Dubai: Stone village in Hatta features miniatures of famous UAE landmarks
"Each artwork here has a message or story behind it," says the owner.
Tucked in the heart of Dubai’s rising tourism spot Hatta is a village of stories — told in the form of rocks and stones.
Hatta is fast evolving from being a rustic hidden gem in a city of skyscrapers to a go-to spot for weekend getaways. And with the announcement of six new projects on Saturday, the Hatta experience is bound to get better.
Explorers, however, don’t have to wait for the upcoming cable cars and hiking trails to unearth more of the mountain’s treasures — because just a few minutes from its famous dam, there’s an idyllic village that houses the Emirati story.
The Stone Village is certainly a visual treat, with colourful stones clumped together to create pathways and homes, structures and sculptures. Its sprawling recreational area can be a pit stop for bikers and hikers but definitely the perfect spot for families with kids raring to run around.
For Retired Brigadier Ali Al Sayed Ibrahim, however, the village is more than an attraction. It is a home of memories.
Every stone structure is an artwork, he said, and there’s a story behind each of them.
“One masterpiece depicted the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the former Ruler of Dubai, the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, embracing each other in 1968 ahead of the Union of the Emirates,” said Al Sayed, the former director-general of Dubai Civil Defence.
“Other artworks reflect wisdom. A few of my memories are also documented in the form of structures.”
One particular stone work — scuplted in the shape of a door — speaks of an Arabic metaphor of “closing the door that allows wind into your house”. This is an expression used to overcome a problem or prevent potential trouble. If, for example, a job is making a friend unhappy, you can advise him to find another opportunity.
Al Sayed designed all the stone artworks in the village, a hobby that eventually became a passion after his first visit to Hatta in 1974.
“I fell in love with this place because of its pleasant weather. Its rocks and hills gave birth to an idea. I started working on the concept in the early 1990s and it has materialised now,” he added.
Visitors to his village are greeted with eye-catching miniatures of the UAE’s landmark monuments.
From the coffee pot roundabout of Fujairah to a traditional watch tower, houses, wind tower, canon, dhow, and a fort — everything has a ring of nostalgia around it.
It takes the visitor back into the past and gives a glimpse of the way the Arabs lived in early times.
“This stone village is sculpted out of my memory, imagination, and literature,” the retired brigadier said.
Marbles, granites, limestones and many other types of stones of various colours, shapes and sizes were imported for the project.
“The beauty of an artwork lies in matching up the perfect stones, which sometimes have to be brought from other countries,” he explained.
Al Sayed believes Hatta has a lot of potential to beckon tourists with its spectacular landscapes and pleasant weather. So, soon, he plans to build a health club, a meditation and yoga centre at the place.
Having observed Hatta since his early days, Al Sayed underlined that it is important to launch a tree-planting drive in the mountains to attract rain in the region.
“Thick layers of clouds from the Indian oceans travel towards Hatta but when it reaches near the hills, it elevates to a much higher altitude due to the heat from the mountains. In order to expect rain from those clouds, we must plant trees on these mountains, that will make it abundant with vegetation.”
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