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Sharjah

Covering 1,610 square miles, Sharjah is the third-largest Emirate in the UAE and is the only Emirate to stretch over both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Consequently, Sharjah encompasses a variety of scenic destinations with its heart at the hustle and bustle of the city center but spreading itself further into quieter towns, the enclaves of Kalba, Khor Fakkan and Dibba Al Hisn and even some fertile oasis areas where fruit and vegetables are cultivated.

In 1998, Sharjah was named UNESCO's "Arab Capital of Culture" and more recently awarded "Islamic Culture Capital" in 2014 by ISESCO. It is therefore essential that once you have escaped the heart of the city, you soak up the abundance of culture and history that Sharjah has to offer. A number of well-known museums can be found within the Heritage Area as well as a scattering of "souqs" for any of your shopping needs. This is all accessible on foot as long as you allow yourself a few hours to ensure nothing is missed off your list.

Covering 1,610 square miles, Sharjah is the third-largest Emirate in the UAE and is the only Emirate to stretch over both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Consequently, Sharjah encompasses a variety of scenic destinations with its heart at the hustle and bustle of the city center but spreading itself further into quieter towns, the enclaves of Kalba, Khor Fakkan and Dibba Al Hisn and even some fertile oasis areas where fruit and vegetables are cultivated.

In 1998, Sharjah was named UNESCO's "Arab Capital of Culture" and more recently awarded "Islamic Culture Capital" in 2014 by ISESCO. It is therefore essential that once you have escaped the heart of the city, you soak up the abundance of culture and history that Sharjah has to offer. A number of well-known museums can be found within the Heritage Area as well as a scattering of "souqs" for any of your shopping needs. This is all accessible on foot as long as you allow yourself a few hours to ensure nothing is missed off your list.

EXPERIENCES

EXPERIENCES

Al Majaz Waterfront

Next door to Al Qasba, you can find Al Majaz - a great area for families. It includes playgrounds, a mini-golf course, a jogging path made from recycled tires and a number of cafes and fast food restaurants for a bite to eat. Additionally, after dark, the main attraction is the Sharjah Fountain, which provides its audience with a spectacular five-minute water show to music, lights and lasers.

Al Noor Mosque

Resembling the "Blue Mosque" in Turkey, this mosque is famed for its incredible architecture including of 34 stunning cascading domes. Here you can learn about UAE National culture and religion on guides tours including question and answer sessions - private visits can also be arranged.

Al Qasba

Situated towards the south of the Khalid Lagoon, a variation of restaurants, cafes and entertainment venues overlook a scenic canal. Close by you can find a ferris wheel, contemporary art gallery, the Maraya Art Centre and a number of water taxis (abra), which take you for a scenic ride across the beautiful lagoon. Jetskiing is also popular during the summer months if you're feeling adventurous.

Arabia's Wildlife Center

Lighting up the Arabian night sky, the Eye of the Emirates is a great way to get sweeping views across the city. Over 197 feet high, each of the 60 cabins are air-conditioned and the Eye can hold up to 336 passengers at a time.

Blue Souq

A great shopping center to purchase a mixture of gifts and traditional goods such as stock gold, designer clothes, carpets and curios. Spread across two floors and including over 600 shops, it's the perfect place to haggle some traditional treasures.

Central Souk

Otherwise known as the Blue Souk due to its unusual blue-coloured roof, located in the Khalid Lagoon region, the largest souk in Sharjah plays host to over 600 shops including fine jewellery, antiques, electronics, cosmetics, perfumes, garments and more.

Festivals

There are a number of festivals that take place throughout the year in Sharjah, which can be seasonal, religious or just traditional. Activities can include sand sculpture competitions, water skiing, firework displays, puppet shows, camel rides, henna and raffles and visitors can enjoy delicious Arabic food along with discounts on local merchandise.

Heritage Area

The Heritage Area is a must-see for cultural and historical exploration having been restored and rebuilt for this purpose. The area includes Al Hisn Fort, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, Bait al-Naboodah and Souq al-Arsah considered to be the oldest souk in the area.

Sharjah Art Museum

One of the most impressive museums in the region, Sharjah Art Museum is the best place to go to see contemporary art from the United Arab Emirates and other Middle Eastern countries with monthly changing exhibits.

Sharjah Calligraphy Museum

Discover Arabic calligraphy on canvas, wood, paper and ceramic from centuries ago - bright, bold and intricate in their script and style this vibrant art comes alive on various mediums in this fantastic gallery.

Sharjah Heritage Museum

With a large number of museums to choose from, this one is Sharjah's most popular for tourists. The five galleries educate visitors on the life of the locals and displays in detail various different aspects to their lives such as religion, traditional celebrations, ceremonies and rituals.

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization

With over 5,000 artifacts from islamic culture, learn everything about Islam including the faith itself along with over 1,000 art pieces on the 2nd floor of this well-curated museum in a converted souq right on the waterfront.

Sharjah Natural History Museum

Interactive exhibits revealing the regions local flora, fauna, marine life and desert and ecosystems, this is a great day out for the family with a children's farm and botanical museum. Visitors are sure to discover endangered animals and much more.

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TRAVELOGUES

TRAVELOGUES

Sands of Time: In Search of the Old UAE

Sands of Time: In Search of the Old UAE

Author : Jay Tindall
After spending some time in the most infamous of UAE cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I felt it time to take a better look at what lays outside these soaring modern landscapes and see if I could discover some worlds of old.
Read More

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