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Travel & Tourism

Exploring Sharjah: The Cultural Capital of UAE

Sharjah skyline
Credit: Pixabay/Makalu

Located on the shoreline of the Arabian Gulf, just a short journey from the more famous city of Dubai, lies Sharjah, the cultural capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Despite often being in the shadow of Dubai, Sharjah has come a long way to assert itself as the cultural hotspot in the region, attracting more and more visitors each year. From its thriving arts scene to historical landmarks that are significant to the surrounding area, Sharjah is a city that deserves further exploration. This article will investigate Sharjah, highlighting what has made it such a cultural juncture. No matter what you look for when visiting a city, we're sure you will be satisfied after visiting the incredible Sharjah.


Getting to Sharjah is also relatively simple. The city is home to an international airport, so you'll have plenty of options whether you prefer private jet charter or commercial travel. Similarly, you could fly into Dubai, where an even larger airport exists in the region. You may not even notice when you cross over Dubai when heading to Sharjah due to their proximity; these cities are just a half-hour drive from each other. If you prefer ease and comfort, private air travel is the way to go, especially if you want to avoid the long queues and waiting that's often the case with busy airports.

Getting from A to B in Sharjah is a straightforward process, largely thanks to its modern transportation system. While tourists often choose to either hire a car or take a taxi, there is the option to use the city's bus network, which runs efficiently and is considered quite affordable. Moreover, the recently opened Sharjah Tram has improved things further, providing an even more convenient way to get around the city, ideally linking residential and cultural areas. If you want to head a little further afield, you could head over to Dubai or other cities by taking a short ride on the metro — it is that simple.

Attractions and Landmarks

Ajman fort courtyard, Sharjah
Ajman fort courtyard, Sharjah. Credit: Pixabay/atimedia

While Sharjah may not have Dubai's imposing skyline, it still has buildings that inspire respect and awe. Sharjah's unique landmarks tell a story of how the Emirate came to be. You should watch for the Eye of the Emirates, an enormous observation wheel similar to what can be found in London, which offers incredible views of the city from its location in Al Qasba. If you'd prefer something more historic, you could visit the Al Hisn Fort, built in 1820 in the traditional Emirati architectural style. This fort provides a glimpse into the past, showing how far the region has come in a relatively short time.

Similarly, by the number of high-level educational institutions, you can see how much education means to those in Sharjah. Previously, many students from the Gulf states would choose to continue their studies abroad due to the better level of education. Still, in recent years, this trend appears to be slowing as Sharjah and the surrounding cities continue to invest. You should visit Al Noor Island in Sharjah, where you'll find the perfect blend of art, literature, and nature. If you’re interested in nature and want to visit natural attractions, it's also home to an incredible butterfly sanctuary.

Historical Significance

pearl in a shell
Credit: Pixabay/Schaferle

Sharjah is a city steeped in culture and history, making it a point of interest for those wanting to explore the region's past further. Those running the city have taken steps to carefully preserve Sharjah's past while keeping an eye on the future. The Heart of Sharjah is a heritage project tasked with restoring and rejuvenating the city's Old Town, particularly taking care of its historical buildings and winding alleyways. This initiative aims to attract more tourists to an essential part of the city while also paying respect to its past, tracing its origins as a fishing village to its current status as a critical player in the area.

Additionally, Sharjah is a hotspot for those working in the pearl-driving industry. Archaeologists report that pearl diving has been a tradition in the region for around 7,000 years, making it a significant sector. You should visit the Sharjah Archaeology Museum to learn more about the pearl diving industry and other fascinating history. There, you'll find artifacts dating back centuries, all the way back to the Bronze Age, providing a unique insight into the region's history.

Booking a Trip to Sharjah

Sharjah is regarded by many as being the best-kept secret in the United Arab Emirates. Despite being dwarfed by cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Sharjah is still a significant city in the region.  As the cultural epicenter of the UAE, Sharjah's appeal lies in its ability to effortlessly mix tradition with modernity, offering a truly enriching experience for every visitor.

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