Sharjah: The Iconic Emirate of the UAE

Panoramic view of the Al Khan Lagoon looking south by night. Author: Wurzelgnohm.
Panoramic view of the Al Khan Lagoon looking south by night. Author: Wurzelgnohm.

Sharjah is one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The emirate is the second ancient emirate of the country as it was established from the United Kingdom in the year 1727. It is the third largest in terms of land area and the third most populous city of the UAE. It is a part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area. The emirate of Sharjah is located along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula. The population of the emirate is more than 1,600,000 and the total land area is almost 235.5 square km.

Well, Sharjah, UAE’s travel and tourism sector benefits from the international profile of the UAE as an established tourism destination. Tourists’ and residents’ continuing demand for different experiences provides new opportunities for the state indeed. In addition to that, the growing expatriate population, government investment in tourism infrastructure and rising disposable income – all point to a very positive sector outlook. Another three eco-tourism projects have been taken and already are in the pipeline. So it is quite clear that the tourism sector is growing day by day. So, let’s learn about some of the landmarks of the emirate of Sharjah.

The very first name of the list is the Eye of the Emirates. A visit to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates is totally incomplete if you do not ride on this. The giant Ferris wheel offers an iconic aerial view of the Sharjah Corniche, lagoons, and landscape, extending the horizon of the place to the neighboring Dubai. Well, the ride has a total 42 air-conditioned cabins which go almost 60 meters high above the ground. It is capable of carrying 336 passengers at a time.

One of the gates that lead into University City. Author: Wikiemirati.
One of the gates that lead into University City. Author: Wikiemirati.

Another must visit the place is the Planetarium. It was basically originally a part of the Arab Maritime Transport Academy. Later the academy shifted their office to the Alexandria. Then they gifted the planetarium to the Sharjah government. The Planetarium is located near the Sharjah Bridge. It is almost 3km away from the city center. If one visits the Planetarium, he/she will be able to experience the hi-tech cosmic shows, UniView, which takes the visitors on a trip to the solar system to spectate the Neptune, Saturn and many more planets. It is mainly attractive for schools and science clubs who are interested to study astronomy.

Sharjah Arts Museum is one of the largest art museums in the United Arab Emirates. This state-of-the-art facility opened in 1997 and it features a permanent collection along with a program of temporary exhibits. There are almost 72 galleries spread over the three floors on the building, focusing on works by artists who painted the Arab World. Many artworks are done by the 18th-century painters who visited the Middle East and therefore became fond of the culture, nature, and environment of the region. The Ali Darwish gallery is a temporary gallery which contains almost 300 watercolor works of many local and foreign artists. This is a must visit place for the art lovers!

Never miss the Wasit Nature Reserves. It is on a 4.5 square km area that has previously been used for trash dumping. But this former dirty place has now turned into a beautiful nature reserve. Here birds flock from around the world. The Wasit Nature Reserve, located on the Sharjah-Ajman border, was declared as a protected area in the year of 2007 by the Ruler of Sharjah, H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi. It is a flourishing area that allows the tourists to have a closer look at rare birds and other wetland species. The nature reserve has 4 natural lagoons attracting around 150 species of birds. Both migratory and residential birds are included in this. There are water bodies which are supported by underground water channels flowing out of Hatta Mountain and the Al Falaj Areas.

Sharjah - Venice. Author: marviikad from Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
Sharjah – Venice. Author: marviikad from Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

There are many more places to visit while you are in the emirate of Sharjah. You can visit the Central Market, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, Al Noor Island, Sharjah Maritime Museum, Souk Area, Sharjah Archaeology Museum, Sharjah Heritage Area and many more.

But the fact is, is visiting these places enough? Never! A tourist for sure will try to find the best local and traditional foods of that region. Who doesn’t like food, right? Let’s dig into some of the local foods:

  1. Al Machboos: It is a famous traditional dish which includes rice, meat, dried lemon, and onion. The dish is seasoned to bring out the flavors.
  2. Al Harees: Another popular dish of the UAE is Al Harees. It is simply made of wheat and meat along with some salt and spices as per the demand of the customer.
  3. Shawarma: This dish is locally and also internationally famous. Probably this is the most eaten Arabic Roti with lamb or chicken meat. It contains pickles, fries, tomatoes, and various sauces.
  4. Hummus: This dish is served with a shawarma or pita bread. It is actually a kind of dip. It is made from chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt. The unique taste will mesmerize you for sure!

Now when you decide to go to Sharjah, one thing that will come to your mind is that, where you will stay at night. Not a problem at all, there are hundreds of hotels in the emirate. If you have a limitation regarding the costing fact, you can hire cheap hotels such as the Dubai Palm Hotel (Sharjah Branch),  Downtown Hotel, Crystal Plaza Hotel, Citymax Hotel and so on. You will get these hotels within the starting price range of $20-$30. And if money isn’t big of a fact to you then certainly you will try to book your room in the 5-star hotels. There are lots of such hotels including the most pronounced names like the Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort and Spa, the Hilton Sharjah, the Act Hotel, Radisson Blu Resort etc. You will get these hotels from the starting price of $80. And if you are a millionaire then go and take a room at the Al Bait Sharjah and at the Kingfisher lodge by Mysk. You will get your rooms in here with the starting price of respectively $585 and $430!!

Night view of the boats docked to the east shorline of Al Khan Lagoon. Author: Wurzelgnohm.
Night view of the boats docked to the east shorline of Al Khan Lagoon. Author: Wurzelgnohm.

Now after knowing all these, there remains only one thing- the method of contacting the hotels. There are sites like www.booking.com,  www.tripadvisor.com, etc. These sites have all the details of all the hotels of the emirate. You will get the address, costing and contact method of the hotels in these sites. You will be able to book your rooms via these websites. So, what are you waiting for? Come and visit the iconic Sharjah!