For the dirham, a place of note

The Dh200 note bears images of the UAE Central Bank, the Sharia Court and Zayed Sports City.
Zayed Sports City Stadium's distinctive design. Fatima Al Marzouqi / The National
Zayed Sports City Stadium's distinctive design. Fatima Al Marzouqi / The National

To see the birthplace of the UAE dirham, look no further than the Dh200 note.

There, you will find an image of the UAE Central Bank building.

That is where, in 1973, the UAE Currency Board was established. Its purpose was to issue a national currency after the birth of the country in 1971. Before that, other currencies such as the Bahraini dinar and the Qatari and Dubai riyal were in use. The first UAE dirham went into circulation on May 19, 1973.

However, the Dh200 note did not follow until 1989.

To see where most marriage contracts in the capital are created and where lawsuits are settled, turn again to the Dh200 note. On the far right of the note's Arabic side, there is an image of the Sharia Court building, now known as the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.

Sergeant Hamid Al Ali, a traffic policeman, said the court building was an exciting place to be in his line of work.

"Everyone is in a hurry to finish their business, so they just throw their cars anywhere," he said.

The court's massive parking space is usually full of cars, some parked on the curbs and some extending to the street.

Sergeant Al Ali said he tried to be lenient if the cars were not blocking other vehicles or in the way of traffic.

Ahmad Shakir, the person in charge of the court's valet services, has to be similarly vigilant to ensure that cars parked under his watch are not damaged.

"With the influx of cars coming in every day, my main concern is that nothing gets scratched," he said.

The court building has come a long way since being established three decades ago. Its size has been increased from 18,000 square metres to 26,000 square metres and a dome has been added to connect all the court rooms under one indoor facility.

Other modifications have also been made to increase security and convenience for visitors.

Six entry gates have been replaced with one gate, more court rooms have been added, and some of the court rooms have been equipped with video conference devices. The devices allow hearings to take place without the need for inmates to leave their cells.

The building remains under construction. The final result is expected to occupy 107,000 square metres and consist of five towers, to represent the five pillars of Islam, and point in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca.

Even the emotional comfort of marriage applicants has been taken into account. A room decorated in the traditional Emirati style, containing a big tray of chocolate and coffee pots, is one of the most recently added facilities.

In addition to displaying images of the Central Bank, there is a sporty side to the bank note.

Directly above the image of the court building, there is an illustration of Zayed Sports City. The massive development contains fields for various sports and has hosted major events such as the Fifa Club World Cup.

Sarah Rahal, a 26-year-old architect from Lebanon, said the building had given her many happy memories.

"I attended my first live football match there and appeared on TV for the first time," she said.

She recalled attending the 2009 Club World Cup final between Barcelona and Estudiantes with her friend.

"First of all to our wisdom, me and my friend switched our seats in the red area, which is the best seating area, to blue ones with two guys we found on the bus just so we could be with our third friend.

"The event took me places. I felt like I was really in Barcelona attending a match, the stadium was huge and the crowd was very active.

"We even appeared on TV a couple of times while cheering and jumping."

Last week, we looked at the Al Fahidi Fort and the Dubai World Trade Centre on the Dh100 note. Next week, we will look at the falcon and the Jumeirah mosque on the Dh500.


Published: August 8, 2011 04:00 AM


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