Sharjah is the arts capital of the United Arab Emirates, and its efforts to preserve the area’s history garnered Sharjah the title of Cultural Capital of the Arab World by UNESCO in 1998. For museum and art lovers, Sharjah is crammed full of excellent sightseeing opportunities. The world-renowned Art Museum is the city’s major tourist attraction and top of most visitors’ things to do list, while the Heritage Area is full of interesting buildings dedicated to Emirati history.
Best Time to Visit
If you are planning a Travel to UAE then best time to visit Sharjah is during the winter months i.e. between October and April.
Top Places to Visit in Sharjah
1. Sharjah Arts Museum
The largest Arts Museum in the United Arab Emirates (for now, until the Louvre and Guggenheim open in Abu Dhabi), this state-of-the-art facility opened in 1997 and features a permanent collection as well as a program of temporary exhibits. Many artworks are by 18th-century painters who visited the Middle East and became fascinated by the natural environment, architecture, and culture. The Ali Darwish gallery contains watercolors of Sharjah. The contemporary section consists of more than 300 works by local, Arab, and foreign artists. If you’re an art-lover on a weekend stopover in Dubai, this is one of the top places to visit.
2. Central Market
Sharjah’s Central Market is the city’s most famous landmark. The intricate blue tile work on the exterior has given it the nickname the Blue Souk. More than 600 shops are inside, where shoppers will find sections devoted to gold and jewelry, perfume, clothing, food, electronics, and gift-type items. The upper floor has the atmosphere of an authentic Arabian bazaar, with vendors selling antiques, carpets, Omani and Yemeni jewelry, and all sorts of other exotic souvenirs. For downtime after shopping exploits, the market area is also home to plenty of cafés.
3. Al Noor Island
This public park, created in Khalid Lagoon and accessed by bridge from the central city Corniche Street, is Sharjah’s top spot if you’re looking for some tranquil downtime to recuperate from shopping and museum exploring. The island blends art and nature into its design and features gardens scattered with modern art sculptures and installations, created by some of the world’s most renowned artists. Perhaps the premier attraction is Al Noor Island’s butterfly house, where an approximate 500 different butterfly species can be seen.
4. Sharjah Archaeology Museum
Sharjah Archaeology Museum has exhibits tracing the wide arcing history of humanity in the area. Displays in the Stone Age section include numerous flint pieces reflecting the technology of that period and old seashells. There are also ornamental gems and pottery shards from the Ubaid period that were found in Al Hamriyah and confirm the trade exchange of this age with Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). The Bronze Age Hall features archaeological finds of pottery, metals, stone, and jewelry, while the Iron Age Hall features two of the museum’s prize pieces: a camel statue and a ceramic dome that both come from the Muweilah archaeological site. The museum has done a good job of making its exhibits user-friendly, and children will be kept entertained by a variety of hands-on games.
5. Khor Kalba Conservation Reserve
Khor Kalba Conservation Reserve is located in south of the village Kalba (most southerly village in the United Arab Emirates), containing the most northerly mangrove forest in the world. This is a bird-watcher’s paradise, especially during spring and autumn migrations. Visitors can spot the rare white-collared kingfishers that breed here as well as reef herons and booted warblers. Trips to the reserve are by hired boat or canoe.