It is highly appropriate on the 40th National Day of the UAE that Fujairah, the emirate of roundabouts, is given a new roundabout with which to celebrate this significant day (2 December 2011) and to remind people of their cultural identity in the days to come.
The new Al Saif Roundabout has a fitting location standing at the gateway of the iconic Fujairah Fort that has become the site of the Al Saif (traditional sword) Championship for ‘The Crown Prince Award’. This is now in its second year and the sword dancing is taking place over six weeks on a larger arena and in association with many other cultural activities and displays in the Fujairah Heritage Village.
Ancient Art in Modern Championship
In its inaugural year in 2010, His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, developed a dream for transforming the ancient Emirati art of almzafin (sword dancing) into a modern competition. What started as a dream in its first year became the biggest and perhaps the most significant event in Fujairah’s calendar.
The Al Saif Championship and this traditional Emirati art attracted international recognition when two Guinness World Records were established on 26 November 2010—the largest youla dance (traditional Emirati dance) when 285 people danced on the sword arena and the highest throw of the saif (sword), when Hazaa Sulaiman Al Shehhi of Dibba, Fujairah, threw his sword 21.275 metres up into the air.
The new Al Saif Roundabout will bring many things to the mind of drivers and passengers as they move around this monument—a new championship that is reviving an ancient Emirati art, a new festival that is attracting huge crowds from Fujairah and the UAE and becoming a significant attraction for visiting tourists, some new world records that are drawing international recognition to Emirati culture and a new sense of patriotism and pride as Fujairah residents and visitors celebrate 40 years of UAE nationhood.
Al Saif Specifications
The newly erected sword might well attain another world record for being the longest traditional sword standing at 15 metres. It is made of stainless steel and is comprised of an 11.48 metre blade, a 2.82 metre decorated handle and a 0.69 metre base.
While the rest of the roundabout needed to wait for the sword to be erected before it could be finished, in the next few days there will be a marble pattern created surrounding the saif. Four paved paths will descend to the road and the outside wall will also be covered in marble. There will be four large areas of lawn, each possibly containing a colourful garden.
The giant saif is not too high to create safety problems for drivers craning their necks to see the sword’s tip and it is not too wide so as to obscure both the view of traffic and the Fujairah Fort.
Take a Look
Some photos of the lifting of the blade of the saif into the handle early on UAE 40th National Day (2 December 2011) are posted in this photo album.
Discover What Fujairah is about from its Roundabouts (Coffeepot Roundabout), FIF, 3 September 2010.
The Falcon Roundabout in Fujairah Reminds People of High Values, FIF, 31 October 2010.
Fishing Lures People to Fujairah and Still They’re Getting Hooked, FIF, 14 September 2010.
The Roundabout Architecture of Dibba-Fujairah, FIF Facebook, 19 December 2010.
The Perfume Roundabout (dressed in national colours), FIF Facebook, 25 November 2011.
More Fujairah news, information, resources and photos are posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.