Just three hour’s drive from Abu Dhabi, Sharjah rewards day-trippers with a host of intriguing sites to explore


Steal away to Sharjah to explore the emirate’s enthralling heritage district

With so much going on in Abu Dhabi and Dubai it’s easy to overlook sleepy Sharjah. The quieter neighbour of the UAE’s two entertainment powerhouses rarely attracts national notice, except once a year when its hosts the annual Sharjah Biennial.The event, which takes place every March, is a celebration of art and creativity in the Arab world and also an opportunity for Sharjah to showcase its headline attraction – culture.

There are more than twenty museums and beautifully restored heritage sites tucked away inside this tiny emirate, making it well worth the three-hour drive from Abu Dhabi.

Inside the emirate’s prize destination, the Heritage District, a trove of cultural treasures awaits exploration, including Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation, Sharjah Calligraphy Museum and Al Hisn Fort alongside a number of restored historic homes, each of which affords a unique and fascinating insight into local life and traditions.

There’s also Souq al-Arash (believed to be the oldest souq in the UAE), while those who want to continue the cultural retail experience can venture beyond the Heritage District to the Blue Souq – one of the UAE’s best places to stock up on souvenirs.

Those who prefer the modern touch can head to Al Qasba, Sharjah’s premier entertainment development complete with shops, restaurants, rides and other attractions set along a canal. The bustling destination, which throngs with families, couples and visitors every weekend, is a symbol of the future for this emirate and a positive sign of its individual appeal as a destination for people looking to explore the best of the UAE.

If you are more into contemporary art, then the Barjeel Art Fundation is a must-visit.  Currently under renovation works, the Barjeel Gallery will re-open in November 2014.

Meantime, have a look at the video the Barjeel Art Fundation released in September 2014 called “Sharjah Timelapse 2014 – Barjeel Art Fundation” that celebrates Sharjah, the Islamic Culture Capital of 2014.








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