Exhibition of olden day lifestyle attracts hundreds of visitors to Global Village
DUBAI, 20th December 2017: The Heritage Village organized for the fourth consecutive year by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) at Global Village, attracts hundreds of visitors from around the world since the commencement of Global Village’s 22nd season last month.
Every evening, the Heritage Village comes alive in a show of traditional Emirati culture and hospitality in an attractively unusual atmosphere where the lifestyle of the past could be experienced.
The organizers HHC have laid out the village in a manner that reflects the culture and heritage of the UAE. A stroll around the Heritage Village takes you back in time to an era when lifestyles were not so extravagant, barter trading existed and houses were built to weather the changing climatic conditions.
Nonetheless, it contains all the ingredients of a modern day place where the basic needs of people are found. There is a coffee shop, grocery shop, studio, camel grazing pen, water wells, trees and farmlands apart from Bedouin tents and solid houses built of stone.
There was brisk trade at the coffee shop or Dukhaan with a menu card too available selling chickpeas and beans among other food items. At the Marine House built of palm fronds, spices and other household items are available. Traditional clothing from which Emirati garb evolved are also on display in the studio.
In addition there is a Majlis or meeting place situated on an elevated platform – like in the past, alongside a children’s play area with customary swings. As dusk falls on the village, fire crackles as logs are burnt to reflect how people kept themselves warm in the desert with their favourite bird of prey, the falcon, keeping watch.
Another unique attraction is Sadou, the traditional Bedouin weaving using a floor loom. Using wool from camels and goats, which they yarned themselves, women used to make carpets, saddlebags and tent-houses that they mostly used for themselves or sometimes traded.
The contrasting features of stone houses which look similar but were built to withstand the extreme weather conditions during summer and winter seasons is a fascinating example of how architecture developed through the years.
“Stone houses still exist in Jebel Jais along the chain of mountains from Ras Al Khaimah all the way to Hormuz,” explained Ahmad Al Shehhi welcoming visitors with Arabic hospitality of dates and qahwa.
The summer house is different from winter houses, he said.
“There is no mud between stones in summer houses. All these little holes let the summer breeze come in. Dry tree leaves are laid on the roof of the stone house to absorb heat,” he said.
Stone houses built for winter, in contrast, is layered with mud to keep the home air tight except for a small window for ventilation.
Interestingly, these houses are virtually built almost 3 meters - underground with a small door at the entrance taking you down to a semi- basement structure which shelters the inhabitants from the freezing cold.
“It is very cold in mountainous areas during winter, but you don’t feel it inside these stone houses. It is rather warm inside,” said Ahmed Al Shehhi.
However, the fireplace inside is common in all houses while summer or winter houses are built side by side or separately.
A kitchen which also serves as a warehouse to stock food is visible.
One of the best trees called Samrah is available in Ras Al Khaimah. It serves multiple purposes such as for firewood, leaves for goats to feed, in addition to being the right tree for bee hives.
The unique concept of collective farming and barter deals where the yield is shared between the people lived in harmony is also explained.
It is fascinating to behold and reflect on life in olden days especially since it has been woven into the culture of a nation proud of its rich Emirati heritage.
Ms. Hind Bin Demaithan Al Qemzi, Director of Events at HHC, said that the Heritage Village represents an open museum about the old housing models of the Emirate, relating to an era steeped in history of people who weathered the sands of time.
She said: 'HHC is keen to preserve the local culture and display it to the public in the form of an open museum. For, museums around the world play a pivotal role in raising awareness about the culture of countries, history and attracts visitors of all ages. The Center has organized the Heritage Village without compromising details that reflects the same atmosphere as in the past.'
She explained that the materials and tools used to recreate traditional houses were constructed in the same manner like in the past, in cooperation with specialized companies in the industry of building historical models.
On a tour of the Heritage Village, the visitor also finds:
This building is named as such because it is built from stone and has a hollow interior. This architecture allows the natural air circulation, making these kinds of homes ideal during summer. They were typically built near mountainous areas. As stone does not absorb heat like other buildings materials, the interior stayed naturally cooler. Walls had multiple small opening to allow for ventilation and the roof was made of 'Asbak' tree branches.
These homes are located closer to coast and were used during winter seasons. Cone-shaped, these structures are built from palm fronds, and resemble tents. Tall poles referred to in the Emirati dialect as 'yadu', that are dug into the soil to support the fronds, forming the kirin tent walls. The supporting poles came from precious palm tree trunks and the tent could only be accessed from the front, with the entrance also fashioned from palm leaves, known as 'arish'.
Bait Al Sha'ar
Is the house of the Bedouin, made from sheep's wool. It is a shelter, where the Bedouin relaxes from the harsh life. The size of the house and its content of tools reflect the status of the owner in the Bedouin community.
Steam: Is the store or warehouse used to store luggage in the house is also used for the needs of the inhabitants.