Sharjah Light Festival
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Transforming the iconic facades of the Emirate
Unknown to many travellers, Sharjah, the third largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) organises a remarkable light show that transforms the iconic facades of the Emirate using the best optical technology.
The theme of the ninth Sharjah Light Festival, held from February 6 to 16, was centred on Culture and Family. This year the festival, which has acquired a truly global appeal and sees the regular participation by numerous international artists in the domain of light, saw artists from nearly a dozen nations including France, Spain, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, and Pakistan.
Reflecting various aspects of Family & Culture such as harmony and connections, the creativity of the artists combines the use of computer software, advanced sound and light systems and of course, the beautiful architecture of Sharjah’s landmark buildings. There was also an impressive fireworks display on the Khalid Lagoon, mounted by an expert French team which has organised numerous prestigious fireworks display at Eiffel Tower in Paris and Burj Al Khalifa in Dubai to mark occasions like the New Year and Bastille Day.
The Sharjah Light Festival involved 17 famous landmarks this year, such as Sharjah City Municipality, Sharjah University City Campus Avenue, Masjid Al Noor and Sharjah Police Academy.
The shows promoted several aspects of Arab and Islamic culture that Sharjah is most famous for including Islamic architecture, environment and conservation, Arab civilisation and heritage, besides education and science.
Officials of Sharjah Tourism say that the festival is becoming increasingly popular within the Emirate as well as with the tourists. They say that the number of people visiting the light festival rose by 20 pc in 2019, hitting the 1.2 million mark as against one million the previous year.
“In terms of novelty, this year we had a fantastic laser technology show for the first time on one of the locations and we also organised a live show on Khalid Lagoon, with the fireworks lasting an hour everyday,’’ says Khalid Jasim Al Midday, chairman, Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority.
The closing ceremony was one of the highlights of the festival. It saw a 200 metres long parade magically leading to the Grand Finale on water. An aquatic muse, dressed in orange gown opened the dance sequence and soon a dozen glowing silhouettes emerged from a mysterious mist and followed her as a colony of servants. After them, came the fairy’s luggage, carried by giant floating horses and their rides, loaded with trunks and shimmering fabrics. It was a captivating show with mythic aquatic heroes, fire and petals swirling in the sky spreading sparkles.
“Being the third largest city in the UAE after Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Sharjah has its own identity and attractions for tourists. Half of the country museums are in Sharjah as are the mountains, deserts and archaeological and heritage sites. We also have a human presence here for over 125,000 years,’’ concludes Al Midday.
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates