Sharjah: Sharjah is a perfect destination for tourists who are into art & culture, adventure and food. Known for its rich cultural heritage and picturesque landscape, the vibrant destination is also pocket-friendly and an ideal weekend getaway as it’s only a few hours’ flight time from India.
Sharjah is a vibrant city with an exciting food and arts scene, a heritage area that is the largest restoration project in the region along with various commercial centres and over 22 museums
ART & CULTURE
Sharjah Art Foundation – Located in Sharjah’s historic Art and Heritage Areas, Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) activities and events take place throughout the year and include exhibitions featuring the work of Arab and international artists, performances, music, film screenings and artist talks as well as extensive art education programmes for children, adults and families. The SAF is also responsible for bringing one of the emirate’s best known art events, the Sharjah Biennial, showcasing the best of contemporary art at various locations all over Sharjah every two years.
Rain Room – After being launched in London then visiting New York, Los Angeles and Shanghai, the Rain Room, an immersive art installation created by Random International is now permanently housed at the Sharjah Art Foundation. When visitors enter the Rain Room, they are directed to navigate intuitively and carefully through the dark underground space in order to protect themselves from a downpour of rain. As they continue to walk through the art space, which uses 1200 liters of self-cleaning, recycled water, their movements trigger motion sensors that pauses the rainfall.
The tickets for Rain Room are sold online and at the venue. Timings are Saturday-Thursday, 9 am-9 pm and Friday, 4 pm-11 pm.
Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization – An archive of thousands of rare and important Islamic artifacts, you can admire the timeless achievements of Islamic civilization and its universality. Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization features seven galleries spread over two levels. The ground-floor galleries cover aspects of the Islamic faith and the achievements of Arab scientists and astronomers. The upper floors offer a chronological overview of Islamic arts and crafts, including textiles and jewellery.
Kalba – Kalba is well-known for its fascinating natural attractions like the Khor Kalba creek, pristine sandy beaches, the oldest natural stand of mangroves in Arabia and many more interesting things. It consists of a significant natural reserve and is situated close to the border of Oman. Kalba is also looked upon as an important birding spot for bird lovers. There are watersport centres where you can hire a single or double kayak and explore independently. Those who prefer guided tours will find several tour operators offering interpretive tours of Khor Kalba.
Mleiha – This ancient area is home to a number of significant sites, including Bronze Age tombs and pre-Islamic forts. A wealth of fascinating artifacts, from camel skeletons to pottery and iron tools have been discovered here, with many on display in the outstanding Mleiha Archaeological Centre. The centre opened in 2016 and offers an exciting range of tours and activities. Explore the archaeological sites or opt for exciting desert activities such as trekking to nearby Camel Rock, desert cycling or 4WD tours, dune buggy rides and even paragliding.
Shark Island, Khorfakkan – A short way off the east coast of Sharjah, lies a small rocky island that boasts of sandy beaches with colourful aquatic life perfect for snorkeling. Shark Island is an idyllic spot for swimming and sunbathing. Schools of fish, anemones and sea turtles make it a treat for snorkellers, while divers flock here for the beautiful rock formations teeming with moray eels, rays and Arabian angelfish.
Sharjah is a foodie’s paradise, flaunting some very unique, traditional food that is not only adored by the locals but has also managed to mark its importance among tourists as well. The emirate may keep the visitors engrossed with its unique history, but it is the food that truly engages and connects with you. With multiple cuisines being served in some of the best restaurants, Sharjah is a hub of high end to street food. Sharjah offers a range of areas, such as Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Qasba, Muweilah, etc. where visitors will find many independent restaurants supported by well-known culinary franchises along with old favourites interspersed with more unusual hangouts for visitors who would like to try new flavours in the world-class restaurants and cafes.
Central Souq – A comprehensive retail experience housed in beautiful architecture, Sharjah’s Central Souq has hundreds of shops with offers that range from gold, silver, traditional, ornaments, carpets and handicrafts. The Souk may be one of the most photographed buildings in Sharjah, rightly famous for its beautiful blue domes.
Souk Al Arsah – The oldest market place in the UAE used to be a meeting place for traders in the distant past. Stepping into the souk seems like one is taking a journey back in history. Souk Al Arsah once attracted merchants from Persia and India, along with local merchants. It is now a covered market with air-conditioned alleyways featuring solid wooden doors, beautiful coral brick walls and hanging lanterns.