanced in the fields of education and culture.

As there were hardly any job opportunities in the UAE markets in that period, many UAE nationals went to Kuwait in search of jobs and to seek better career prospects.

The Kuwaiti Government also helped build the first radio station in the emirate, but that was closed down soon after the Federation was formed in 1971.

Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has written a book in commemoration of Kuwait's help in structuring the city, titled, The History of Kuwait: The Life and Death of Abdullah Sabbah.

But this is not the only roundabout in Sharjah with a rich history.

The Quran Roundabout


This roundabout also carries an interesting story. In 1987, the Government of Sharjah built the Cultural Palace and soon after, a large flame was lit on a roundabout. The roundabout was named Shula, which means 'flame'. However, the flame was short-lived as the public raised their concerns over the danger of the large flame placed in one of the busiest areas in Sharjah.

But there was public outcry

Officials said that as flame was connected to a main gas pipe. Everybody soon became concerned over the potential damage in the area in the event of an accident.

The flame was then taken down and replaced with a sculpture of the Quran.

The Quran was designed by a Spanish architect, who was also a close friend of Shaikh Dr Sultan.

Together, they decided how the monument should be constructed.

A verse of the Quran can still be seen engraved inside with gold plated calligraphy.

The name of the roundabout was also changed several times over the years, and has switched names from being the Book Roundabout to finally being named the Cultural Roundabout.

Despite the ongoing road projects in the area, the Quran has not been moved. It is instead carefully covered with plastic so as to keep it safe from the rubble and dust.

The Quran that stands at one of the main entrances of Sharjah will continue to stand tall for all to see. It will have a new home for itself once the underpass and road lanes are completed.