Sharjah – A seat of customs and civilization
The third largest emirate of UAE, the emirate of Sharjah, straddles the peninsula,
overlooking the Arabian Gulf to the west and the Gulf of Oman to the east. This
gives it the unique advantage of being geographically diverse. The emirate boasts
of some of the most varied sceneries and splendid waterfronts. This bustling city
is a hub for trade and business and a seat of culture and traditions. It is a blend
of the old and new. Sharjah today boasts of modern waterfront hotels, beautiful
mosques, lakefront apartments, restaurants, and well laid-out parks and gardens.
Sharjah renowned for its souks, both traditional and new, is a virtual treat for
bargain hunters. But arguably Sharjah's greatest draw is its local history, preserved
at its very best in several well-maintained museums
A brief history:
Sharjah was once part of a single emirate along with Ras Al Khaimah ruled by the
Al Qawasim family. H.H. Sheikh Dr.Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi took over as Ruler
in 1972 - a scholar in History, he has been conferred with a PhD (Doctorate in Philosophy)
for his outstanding work. Under his able guidance, Sharjah has made rapid progress.
Today, it is known as the Cultural capital of the U.A.E.
In 1971, the discovery of the oilfield near the island of Abu Musa changed the fortunes
of the emirate. Sharjah was also the first port in the entire Middle East to possess
fully-equipped container facilities at the Sharjah Container Terminal. Its impressive
port at Khorfakkan provides important facilities for ships. It is famous in the
cricketing world as a major venue for One Day Internationals. This emirate is home
to some of the finest Arab, Islamic and wildlife research in the world.
Where to stay
Sharjah has ample accommodation to suit all needs, business or leisure. There are
hotels to suit every budget, from luxurious five star hotels to inexpensive budget
hotels. Whatever the requirement, Sharjah has something to suit every taste and
Situated on the banks of Sharjahs’ Khaled Lagoon, this 5-star hotel offers spacious
rooms with views of the lagoon. The air-conditioned rooms at Corniche Al Buhaira
Hotel feature a modern, elegant décor. Sharjah’s city centre is just 10 minutes
by car. Dubai International Airport is a 20-minute drive from Al Buhaira.
Holiday Inn Sharjah offers a rooftop pool with views of Sharjah city and a 24-hour
lounge serving pastries and cakes. It is a 10-minute drive from Sharjah International
Airport. All rooms are sunny and fitted with large windows, most of which overlook
the city. Guests can enjoy a warm drink from the tea / coffee maker and relax with
the complimentary newspaper. Sharjah Holiday Inn is a 15-minute drive from Dubai
Radisson Blu creates iconic buildings with individual interiors invoking an inviting,
exciting ambiance and offering a holistic hospitality experience that is totally
relevant to this day. With a sloping façade highlighting its modern architectural
design, the 15-storey Radisson Blu is a premier accommodation in Sharjah. The resort
features 306 generously-appointed guest rooms, suites and poolside cabanas with
stunning gulf views. Colours and fabrics are warm and inviting, and amenities like
Free high-speed Internet access and use of the Bay Club promise to please.
If you are looking for mid-range hotels, Sharjah has plenty of options. Sharjah Grand Hotel
, Al Hamra Hotel
are a few to name offering best facilities
at a reasonable price. Most of them are located within close proximity to the city
Budget accommodations that provide good services and a comfortable inexpensive stay
are also widely available.
What to do:
Heritage and Culture:
A visit to the heritage area is a must-do for all those interested in taking a trip
back in time. Many historic buildings have been reconstructed with traditional materials.
Most sites in the Heritage Area have opening times set aside solely for women. Visitors
of both genders should make certain of these on arrival in the city.
The Sharjah Fort Museum dominates the Heritage District. The
fort itself has been restored by the present Sheikh and the museum provides something
of a glimpse of the social history of the Emirate. This stunning fort, the former
residence of the Al Qasimi Ruling family houses priceless objects, fascinating old
photographs, classic weapons and trading tools tracing 200 years of Sharjah history.
- Al Eslah School Museum: This was the first formal school
in Sharjah and today it allows the generations of the past and of the present to
meet and to maintain Emirati customs and traditions regarding the Arabic language,
religion and Islamic education.
- Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization: This is a fascinating
place for any visitors with an interest in the faith, as there are handwritten Qurans,
letters from the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to other leaders and various artefacts
from Mecca itself. Also a comprehensive display of Arab handicrafts. .
- Bait al-Naboodah: The original house of the Al Naboodah’s
preserved for all to see the old Arabic traditions and way of living.
- Majlis Al Midfa: Majlis Al Midfaa explains the functions
of a majlis as a library and meeting place for local residents, scholars and merchants
to discuss poetry, literature and politics, thus maintaining social and cultural
communication among the educated people.
- Souq al-Arsah, Heritage Area. Heritage Area. Another souq worth a visit.
It is considered to be the oldest souq in the country. Stop at the traditional coffeehouse
for a mint tea and a plate of dates.
- Sharjah Calligraphy Museum, Heritage Area. A small museum
with magnificent calligraphic works of art by Arabic artists with a workshop where
students are trained in the art of calligraphy.
- Art Area: Includes Sharjah's Art Museum which covers regional and international
art exhibits, with the oriental collection being its highlights.
- Sharjah Art Museum: The Sharjah Art Museum shows contemporary
art by local and foreign artists. It is also the home of the Sharjah International
Art Biennale, a bi-yearly exhibition of international contemporary art and performance.
- Sharjah Archeology Museum. The museum explores the changing
environment experienced by the region's inhabitants from the Stone Age to the present
day through displays of artefacts, coins, jewellery, pottery and ancient weapons.
Investigate a dig in progress, explore models of burials, houses and tombs and see
the first forms of writing in this area.
- Al-Mahattah-Museum. Al Mahatta was the first airport in
the Gulf region. It was opened in 1932 as a staging post for commercial flights
from Britain to India. There is an interesting film about the daily life at the
airport and Sharjah town in the 1930s and four original propeller planes stand in
- SharjahClassicCars Museum. Located next to the Sharjah International
Airport, this museum displays over 100 vintage vehicles dating back to the early
- Other Museums also cover marine, natural history, aviation & other valuable aspects.
Sharjah is a treasure trove of modern malls, stylish shops and boutiques and unique
souks and bazaars. The city has several separate shopping areas with busy malls,
large showrooms and smaller department stores and centres, as well as exciting furniture
warehouses full of artefacts, with fantastic promotions throughout the year. Due
to very low import taxes & absence of income taxes, retail prices tend to be reasonable
for both brand name goods and especially for curios and handicrafts sold in the
souks. Prices are fixed in the malls and the department stores but bargaining is
a long-established tradition in the souks. Usually all major credit cards, travellers’
cheques and US Dollars are accepted.
- Blue Souq (Souq Al Markazi or Central Souq) - An interesting
shopping centre hosting around 600 shops in two wings. The ground floor shops tend
to stock gold and expensive designer clothes, with the upper level containing shops
stocking carpets and curios from as far afield as Afghanistan and Tibet. Haggling
over prices in the upper-level shops will frequently attract massive discounts;
a great place to buy gifts and traditional goods.
- Sahara Centre - Sahara Centre, located off the Dubai/Sharjah
highway and open since 2002, has a distinctive ‘tented’ exterior and is undoubtedly
one of Sharjah's landmarks offering a complete family shopping and entertainment
destination. Sahara Centre boasts a highly attractive mix of anchor tenants, renowned
international brands and the finest regional stores and kiosks, providing a great
shopping and entertainment experience in wide open spaces with natural light and
an appealing, airy ambiance.
- Sharjah City Centre - Sharjah City Centre is located in
the heart of the city on Al Wahda Road, a well-known shopping district. Opened in
2001 it covers an area of over 35,000 square metres of shopping, leisure and entertainment
for the whole family, and always attracts a large crowd especially with the new
extension. The mall offers customers true value for money, and coupled with leisure
and entertainment, is a perfect shopping destination for everyone, whether it is
for a day out with the family where you can leave the children at the play area;
or shopping with friends and meeting for lunch.
- Sharjah Mega Mall - Sharjah Mega Mall located in Abu Shagara,
is a leading retail and leisure facility offering over 150 retail outlets spread
over three levels. A place of leisure and entertainment, the mall has Grand Cinemas
offering the latest movies and Antic’s Land, a distinctively-themed family entertainment
centre comprising three mystical lands with unique rides, edutainment activities
and games including a roller coaster, a monorail, 3D cinema and haunted house and
the latest video games.
The mall has a large and busy food court on the top floor and there are several
cafés and coffee shops to choose from on each level. Ample indoor and outdoor parking
There are also a number of prestigious markets located in similar commercial centres
such as Al Fardan Centre
, Ansar Mall
, Atlas Mall
and Crystal Plaza
Sharjah offers the outdoor adventurer the perfect weather for hiking, camping, desert
driving and wadibashing, apart from the hotter summer months when scuba diving and
dipping in a chilled pool can be a cooler option. For those who like to put their
feet up and relax or to be groomed and pampered, the beach and health clubs, the
beauty centres and the spas provide plenty of opportunities to unwind and de-stress.
With the wide variety of malls and amusement centres, museums and cinemas, a good
choice of indoor and family activities are available throughout the year.
- Sharjah Desert Park: Located 28 km from Sharjah on the road
to Al Dhaid, it has three components spread over one square kilometre: the Natural
History Museum, Arabian Wildlife Centre and the Children’s Farm. The museum provides
people of all ages with an opportunity to learn about the flora and fauna of the
Arabian Desert and has five main exhibition halls: A Journey through Sharjah, Man
and the Environment, A Journey through Time, The Living Desert and The Living Sea.
- The Arabian Wildlife Centre: showcases the rich diversity
of fauna in the Arabian Peninsula as well as teaching about species which have become,
and are becoming, extinct. It contains more than 100 species of animals, and is
divided into a reptile and insect house, aviary, nocturnal houses, viewing area
and a section for large predators and monkeys. The children’s farm gives children
a chance to come into close contact with farm animals, such as donkeys, goats, sheep
- Sharjah Discovery Centre: The Discovery Centre is an interactive
‘hands-on’ facility, designed for young children where they can discover, learn
through play, explore the world around them, and understand that science and technology
are part of their daily lives.
- Sharjah Aquarium: The Sharjah Aquarium encourages all its
visitors to cherish and conserve the beauty and wealth of the oceans.
- Sharjah Science Museum: The Science Museum is dedicated
to promoting interest, learning and creativity in order to make the discovery of
science enjoyable and fun. It inspires innovative learning environments and tools
for exploration using imaginative and enjoyable experiences to help visitors of
all ages, backgrounds and origins to understand science.
- Bowling: Go for a strike at any of Sharjah’s three bowling alleys but call
in advance to book your lanes: Ewan Hotel, 10 lanes Radisson Blu Resort, 6 lanes
- Golf, Shooting & Paintball: Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club
offers 3 in one with a 9-hole floodlight grass course, 10 indoor shooting ranges,
archery, and a floodlit paintball park with jungle and savannah playing fields.
The club also has a health club, pool, basketball, tennis, conference facilities
and two restaurants and is an excellent addition to Sharjah’s sporting facilities.
- Horse Riding: Horse racing, desert hacks, pony rides, lessons and livery
are all available at Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club located at Exit 6 on the
Sharjah/Al Dhaid Road. Road.
- Ice Skating: Sharjah Ladies Club on the Corniche Road has a national-sized
ice rink. Public skating and lessons are available to members and to non-members.
Skate at Sky 24’s ‘rink in the sky’ located on the 24th floor of Al Durrah Tower.
Al Durrah Tower.
- King Faisal Mosque: This magnificent mosque was a gift of the Saudi Arabian
King Faisal. It was opened in 1987 and has space for 15,000 people. There are separate
prayer rooms for men and women and the mosque has an Islamic library with more than
Al-Qasba and Eye of the Emirates: At Al Qasba, you can enjoy culture,
entertainment and leisure attractions representing the very best from the Arab world
- Jetskiing: is very famous around summer time in the Khalid Lagoon
- F1 Boat Races: happen around the manmade island in the BuhairaCorniche sometime
- Qanat al Qasba: has a beautiful mosque right by the canal. From Al Qasba
there is a ferry that gives you a boat tour around Sharjah. Several different yearly
festivals take place, and each one is a wonderful cultural experience. There are
many fun activities at these festivals such as camel rides, henna, delicious Arabian
foods and much more. In celebration of the date season, which runs from mid-May
to mid-August, the Date Festival is held at the Fruit and Vegetable Market from
May 15 to August 15.
Public buses are by Sharjah Transport. There are seven local and express routes.
Dubai's RTA also offers express commuter bus service. Taxis operated by licensed
taxi companies are available round the clock. There is a surcharge of Dhs. 20 to
go into Dubai.