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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - A general view of the Souq Al Shanasiyah in Sharjah.
This historical refurbishment project melds traditional Arabian ambience with modern luxury as it aims to restore the area based on the original 1950s blueprint to give us an inkling of what Sharjah was like more than half a century ago.
Although on the face of it, the Heart of Sharjah project is making a connection with its glorious past, it is also being designed as the epicentre of the present and the future, as the project also focuses on improving and enhancing what will work 50 years from now.
Nowhere is this more evident than Souq Al Shanasiyah – a vital Souq in the Heart of Sharjah, where an eclectic mix of retail options, art galleries, museums, a boutique hotel, and traditional and contemporary markets, are revitalising the heritage area into a buzzing marketplace, pulsating with a vibrant energy as it did decades ago.
In this seemingly tranquil setting, an innovative, entrepreneurial ecosystem is slowly emerging as young business-minded men and women are flocking here to kickstart their entrepreneurial journey.
“There is no denying that Souq Al Shanasiyah in the Heart of Sharjah evokes a hint of nostalgia of the past,” says Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, owner of Ratios Coffee, a specialty coffee outlet which is present at Heart of Sharjah since 2015.
“Its historical character, the serene ambience and majestic views of the ocean front, will forever give us a sense of attachment for our links to this place run deep.”
“Yet, despite its roots in the past, Heart of Sharjah is also a destination looking to the future,” he adds. “The management has skillfully juxtaposed the old with the new; and their constant support and guidance right from the planning stages has helped create an environment conducive for startups. Through sharing of stories and memories, timely mentorship, and promoting the outlets here in numerous media, the management team have played a stellar role in attracting young entrepreneurs to the site.”
“Heart of Sharjah embodies our history and identity, but its developers also foresaw its tremendous economic and social potential,” adds Al Qassimi. “This is why there is a growing young entrepreneurial community within Souq Al Shanasiyah today. The heritage component has only increased the intrinsic economic value of the Heart of Sharjah, and its conservation will benefit generations to come.”
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