Sharjah, in Arabic – the Rising Sun, is the third largest of the seven emirates. Although not nearly as well known as its neighbours, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, a holiday in Sharjah is ideal for travelers who want to explore and experience the rich heritage and culture of Arabia. Crowned as the UNESCO cultural capital of the Arab World due to it being home to over 20 museums, art galleries and splendidly restored heritage sites, Sharjah is a place where history is locked within the traditional values of the people.
Sharjah is the only emirate to have a coastline in both east and west coasts of the country. Covering an area of 2,600 sq kms, Sharjah bestrides 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 with a generous expanse of landscaping which includes deserts, long stretches of sandy beaches and numerous significant archaeological sites.
With a fascinating history dating back over 5,000 years, Sharjah was the most important sea port on the lower coastline of the Gulf, for many years. Until the discovery of oil in 1972, Sharjah relied on trade, maritime boat building, pearling and fishing – similar to most other emirates. Its seafaring and trading roots are still in evidence today at its many busy boatyards and markets. Sharjah was once part of a single emirate, along with Ras Al Khaimah and was ruled by the Qawassim family. During the period British reign, Sharjah was considered to be the most important of the emirates. This is evident with the establishment of the first airport in the UAE being in Sharjah.
The city of Sharjah offers fabulous attractions to enjoy any type of holiday. With several tourist spots, such as museums, traditional souqs, modern shopping malls, luxurious hotels and family entertainment facilities, Sharjah has a lot to offer. A trip to the holiday destination of Sharjah will certainly become an unforgettable experience.
Al Qasba is considered by many as the most important tourist location in the city. Located in the heart of the city, set along a picturesque waterfront, Al Qasba offers a plethora of entertainment, cultural and leisure attractions based on the Arabian tradition. It’s a great place to bask in the interesting culture of the Arab world. From contemporary Arabian arts and theatre to family-friendly activities which will thrill kids and numerous dining options – Al Qasba is a treat for every traveler.
A visit to Sharjah is incomplete without riding on the infamous Eye of the Emirates. Offering an aerial view of the Sharjah Corniche, lagoons and landscape as well as neighboring Dubai, it is a giant wheel that goes up 60 meters high over the city and has many a crowd flocking to it.
Al Hisn is a two-story fort situated in the center of old Sharjah. Constructed in 1820, this attraction has now been converted into a museum that showcases a world of local history and charm. The exhibits include old coins and weighing scales, jewelry, arms and ammunition, a window to the pearl trade and plenty of amazing photographs and maps.
Sharjah also boasts attractive green parks where anyone can enjoy a stroll and escape from the busy city.
Sharjah is famous for its various souqs and markets offering a range of interesting products including carpets, perfumes, cosmetic, textile, jewelry and much more. The city is home to a number of vast shopping malls that feature brand name outlets and local retails shops guaranteed to satisfy every taste. Shopping at Sharjah malls is a great way to provide entertainment for all family members while receiving the best deals.
Visitors can catch a glimpse of the past by visiting the traditional Souks (markets) in Sharjah, where they can purchase a wide array of handcrafts and antiques at the shops and stalls. Notable amongst the souqs is The Blue Souq or the Central Market which has 2 wings and hosts around 600 shops in total. Its location on the famous Khaled Lagoon enhances its beauty and magnificence. The ground floor mainly deals with gold and designer wears while the upper floor shops sell carpets and other curiosities brought from diverse regions. Another prominent one is Souq al-Arash, the oldest souq in the UAE.
While Sharjah has no shortage of transport options available, it has no public transportation system – so getting around should mostly be done in local taxis or by renting a car. Taxis are the main form of transport in Sharjah, available any time of day or night. Taxis in Sharjah don’t use meters, so the fare needs to be negotiated before setting off on your journey.
Sampling local and regional delicacies is a must in Sharjah. The diversity of cuisine that includes Arabic, Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Continental and more, make Sharjah the perfect place to go for a nice meal out, whether you are dining alone, with friends and family or are looking for a romantic meal for two.