In a fast developing region, where modern attractions and swaggy architecture are the biggest draws, Sharjah holds on to its traditions and cultural ethos and offers an experience that as unique as it is enchanting.
A captivating mix of the traditional and modern, the strikingly unusual and the relatively mundane, Sharjah is the self acclaimed “Cultural Capital of the UAE”. Having strongly latched on to its tradition and the lure of old Arabia, Sharjah is the place to visit for an authentic experience of the unembellished and carefully preserved cultural legacy. With a consciousness that is highly evolved and a sensibility that is largely artistic and educational, the emirate hosts an array of cultural and educational experiences. With an offering to suit every budget and individual preference –Sharjah needs to be on the bucket list of every evolved traveller. TravelScapes lists down seven most coveted experiences from this charismatic city swarmed by the enriching appeal.
Feel the glow within at the Sharjah Light Festival
It is a spectacle, a picture that holds in the mind for a 1000 years as an enthralling array of lights and displays create an almost fairy like feel, adding magic to the already magical city. Captivating imagination by the horns, The Sharjah Light Festival is a distinct experience regaling thousands of spectators each year. The festival is an artist ¬–to use a personification – who makes the buildings of Sharjah come alive with dynamic light shows, highlighting their traditional Islamic or contemporary architecture.
Large-scale light installations and projections — some accompanied by music —celebrate the cultural and creative spirit of Sharjah.Head to one of the 13 locations in Sharjah including Masjid Al Noor, Khalid Lagoon and Al Majaz Waterfront to enjoy a dazzling display of colour, images and lights, anointed with poignant musical compositions, highlighting the grandness of architecture in this grand emirate.
Relive early 20th century glamour at Sharjah Classic Cars Museum
The ultimate romance for lovers of Classic cars, the Sharjah Classic Cars Museum has some beauties on display. Initially opened in 2008 and renovated in 2013, draws lovers of vintage cars from around the world. The museum houses a 100 glamorous classics from early 20th century, the oldest being a 1915 Dodge model. Other attractions include a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman: one of the only 2,677 vehicles that were manufactured. The range is exhaustive and the display inviting. A must visit for lovers of vintage hot wheels.
ENJOY A FAMILY DAY OUT AT NOOR ISLAND
ON THE SHORE OF KHALID LAGOON, LIES NOOR ISLAND. AN INTRIGUING BLEND OF NATURE, CULTURE AND RECREATION, THE ISLAND IS A HAVEN RIGHT IN THE HEART OF SHARJAH CITY. THERE IS THE BUTTERFLY PARK PLAYING HOST TO A FLUTTERING OF COLOURFUL WINGS OF OVER 500 SPECIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD, HOUSED IN A CAPTIVATING STRUCTURE INSPIRED BY ITS INHABITANTS. THE LITERATURE PAVILLION IS INSPIRED BY THE FINER ASPECTS OF ARABIAN CALLIGRAPHY, WHEREAS THE PLAYGROUND WITH SWINGS AND SLIDES IS EVERY CHILD’S DREAM. ART INSTALLATIONS, CAFÉS AND MUCH MORE, MAKE THE NOOR ISLAND A PERFECT FAMILY DESTINATION.
Take a journey down the history of Islam at Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation, Sharjah
Home to some rare and significant Islamic artifacts, The Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation is a must visit for those interested in the history of Islamic Culture. More than 5,000 exquisite artefacts take one through the roots and grown of this culture as pieces of pottery, metalwork, woodcarving, manuscripts and textiles, tell tales of the Islamic world between 7th century AD and 13th century AD. As one admires the achievements of Islamic civilisation and its universality, it is also the ideal place to educate oneself on the aspects of Islamic faith, science, discoveries and culture, and cherish the beauty of Islamic art.
Weight-lift some shopping bags at Sharjah Central Souk or Blue souk
Two parallel, beautifully decorated buildings linked by a pair of equally adorned bridges form the majestic exteriors of the Blue Souk. The interiors with galleried halls and ornate windows are as impressive. The place to buy Arabian goods at excellent prices. The best of shopping is represented by large shops on the ground floor supplemented by pashmina and trinklet selling souvenir stalls flanking the bridges and intricate carpet displays. Buy abayas and kandouras, djellabahs and kaftans or have a tailor fashion it for you.
The souk also houses Sharjah’s Gold Souk, complete with ornate jewellery and a screen showing current gold prices. It is the perfect place to empty your wallets and take home some happy bargains.
Put on the intellectual hat at the Sharjah International Book Fair
Book lovers rejoice as Sharjah hosts the world’s third largest book fair and the biggest in the Gulf Region. The 10 day long event –Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), is a delightful series of writing workshops, poetry readings, book signings, international and local author sessions, as well as plays, art and craft activities. An event designed to encourage young people to read, the fair hosted 1,460 exhibitors from 60 countries in the year gone by. A must-visit for children with a spate of activities designed especially for the young minds. The SIBF Cookery Corner, with renowned chefs demonstrating their unique recipes, provides yet another fun reason for a visit.
Bash some dunes during Desert Safari in Meliha
Meliha is an intriguing story, a place with many a story in its fold of history, nature and culture. The desert trails lead to discovery of the secrets of the region’s ancient Bedouin traditions. The breath-taking natural landscapes hold stories aplenty and exhilarating adventures. The leisure destination marries warm hospitality with exceptional recreation activities and intriguing information. Not to be missed are the adrenaline pumping dune-bashing sessions, one of the most coveted attractions of the safari.