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Sharjah

The Emirate of Sharjah has received worldwide acclaim as the one that best preserves Emirati culture and traditions, which rings out loudly through the city's Heritage Area packed with sights and museums. The possible downside to such deep-routed connection to the past might be the ban on alcohol sale and consumption (allowed for "alcohol license" holders only, which have to be non-Muslim, locally employed and relatively well-paid). Unlike in other Emirates, drinks cannot be served even at some of the most upscale hotel bars, and modest clothing is required for both men and women. However, Sharjah has managed to embrace modernity while still firmly holding on to its heritage, which makes up for some of its shortcomings on the nightlife front. Unique new cultural centers, such as the Al Noor Island project, are turning Sharjah into an entertainment hub in its own right. The Corniche and waterfront areas come alive after sundown, and the multiple modern shopping centers and traditional souqs offer unlimited shopping opportunities. The Sharjah Emirate is not geographically restricted to the North of Dubai - it reaches to the Gulf of Oman on the eastern coast of the UAE via its seaside territories of Dibba Al Hisn, Khor Fakkan and Kalba.

The City

Sharjah, the not-so-obvious UAE destination for many, unjustly remains in the shadows of its glistening immediate neighbor of Dubai. In the meantime, few are aware Sharjah was named Capital of Islamic Culture (2014) and Cultural Capital of the Arab World by UNESCO sixteen years prior - and for good reason. Sharjah's Heritage Area is home to multiple historic sites and museums, and the Emirate itself boasts recent, modern additions to its art and entertainment scenes enough to compensate for the strict "no-alcohol" regulations.

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Do & See

Tradition meets modernity in Sharjah, where museums and architectural monuments compete for visitors' attention with modern high-tech venues such as the recently inaugurated Al Noor Island. The Sharjah Heritage Area is where most museums and historic sights are concentrated. Sharjah also boasts a few places where one can get close to nature - marine life is best observed at the local Aquarium, and the Arabian Wildlife Center allows for close contact with and observation of animals native to the area.

Al Majaz Waterfront

Best explored after sundown, the Al Majaz waterfront area draws visitors to its multiple restaurants and cafes which offer front-row seats to the colorful fountain shows that happen several times a night. During the daylight hours, visitors are free to enjoy the public park, recreation areas, mini-golf course and well-equipped children's playgrounds.

  • Address: Ouakam, Dakar
  • Phone: +221 77 939 61 79
  • www:
  • Email:

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization

With over five thousand exhibits, the Museum of Islamic Civilization offers visitors an extensive overview of Islamic historical and cultural artifacts, while also providing educating insights into the scientific discoveries and achievements of Arabic scholars over the ages.

  • Address: Ouakam, Dakar
  • Phone: +221 77 939 61 79
  • www:
  • Email:

Sharjah Aquarium

An amazing experience for the whole family, the Sharjah Aquarium ranks among the finest in the UAE, arguably outshining its Dubai competitors. The aquarium contains a variety of marine animals and creatures (including giant stingrays and sharks dashing through the water close enough to touch) separated from viewers by transparent walls only.

  • Address: Ouakam, Dakar
  • Phone: +221 77 939 61 79
  • www:
  • Email:

Al Hisn Fort Museum

Formerly the residence of Al Qawasim ruling family and the seat of Sharjah's local government, the Sharjah Fort today functions as a museum, and houses a vast array of exhibits, as well as the old Al Muhalwasa jail, war cannons and defense watchtowers.

  • Address: Ouakam, Dakar
  • Phone: +221 77 939 61 79
  • www:
  • Email:

Al Noor Mosque

The elegant white-stone Al Noor Mosque defines the Corniche, and is, perhaps, Sharjah's most famous (of Sharjah's more than 600). It is a place of religious worship and a sight not to miss both inside and out - the mosque is currently the only one open to tourists, offering guided tours to the general public every Monday.

  • Address: Ouakam, Dakar
  • Phone: +221 77 939 61 79
  • www:
  • Email:

Al-Qasba & Eye of the Emirates Wheel

The Al-Qasba neighborhood packs a punch with its many inviting restaurants and cafes, along with a few entertainment venues (such as the Maraya Art Centre - a gallery containing modern art). Water taxis offer trips around the lagoon, and the legendary Eye of the Emirates wheel ride makes for a fascinating journey into the skies above Sharjah.

  • Address: Ouakam, Dakar
  • Phone: +221 77 939 61 79
  • www:
  • Email:

Sharjah Heritage Museum

Despite its compact size, the Sharjah Heritage Museum offers visitors a comprehensive insight into the Emirate's history, culture and traditions - and how those transformed over the past ages. Clothing, musical instruments, coins, pottery and various other artifacts are on display.

  • Address: Ouakam, Dakar
  • Phone: +221 77 939 61 79
  • www:
  • Email:

Shopping

The unmissable shopping venue in Sharjah is the covered Central Souq, also called "Blue Souq" for the sky-blue color of its domes. This souq is Sharjah's largest and busiest, and sells a variety of items ranging from local handicrafts and rugs to gold and jewelry. There are, however, quite a few modern malls in and around Sharjah. These sell items at a fixed price, and often house entertainment centers and even amusement parks.

Blue Souq

The Blue Souq (also known as Central Souq or Souq Al Markazi) is Sharjah's biggest and busiest, with a variety of shops and stalls selling all sorts of handicrafts, clothing, carpets, jewelry and souvenirs. For those not shy to haggle, the souq is a great place to go for bargains - original prices may often be brought down significantly with the right level of persistence.

Sahara Center

A mall frequented by young and old, Sahara Center entices with its "Adventure land" theme park designed to entertain children while parents enjoy the vast variety of shops and stores. There is a cinema, large supermarket and food court with a solid selection of eateries inside.

Souq Al Arsah

Souq Al Arsah is an atmospheric shopping venue in the heart of Sharjah's main Heritage Area. Items one may expect to find range from traditional handicrafts, jewelry and souvenirs to spices and local treats. Haggling is welcome and oftentimes expected.

Essential Information

Sharjah International Airport

Sharjah International Airport is often the point of entry into the UAE for visitors from the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. The airport serves other worldwide destinations, but the majority of tourists usually land in the nearby Emriate of Dubai, making their way to Sharjah from there. The airport is well-connected to both Sharjahitself and Dubai. A shuttle bus that runs every half hour connects the airport to central Sharjah (Rolla). To get to Dubai, travelers can use the public bus number 111, which runs every hour and stops at Al Qusais Bus station, its final destination being Rashidiya Metro Station in Dubai. Taxi services available to both destinations.

Dubai International Airport

Most visitors to Sharjah will probably be entering through the Dubai International Airport if arriving by air. The airport is located in the neighboring Emirate of Dubai, but getting there from Sharjah is possible with public transport. First, travelers may use the inter-Emirate bus line that departs from Al Jabal bus station (next to the Sharjah Fish market and the Sharjah Fruit and Vegetable market, near the Blue Souq). The bus may leave you at Union Square Bus Station, Deira City Centre or Al Gubaiba. The trip lasts about one hour when traffic is low, but may take up to 3 hours during rush hour, so planning ahead is advised. Once in Dubai, travelers can choose between bus and metro to get to the airport. Buses 4, 11, 15, 33, 44 go to Terminal 1, while bus line 2 goes to Terminal 2. Buses stop at multiple locations around Dubai. The Dubai Municipality Pubic buses 401 and 402 also run to the airport. Bus Shuttle buses link the airport to the Ibn Batutta metro station. Public transportation tickets must be bought in advance prior to boarding. Taxi services are widely available both at the airport and from the city.

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