View Larger Map
Sharjah is the capital of the emirate of Sharjah – one of the seven members of the United Arab Emirates. It covers an area of 235 sq km and recorded an approximate population of 800000 in 2008.
The Sharjah city lies on the coast of the Arabian Gulf. The coastline stretches for 16 kms and there are sandy beaches interspersed with buildup areas. Though it is predominantly a desert region, the city and its surroundings are rich in flora and fauna as well.
The city has a typical desert climate. Rainfall is concentrated within a very short period. It is very hot and humid from May to September. However, between November and April the city experiences warm sunny days, cool evenings and low humidity.
How to reach (transport)
You can reach Sharjah by air. The Sharjah International airport is located about 15 km to the east of the city. Several international flights run to and fro from this airport. In addition, roadways connect the city to Dubai. The public transport of the city mostly consists of taxis or you can hire cars.
When to visit
The best time to visit the Sharjah city is from November to April. This is the time when the weather is most pleasant and the humidity is low.
Culture (fairs and festivals) and traditions
UNESCO has named Sharjah the cultural capital of the Arab world in 1998. The city has successfully incorporated elements of traditional society and modern international milieu to create a unique destination in the Middle East. The city has also been named as the capital of Islamic culture for 2014. The city has actively pursued policies to preserve its traditional arts like pottery jars, bridal chests, weaving, embroidery, henna and incense while successfully becoming a hub of international business, entertainment and tourism.
Several festivals are celebrated in the city. They are:
- Ramadan is the holiest month of Islam. This month is celebrated with a number of cultural programs and events in the city.
- The Sharjah Water Festival includes several activities like fireworks display, sand sculpture competition, water skiing etc.
- The International Book Fair is organized at the expo and is a grand event with hundreds of publishers from all over the world participating in it.
- From 1993, the Sharjah Arts Biennial festival is organized to promote interaction among the artists and art institutions of the Arab world.
- The Sharjah shopping festival occurs in the month of Ramadan and in spring (March). It is a hot favorite with the tourists.
- The Sharjah summer festival runs parallel to the Dubai shopping festival and runs for ten weeks from June. It is a grand extravaganza with promotional events, grand shows, discounts and offers.
- The Sharjah Spring Festival organized in January is another major attraction for the tourists. It is celebrated in over 1700 outlets with promotions, discounts and shows.
Points of interest (places to visit)
There are a number of important things to see in Sharjah starting from the traditional souks to the vast malls. Some of them are as follows:
- The Al Qasab is the entire entertainment district packed with cultural and leisure attractions. If you visit during Ramadan, you will get to experience poetry by the leading poets of the country, Islamic lectures and a vast variety of food and beverages. The "Eye of the Emirate" offers a great view of the city from one of its 42 air conditioned cabins which rise to a height of 60 meters.
- The Sharjah Art museum houses a number of examples of permanent artwork while exhibitions by local and international artists are held from time to time.
- Spread across 630 thousand sq metres, Sharjah National Park calls for a visit. The park is noted as a popular picnic spot and also has several play areas.
- The Discovery Center is another important sight where there are themed areas spread over 3800 square miles.
- The Sharjah desert park is a unique attraction. It contains a Natural History museum showcases the flora and fauna of the Arab world. The Arabian wildlife center is another part of the park. It was opened in 1999. It houses over a 100 species of fauna found in this region. The animals are kept in close imitation of their natural surroundings. This attraction has become very popular among the tourists.
- King Faisal mosque is a magnificent mosque though only Muslims are allowed inside.
- Finally, Al Hisn is a small museum housed in the old fort in the heart of the old city. It contains surprisingly interesting exhibits like coins, weights and measures, arms and ammunition etc.
Sharjah offers a wide variety of accommodation from the ultra luxury hotels to budget options. The Radisson Blu Resort, Holiday Inn and Hilton are five star hotels in the city. Al Hayat, Aryanaa, Al Gadda, Verona and Golden Tulip are four star hotels. Sharjah premier hotel, Al Maha Regency, Al Seif are three star hotels while Rayan, Al Jazeera etc are two star options. In addition, hostels are also available in the city.