|Source: Sharjah Museums Department. Sheikh Fahim with Khouri.|
Petra, Desert Wonder runs from November 23, 2016, to offering visitors a unique insight into the groundbreaking artistic and architectural heritage of the civilisation of the Arab Nabataeans and their ‘Rose City’.
The exhibition was officially inaugurated by Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations. It was attended by HE Jumaa Al Abbadi, Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the UAE, and HE Baraa Al Zoubi, General Consul of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the UAE, HE Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Department, Dr Munther Jamhawi, Director General of the Department of Antiquities in Jordan, and Samia Khouri, Director of Museums and Public Awareness in the Department of Antiquities in Jordan.
Visitors can explore the relationship and connections that linked Petra as a centre of trade with other settlements in the Arabian Peninsula, including Sharjah’s most significant archaeological site, Mleiha.
Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Department, said at the time of the launch: "From today, visitors will gain an understanding into one of the most important civilisations in the region and the groundbreaking artistic and architectural heritage integral to their capital.
“Sharjah Museums Department plays a vital role as a vehicle for the promotion of cross-cultural exchange. Exhibiting such a wealth of pieces in this region for the first time helps to greatly expand knowledge of this great city, which in turn preserves the cultural heritage of a major Arab civilisation.”
Petra, Desert Wonder presents a unique collection of rare archaeological finds from the Nabataean city of Petra, which is hidden among steep red rocks of sandstone in the southern Jordan, and also showcases examples of Nabataean achievements in the fields of industry, engineering and art. From 300 BC to 106 AD, Petra was the capital of a wealthy and powerful kingdom, as well as a political and economic metropolis.
The artefacts chosen for the exhibition highlight that the history and culture of the Nabataean kingdom was linked with Mleiha in Sharjah via established trade routes. Thanks to its strategic location, the Petra dominated trade links affiliated with the passage of caravans transporting incense, frankincense and spices. Today, the city stands out as the only Arab archaeological site among the ‘new wonders of the world’, recognised internationally as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985.
“This exhibition is part of Sharjah Museums Department’s long-term objective to shed light on the history of the UAE and the Arab world,” said Ataya. “It also aims to highlight the ties linking local population centers in the UAE and settlements in the historical city of Petra. Such urban hubs were crucial in enriching human civilisation in ancient times."