In line with the Sultanate's celebrations of its 51st National Day, the exceptional Fatah Al Khair Centre project was inaugurated today under the patronage of His Excellency Dr. Yahya bin Badr Al Mawali- Governor of South Sharqiya. The inauguration ceremony was attended by higher dignitaries including His Excellency Ibrahim bin Said Al Kharusi- Undersecretary of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism- and Dr. Amor bin Nasser Al Matani- Oman LNG Development Foundation's CEO.
This ceremony comes in response to an agreement signed earlier between the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism and Oman LNG Development Foundation; covering a budget of 450,000 OMR. The Centre aims to provide an insight to Sur's rich maritime history and sailing heritage, aside from providing a cultural experience for visitors. Sur has always been a vital trading and commercial hub and played an essential role in the maritime trade in the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman. In addition, it sits at a strategic location linking the Arabian Peninsula with the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Southeast Asia. It goes without saying that Sur was the best base for this project.
The inauguration ceremony was marked with a welcoming remark followed by a word from His Excellency Ibrahim bin Said Al Kharusi. His Excellency shed light on the project's compliance with the Oman 2040 Vision's goal of preserving the Sultanate's ancient heritage and traditions. In addition, he highlighted the Ministry's tireless efforts of establishing museums to testify our ancient civilisation. Moreover, establishing such projects in Sur and South Sharqiya will achieve the Ministry's goals of building cultural centres and museums throughout the Sultanate. It is also an investment within the community as it facilitates an indirect mechanism towards creating job opportunities and boosting tourism.
His Excellency also added that the Centre's main ship -Fatah Al Khair- sailed to various destinations in the world and is a living proof of the Omani's trade, brilliance and creativity. The ship decked on different ports to deliver goods, knowledge and exchange cultures. This helped to shape Sur's identity of accepting different cultures and civilisations.
His excellency concluded his speech by thanking all the parties taking part in enabling the project's success, including the Oman LNG Development Foundation for its continuous support of this project in its different stages. Words of appreciation was also shared to the local Aruba Club as well as local Sheikhs and local notables of Sur.
From his end Dr. Amor bin Nasser Al Matani, CEO of Oman LNG's Development Foundation, expressed his gratitude to be able to work again alongside the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism to launch this cultural institute that expresses the successful collaboration between the two institutions to sustain the unique legacy of Sur. This also reflects the continuous support Oman LNG provides to the promising tourism sector in Oman, and to nourish tourism in South Al Sharqiya Governorate.
This museum will highlight Sur and its capabilities to be a tourist attraction, it will also record the region's rich history and legacy, and to create an educational environment for generations to come.
"Fatah Al Khair" Centre works as an educational environment for the visitors of Sur. It will present the city's maritime legacy, Al Aruba Club's possessions, and other vintage possessions that were donated by the people of Sur. The Centre has five main halls:
Hall (1): An introduction about Sur
Hall (2): Maritime legacy
Hall (3): The last "Ghanjah", type of a ship, in Oman
Hall (4): An extended culture
Hall (5): Sindbad's Adventures
More than 400 different pieces were restored and used to make ships in Sur. Other historical tools were also restored including; navigation tools, photos, books, written letters, household items, jewels and clothes. These were provided by the local Sur community.
The Centre's rather unique name is owed to the Ghanjah Ship that holds the same name. The Centre houses a showroom were information on the ship and its history is presented. The ship was built in 1951 and returned to Sur in 1993.