For two years he traveled the country and photographed everything printed on the back of banknotes
Ever looked at a UAE banknote and wondered where it is? That’s exactly what happened to explorer Shihab Abdulla when he visited Sharjah’s Gold Souq, also known as the Central Market.
“When I stood in front of it, I realized that this is the same place on the Dh5 note,” he said. “So I took a note out of my wallet and took a picture. Then I got curious about where else it was on the other notes.”
This curiosity then snowballed into a passion project, with the Indian diaspora visiting 19 landmarks over two years. “When the new notes came out, I had done almost all the landmarks on the old notes,” he said. “During this period, I had some problems with my work. Amid all the challenges, this project was a comfort and it kept me going.”
The project took Shihab throughout the UAE, where he researched, tracked and photographed featured landmarks. During the course of the project, he said he faced some challenges.
“At the sharia court in Abu Dhabi, they refused to let me take pictures of the building because photography is not allowed there,” he said. “I then submitted a request with details of my project, showing all the photos from before. Finally, they allowed me.”
According to him, some of the other challenges included finding the right angle for the photo. “The photo of Dhayah Fort on the new Dh5 banknote was taken from a helicopter,” he said.
“Obviously, I didn’t have a helicopter. So I went to various locations around the fort to get the best shot. Of all the photos, I picked the one that most resembled the one on the banknote.”
Likewise, the photo on the Dh1,000 note was taken from the sea. “If you look closely, it’s a very close-up photo, taken from the ocean,” he said. “I headed to the side of the pier and took a photo near the mall. So even that shot wasn’t musically perfect.”
miles to go
Shihab is a passionate explorer who has traveled all corners of the country in search of hidden gems and exciting sights.
“Traveling is my hobby,” he said. “I have walked almost every mountain road in this country. It is my dream to visit at least one country every year, but due to various reasons, I have never been able to achieve it. I also want to go to the UAE to do bungee jumping and skydiving. I am slowly working towards it Make those dreams come true.”
Despite all these efforts, there is only one photo left on Shihab’s bucket list. “On the photo New Dh1,000 banknote It’s the Barakah nuclear power plant,” he said. “It’s 400 kilometers from where I live. Also, it’s a conservation area, so I’m not sure if I can take pictures there. So that’s the only thing I didn’t get a shot of. I hope one day I can do it. “