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Sharjah Clock Tower: An ode to the past

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One of the iconic landmarks in the emirate, the Sharjah Clock Tower Square has always been a major business hub and hangout hotspot of residents. A simple glance can help you count the numerous retail outlets there - selling popular Indian sarees and shoes, Pakistani and Afghani products, Sudanese traditional dresses, not to mention the many optical shops. The square is also a major diversion for those driving to Ajman.

Text: Afkar Abdullah | Photos by M. Sajjad

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The tower has always been the best memory of Sharjah visitors and an important shopping hub from the 1960s. It was also a common gathering place as it was a distinguished landmark symbolising time and race of time towards progress and the advancement of society.

 

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The square was an open area in Al Zahra Street until the Sharjah Ruler ordered to turn it into a memorial. The square is currently undergoing renovation under the directives and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

 

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The square was an open area in Al Zahra Street until the Sharjah Ruler ordered to turn it into a memorial. The square is currently undergoing renovation under the directives and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

 

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Dimensions of the tower: In 2008, the Sharjah government assigned Spanish sculptor and architect, Carlos Marina, to carry out a restoration project to keep the spirit and look of the old clock square. The new memorial has an octagonal central beacon featuring Islamic arches, facing a clock in four corners. The beacon arches are made of marble and granite with hand-painted ceramic decoration.

 

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On the top of the monument, there is a smaller beacon containing a dome supported by bronze arches and columns. The dome itself is covered with golden coloured tiles. The clock, operated through a centralised electronic control at its base, is made of stainless steel and covered with brown granite measuring 2x2 metres, and each screen is 1.5 metres in diameter.

 

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The central monument, adorned by four petals, is centered in the middle of a circular fountain. The fountain consists of four flows that follow the petal line and four other vertical flows, intersecting it in 20 metres. Two fountains in the form of two floral vases are surrounded by the clock tower. The paintings are inspired by images of old and modern Sharjah.

 

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Residents cling on: Humaid bin Shaheen, who has been living in a building facing the Clock Tower for the past 25 years, said its the first-of-its-kind memorial in Sharjah.

 

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Awatif Mohamed, owner of a Sudanese textile and traditional costumes store, said the spot is well-known among UAE visitors. “Visiting this area is part of both shopping and leisure. People have been coming to this area from faraway places to shop for traditional goods here.” afkarali@khaleejtimes.com

 

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