One of the first initiators in promoting tourism on a big way, Sharjah has been somehow United Arab Emirates with Arabian Gulf Coast in the west and Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean in the east. It is a major business destination, which is efficiently linked by air, road, and sea. The city has most colourful history out of all the Emirates in the country and over a period of time many new attractions have been added to increase the tourist value of it.
What to do
Exploring the rich heritage of the city should be the most important occupation while you are in Sharjah. The souks or markets of Sharjah have tried to preserve their traditional values and they should be your next destination. Sharjah is a good place for food lovers and you can enjoy the food from almost all parts of world and especially Middle East. Excursions around the city of Sharjah open the door to the environment of the region and they should not be missed.
City at a Glance
|Area||2,600 Sq Km|
The history of Sharjah goes as far back as some 6000 years back when its name was Saroca. Those were the nomadic people who relied on trade and sea faring. The important phase in the history of Sharjah came when Portuguese took control of the East Coast in 1507, latter came Dutch and finally British who started trading with Qawassim, the forefathers of today's ruling family.
Over the years, Qawassim became stronger and Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr bin Rashid Al Qasimi became the Sheikh of Sharjah in 1804. British influence continued on Sharjah with some turbulent years in between. In 1971, Sharjah became a founder member of United Arab Emirate and next year oil was struck here. This propelled enormous growth of the Emirate that is visible today in the wealth the place has acquired.
Weather and Best Season to Visit
Summer is the hottest season in Sharjah and temperature from the month of May to September exceed 40°C most of the time. Coupled with the humidity level that goes well over 90% at many times, makes it the most uncomfortable season to venture in Sharjah. Rain is a rarity in Sharjah and that makes only two seasons here. Winter from October to April is the best time to visit as the temperature hover around 24°C - 25°C during the day though the nights can get colder.
Sharjah is home to some of the most interesting architectural heritage in the country and some traditions that have all been forgotten. The cultural and historical heritages of the region are on display in the museums that Sharjah has built over a period of time.
The Islamic Museum near Al Qassaba Square showcases the different aspects of Islamic heritage. There are manuscripts in Arabic, pottery items, scientific instruments, and glass and metallic items on display in the museum. The museum is opened on weekdays, except Monday on 0900 to 1300 and 1700 to 2000 hours.
Sharjah Art Museum
This museum is a recent addition being opened only in 1997. There is personal collection of the present ruler of Sharjah that include valuable paintings, historic documents, and maps. The museum is open on weekdays except Monday from 0900 to 1300 and 1700 to 2000 hours.
Other museums in Sharjah include Sharjah Archaeological Museum, Sharjah Heritage Museum, and Sharjah Science Museum and Planetarium.
Apart from museums Sharjah is known as its Souks and mainly Blue Souk that is called so because of its distinct blue vaulted roof. Souk Al Arsah is the oldest souk in Sharjah and was the heart of trade for many centuries in the past. Other important souks are Old bazaar or Iranian Bazaar and Al Majarrah Souk.
Other attractions in Sharjah include Hisn al Sharjah or Sharjah Fort, Majilis Ibrahim Bin Mohammed Al Midfaa, Sharjah University, and magnificent buildings of Sharjah.
Sharjah Natural History Museum and Desert Park is situated outside Sharjah at a distance of around 28 km from the city centre. This is the sleekest natural museum in entire United Arab Emirates and provides visitors with a chance to learn about the flora and fauna of the Arabian Desert by the way of fun and entertainment.
Khor Kalba is an important nature reserve with mangroves and Kalba specie of the white collared Kingfisher. The reserve is situated south of Fujairah.
Sharjah like other Emirates in United Arab Emirates is a good place for shopping in carpets, perfumes, cosmetic, textile, and jewellery. The city has got some of the best souks in UAE and shopping from these places should be a new experience for you. Major places for shopping in Sharjah include AL Wahda Street, The Blue Souk or Central Market, Souk Al Arsah, Iranian Bazaar, and Al Majarrah Souk.
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation is not a problem in Sharjah with quality hotels and furnished apartments all around. It is difficult to get a cheap accommodation option in Sharjah as in other places of United Arab Emirates.
WHERE TO EAT
Arabic cuisine should be your first preference in Sharjah though you can get the food of many other nationalities here. The local food is spicy with fresh salads, grilled fish and meat, followed by a desert. Restaurants are dotted throughout the city, but Al Wahda Street, Jamal Abdul Naseer Street, Al Qassimia Street, Rolla Square, and Corniche Road are some of the places where you can find some good ones.
Air Travel Resources
Sharjah International Airport is situated at a distance of around 6 km from the city centre with regular flights to many important destinations in Europe, Asia, Middle East, and North America. Taxis are available at the airport terminal for transfer to the city centre. From Dubai Airport, it takes around 30 minutes to reach Sharjah city centre.
Land And Water
There are taxis and shuttle buses to chose from in Sharjah and no public transport is available. Taxis are unmetred and you should bargain the fare before getting into the taxi. Most of the hotels offer shuttle services to their guests from Sharjah to Dubai that depart several times a day.