Sharjah Maritime Museum Embraces Al Khan’s Heritage

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Journalism student Jana Aljamal reports on a maritime museum that celebrates the traditions of Sharjah seafarers.

By Jana Aljamal 

SHARJAH, UAE—Sharjah Maritime Museum depicts Al Khan’s tradition in sailing, trading and fishing. 

The museum is built in a coastal area known as Al Khan. The area was historically inhabited with pearling and fishing communities that had a special connection with the sea. Today, the Maritime Museum aims to uphold the legacy of Al Khan’s communities by representing their maritime lives.

Since fishing was the primary source of nutrition, villagers developed an array of fishing technologies. For instance, the Shasha was a simple boat that local fishermen built for inshore fishing. The fishermen used long palm fronds and tied them together with a rope to create the boat. 

To widen their ventures, maritime communities developed sophisticated sails and ships. The lateen sail is a triangular-shaped sail, which allowed seafarers to control their ships against the wind. This innovation enabled Sharjah vessels to trade along the Gulf, Indian and African coasts. 

Sharjah resident Maisoon Abdulaal said, “The museum would really educate you on the types of ships they [the communities] used.”