From museums to traditional historic souks and more, here are places you don’t want to miss in the emirate
‘Smile, you’re in Sharjah’ is a phrase rightfully associated with the emirate.
A haven for families, the cultural capital of the UAE is a treasure trove of rich cultural heritage, breathtaking architecture, and immersive experiences.
The vibrant emirate offers a captivating blend of tradition and modernity, enticing travellers from around the world. And with several new upgrades peppered across, one definitely shouldn’t miss some of the cultural gems that have been around for decades.
From awe-inspiring museums to stunning landmarks, Team Yalla has rounded up the best spots for an ultimate guide to exploring the essence of Sharjah.
Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization
Since opening in 1996, this iconic landmark in Sharjah has had several makeovers before coming into the form as we know it today.
Step into a world of Islamic art, culture, and history at this magnificent museum. Guests can explore an impressive collection of manuscripts, calligraphy, ceramics, and artefacts spanning at least 1,400 years.
With seven spacious galleries and designs, it’s the perfect spot to gain insights into the Islamic world’s contributions to science, literature, and civilization through engaging exhibits and interactive displays.
For more information, visit sharjahmuseums.ae/en-US/Museums/Sharjah-Museum-of-Islamic-Civilization
Heart of Sharjah
The largest historical preservation and restoration project in the region, the Heart of Sharjah is a massive to say the least.
Since its opening in 2010, this project has revitalised the heritage district of Sharjah in more ways than one. Old buildings have been restored in addition to constructing new buildings in the traditional Sharjah architectural style. Through the museums, hotels, markets, restaurants, etc, discover the emirate like never before.
For more information, heartofsharjah.ae/
Sharjah Art Foundation
Immerse yourself in the world of contemporary art at the Sharjah Art Foundation.
This cutting-edge cultural institution has long hosted a range of exhibitions, film screenings, performances, and workshops. An architectural landmark in Sharjah since 1975, the structure was recently renovated to create an ideal community hub for friends and family to gather. With facilities including Fen Café, a library, exhibition spaces and multiple screening walls, it’s a must-see.
For more information, visit sharjahart.org/
Souq Al Arsah
One of the oldest souqs in the UAE, Souq Al Arsah has evolved over time to become a popular shopping destination in Sharjah.
At least 150 years old, the souq was initially a marketplace for traders from Persia and other countries. Today, you can find several shops selling souvenirs and clothing, perfumes and more as well as restaurants and cafes.
Additionally, you can also find one of the oldest photographers in the country still housed there, with his shop featuring some rare photos of the UAE’s past.
For more information, visit heartofsharjah.ae/souq-al-arsah.html
Sharjah Calligraphy Museum
This is the only museum in Sharjah dedicated to the art of calligraphy.
If you’ve always found yourself fascinated with the same, you’re in for a treat. Home to over 2,000 pieces of calligraphy that date back to the 15th century, the place regularly holds exhibitions as well.
It’s the perfect opportunity to delve into the history and evolution of Arabic calligraphy through a diverse collection of masterpieces.
For more information, visit sharjahmuseums.ae/en-US/Museums/Sharjah-Calligraphy-Museum
The Central Souk
When you’re thinking about what to do in Sharjah, the Central Souk comes to mind easily. With a well-known blue tile-trimmed facade, the Blue Souk as it’s also known is one of the city’s most photographed buildings.
It’s also symbolic of the history of UAE, featuring prominently on the five-dirham note.
With over 600 shops across two levels, it’s your one stop shop for everything from modern watches and clothing to local trinkets and souvenirs. For decor connoisseurs in particular, this place is a must-visit!
A spectacular building, the Sharjah mosque is the largest in the emirate and one of the largest in the UAE.
Built in the early 20th century, the mosque was built from limestone and sandstone, and reopened in 2019. Being one of the few mosques that allow non-Muslim visits and tours, the place is picturesque, with massive gardens and fantastic water fountains that offer beautiful reflections of the mosque.
Changing colours throughout the day, it’s a stunning spot.
For more information, visit sia.gov.ae/
House of Wisdom
This is one stop you cannot skip in Sharjah. Over 12,000 sqm large and surrounded by serene gardens, House of Wisdom reimagines a traditional library space and expands it into a cultural hub.
From the open spaces to the wide variety of programs and events, it’s a hub for cultures, ideas, and interests to interact in infinite possible ways. While there are certainly endless books to peruse, there are also cafes, interactive spaces, and exhibitions to keep you visiting again and again.
For more information, visit houseofwisdom.ae/
Located in the largest of Sharjah’s east coast cities, the Khorfakken Ampitheatre is the largest open-air theatre in the Middle East.
Inspired by Roman architecture, the space is right beside the sea and therefore much cooler than other spaces even in summers. With a seating capacity for up to 3,600 people, they regularly hold concerts and events.
It’s also right beside the Khorfakkan Waterfalls, making it a perfect addition to the list.
For more information, visit khorfakkanamphitheatre.ae/
Sharjah Fort (Al Hisn)
End your cultural exploration with a visit to the iconic Sharjah Fort, also known as Al Hisn. This historic fortress served as the residence of the ruling Al Qasimi family and now stands as a proud symbol of Sharjah’s heritage.
With intriguing architecture, one must definitely explore the exhibits within its walls, and learn about the emirate’s governance and defence in bygone eras.
For more information, visit sharjahmuseums.ae/en-US/Museums/Sharjah-Fort-(Al-Hisn)
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