As one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sharjah is the third largest Emirate and the only one to have land on both the Arabian Gulf Coast and the Gulf of Oman. The Emirate is a fascinating land of contrasts. Sharjah uniquely combines the old with the new, successfully blending time-honoured traditions and culture with the latest facilities and services available today.
The Emirate of Sharjah has developed a unique reputation as a cultural, heritage and family tourist destination providing visitors with the ideal getaway at any time of the year. Holidaymakers can enjoy a break in the sun, relax on the beach, shop in the traditional souks and modern malls, explore the heritage sites and state of the art museums, admire the beautiful mosques and minarets, stroll around the lagoons, as well as experience the natural beauty of the Arabian desert, the mountains and the seas.
Sharjah has a lively history. Uniquely located on world trade routes and the only Emirate with direct access to both the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, Sharjah has developed from a small trading town, relying on fishing and pearl diving, to one of the most modern, dynamic commercial and trade centers in the region.
From the early days around 5000 years ago, when the first settlement of the city began, the Emirate of Sharjah has always been at the core of regional development. It was the most important port on the lower Arabian Gulf from the time of the early trading with the East into the first half of the 19th century.
Human settlement in Sharjah has existed for over 5,000 years. Historically the emirate was one of the wealthiest towns in the region. Around 1727 the Al Qasimi clan took control of Sharjah and declared the polity independent.
Universities in Sharjah:
On 8 January 1820, Sheikh Sultan I bin Saqr Al Qasimi signed the General Maritime Treaty with Britain, accepting protectorate status in order to resist Ottoman domination. Like four of its neighbours, Ajman, Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah, and Umm al-Qaiwain, its position along trade routes to India made it important enough to be recognized as a salute state.
On 2 December 1971, Sheikh Khalid III bin Muhammad Al Qasimi (Sheikh Khalid III) joined Sharjah to the United Arab Emirates.In 1972 the former ruler Sheikh Saqr staged a leftist coup and killed Khalid III. Saqr was unable to establish his rule and fled. Khalid III's brother, Sultan bin Mohamed Al-Qasimi, an author and historian, came to power. In 1987 Sultan's brother Abdulaziz staged a coup while Sultan was abroad. Huge state debt was stated as the reason. UAE President Zayed vehemently denounced the coup, and a deal was reached for Sultan to be restored, while Abdulaziz would become the Deputy Ruler. Sultan, however, dismissed Abdulaziz quite quickly. In 1999 the Crown Prince (Sultan's eldest son) died of drug addiction while on vacation in their palace in England. Sultan made the decision to testify in front of a UK court. The new Crown Prince was appointed from a remote branch of the Family.
University of Sharjah - the largest university in the emirate, it is accredited by the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque:
The American University of Sharjah (AUS) - established in 1997, it is accredited by the UAE Commission for Academic Accreditation of
the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, as well as the United States Commission on Higher Education of the Middle
States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Troy University ITS Sharjah Campus
Skyline College Sharjah
Sharjah Men's College
Sharjah Women's College
The University City of Sharjah is an educational district in Sharjah City that includes AUS, the University of Sharjah, and the Higher Colleges of Technology (which in turn includes Sharjah Women's College and Sharjah Men's College. The area also includes the Sharjah Library, Police Academy, and the Sharjah Teaching Hospital.
How to reach
International airports in the city of Sharjah include the Sharjah International Airport and Port Khalid.
Sharjah International Airport (IATA: SHJ) has connections to all major international locations. It is 10 kilometres from Sharjah City Centre and about 15 kilometres away from Dubai. It is a major cargo airport and the main base of Air Arabia. The airport served total 4,324,313 passengers and 51,314 flights in 2007. It also handled 570,363 tonnes of cargo in the same year. Over 60,000 aircraft movements were recorded in 2009. It handled 6,634,570 passengers in 2011.
Sharjah International Airport is located 10 kilometres from Sharjah city centre and 15 km from Dubai. As of 2012 it has 34 international carriers and 13 cargo airlines. In 2008, Sharjah International Airport announced it would invest AED662m (US$180m) to renovate the airports buildings, build a new terminal and increase car parking. The project is slated for completion in 2015, by which time the airport aims to be handling eight million passengers annually.
A true destination of distinction, the emirate is developing at a significant rate while keeping a watchful eye on its intriguing past. Whether you are visiting the capital, the eastern city of Al Ain or the western region of Al Gharbia, you will discover a genuine leisure haven, with attractions for every taste.
Sharjah Arts Museum:
So whether you want to experience the speed of the worlds fastest roller-coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi the worlds largest indoor theme park; spend an afternoon at the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, while learning about Abu Dhabis culture and religion; experience Arabia with a trip to the enticing Oasis City of Al Ain the emirates heritage heartland; or marvel at the peaceful Liwa desert, the entrance to the famed Empty Quarter, the worlds largest uninterrupted sand mass with some of the tallest sand dunes on earth the options are as diverse as the terrain
The Sharjah Arts Museum is the largest of its kind in the United Arab Emirates. This state-of-the-art facility opened in 1997 and features a permanent collection as well as temporary art exhibits for local artists.
Sharjah - Central Market:
The permanent collections of the Sharjah Art Museum are exhibited in groups, these valuable pieces of artwork are from the collection of HH Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, The Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. Seventy-two galleries, over three floors, contain oils, watercolors and lithographs. Most of these works are from artists who captured the Arab Orient. Many of the works of art are from 18th C painters who visited the Middle East and were fascinated by the natural environment, architecture and the vigorous culture with discerning fashions.Watercolor paintings by Ali Darwish highlight various areas of Sharjah, the marine environment and Sharjah's historical areas including towers, forts and castles.
The Central Market or Blue Souq, as it is also known because of the lovely blue tiles on the outside walls, is the largest market in Sharjah. The Blue Souq is one of Sharjah's most famous landmarks with its unique Islamic design. It is located on the Khaled Lagoon with over 600 shops.The Central Market has two sections connected with tunnels. In one section, shoppers will find goods, gifts and electronics while the other section features gold, gems and jewelry.The upper floors are popular with tourists because the atmosphere is that of a real bazaar. There are antiques, a large selection of fine rugs, silver jewelry, Omani and Yemeni antique jewelry as well as curios and artifacts.
Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium:
Sharjah Stadium was originally built in the early 1980s and could house 12,000 people but over the years improvements were made. The stadium can now accommodate 27,000 people and has become popular among locals and tourists for hosting cricket games. Although the athletic track means there is more than just cricket offered at the Sharjah Stadium.
Sharjah Islamic Museum:
The open plan of the stadium and the stands being relatively close to the pitch means that fans can be close to the action.Between 1984 and 2003 the Sharjah Stadium was the venue for One Day Internationals featuring three or four international teams.
Sharjah Islamic Museum presents the deep roots in the Arab and Islamic culture. Exhibits within the Islamic Museum include artifacts and manuscripts expressing a distinct Islamic heritage. A number of scientific and religious manuscripts as well as a collection of Islamic arts and crafts are on display. Items of particular note within the Sharjah Islamic Museum are the clay, pottery and glass as well as metallic handicrafts inlayed with silver, gold and brass.
Other collections on display within the Islamic Museum are ornamental tools, jewelry and various Islamic currencies dating to both Abbaside and Omayyad eras.