UAE to highlight rich culture and history for World Heritage Day

From cultural festivals to its Unesco World Heritage site, the country celebrates its past and present in equal measure

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The UAE will mark World Heritage Day on Saturday, using the occasion to reflect on its rich cultural assets and recent history.

The country's buildings, culture and people are celebrated in daily life and during festivals throughout the year.

World Heritage Day - also known as International Day For Monuments and Sites - was first proposed by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and approved by global heritage body Unesco in 1982.

Each year, it puts the spotlight on the diversity of humans' cultural heritage - and the need to protect and conserve it.

The UAE boasts one Unesco World Heritage Site, the oases of Al Ain, and last year its date palm culture and associated traditions were added to the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Last month, Dubai's authorities began a project to preserve and document some of the city's modernist landmarks built in the 1960s to 1980s.

Aside from its own assets, country has helped to preserve world heritage monuments and protect them from destruction, especially those not included in world heritage lists, state news agency Wam noted on Friday.

Among the most prominent is the Dome of the Rock, the Umar ibn Al-Khattab Mosque, (Mosque of Umar), the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Great Mosque of al-Nuri and its iconic leaning minaret.

Others include the Clock Church and Al Tahira Church in the Iraqi city of Mosul, as well as the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Theatre, formerly the Château de Fontainebleau’s historic Imperial Theatre, the Museum of Islamic Art in Egypt, the McMillan Memorial Library, Nairobi, and Nuzul Al Salam in the Bahraini city of Muharraq.

The UAE views these historic monuments as global human heritage that could be damaged or lost without special efforts to protect them.

In recognition of efforts, the Emirates last year obtained permanent membership on the Council of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, ICCROM.

The UAE is the only country apart from Italy to have permanent membership.

The move will enable the UAE to fully participate in various working groups formed by the council.

UAE's rich date palm culture - in pictures