A dazzling new cultural landmark paying tribute to rich Roman history is poised to propel Sharjah to a brighter future.
The spectacular Khor Fakkan amphitheatre – inspired by the grand design of the Roman Colosseum – has already wowed thousands of visitors since its official opening a week ago.
The stunning 17,650-square-metre open-air venue will be at the heart of efforts to transform the east coast enclave into a tourism hot spot.
The striking semicircular structure, with an imposing stone facade that includes 234 arches and 295 columns, was formally inaugurated on Monday by Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah.
More than 18,000 residents and tourists have already soaked up the atmosphere of the amphitheatre, which can host up to 3,600 spectators.
The screening of the film Khorfakkan, documenting the town's invasion by the Portuguese in the 1600s, was the highlight of five days of festivities held to celebrate the grand opening of the UAE's latest attraction.
The Ruler of Sharjah has led efforts to unlock the potential of Khor Fakkan as a magnet for tourism in recent years.
Last month he inspected the development of a new heritage area encompassing a canal, hotel and traditional souq.
Old markets have been restored, shops rejuvenated and people will soon be able to stay in boutique heritage accommodation in the town.
Popular Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi will headline the first concert at the amphitheatre on New Year's Eve.