Article in brief: The author talks about the importance of preserving UAE history.
On a large scaffolding under the hot summer sun, Pradeep and his co-workers were carrying out renovation works on a historical defense tower known locally as “Burj Alhilo”. The tower was part of a wall built in 1816 AD to protect the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah from foreign invasions. Large parts of the wall were destroyed during the British forces’ attack on the Emirate in 1819 AD.
While watching the workers, Pradeep noticed my presence and raised his hand to greet me. At that time, I was sure that he noticed that I was looking at the details of the renovation works and he probably thought I was from the local authorities.
Soon after, Pradeep came down and we started talking. I asked him how long the maintenance works would continue for. He responded that it would take another year to complete.
I proceeded to ask him why, and Pradeep replied that the detailed repair works take time and that is not an easy job. I was pleased with his answer, then asked him if he knew anything about the tower. The only things he knew about the tower was that it’s a historical building and that they only had architectural details based on old reports.
I thanked Pradeep for his time and applauded his and his colleagues’ work. However, I left the site wondering whether Pradeep will be able to properly restore this historical building. Each stone in that historical defense tower is valuable because it is part of our history. It has to be protected and maintained properly.
Burj Alhilo and many other historical buildings in the UAE are a representation of traditional architectural design. They form a part of the UAE culture. Given the fast pace of the UAE’s development, there is a strong need to preserve these buildings for future generations. Young UAE nationals need to understand that although the UAE is considered a young nation, it has ancient roots in history. Visitors to the UAE need to understand that behind the tall towers they see today, there is a rich culture which enabled the UAE people to develop their country.
As we are celebrating the UAE’s 43rd national day, let us work together to preserve our history.
Abdulla holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration. His abstract passion for history and literature with a hint of photography adds to his noble enduring quality. Abdulla enjoys visiting museums, art exhibitions and likes to spend his spare time in the outdoors. His column “Emirati Reflections” is a mixture of stories from the past and insights of the present, which blend together and formulate his understanding of the UAE’s culture.