Theme Week United Arab Emirates – Emirate of Sharjah

Friday, 23 February 2018 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  8 minutes

Buhairah Corniche © Basil D Soufi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Buhairah Corniche © Basil D Soufi/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Emirate of Sharjah is one of the seven emirates. The emirate covers 2,590 square kilometres (1,000 sq mi) and has a population of over 1.4 million. The emirate of Sharjah comprises the capital city of Sharjah, after which it is named, and other minor towns and exclaves such as Kalba, Dibba Al-Hisn and Khor Fakkan. The emirate is a constitutional monarchy. It has been ruled by Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi since 1972. Sharjah is the third largest emirate in the United Arab Emirates, and is the only one to have land on both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The emirate covers 2,590 square kilometres (1,000 sq mi) which is equivalent to 3.3 per cent of the UAE’s total area, excluding the islands. Sharjah City borders Dubai to the south and Ajman to the north, and the three form a conurbation. The city lies some 170 kilometers away from the UAE capital city Abu Dhabi. Sharjah also encompasses some important oasis areas, the most famous of which is the fertile Dhaid region, where a range of vegetables and fruits are cultivated.

Sharjah has two main free trade zones: the seaport and free trade zone of Hamriyah and the Sharjah Airport International Free Trade Zone (SAIF Zone). The Hamriyah Free Zone Authority was established by an Emiri decree issued on November 12, 1995 and consists of a port and associated logistics and trade facilities. Also established in 1995, the SAIF Zone is adjacent to Sharjah International Airport and is currently home to some 2,500 companies. The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority was established by decree in 1996 to “promote commercial and tourism activities” in the emirate. The state-backed authority is responsible for, among other things, creating policies for local and international exhibitions and marketing Sharjah to attract foreign investment and tourists. The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) was established in 2009 as an independent government body to “oversee the social, cultural, environmental and economic development of Sharjah in line with its Islamic identity.” It focuses on three areas for the emirate; investment, development, and asset and property management. Shurooq’s developments include:

  • Al Qasba – 10,0000-acre project including a 1 km-long man-made canal and 60 m high observation wheel, it was made open for the public in 2005. It includes Masrah Al Qasba, a theatre, the Maraya Art Centre, the Multaqa Al Qasba meetings and conference centre and a children’s Fun Zone. The project, managed by the Al Qasba Development Authority (an affiliate of Shurooq) has an architectural design including pedestrian bridges, boats, and lagoons. It attracted two million visitors in 2011.
  • Al Majaz Waterfront – Shurooq opened the Al Majaz Waterfront in December 2011 after redeveloping it. The new park, located between Jamal Abdul Nasser Street and Khalid Lagoon Corniche, covers an area of three km2 for recreation, including six new buildings with restaurants and a 100 m tall water fountain.
  • Heart of Sharjah – The Heart of Sharjah, slated for completion in January 2015, has been proposed by Shurooq as a tourist and trade destination with commercial, cultural and residential projects as well as hotel, archaeological sites, museums and commercial space.
  • The Chedi Khorfakkan Resort – The Chedi Khorfakkan is under construction an hour outside of Sharjah city centre. Shurooq has stated that once complete, the project will include a tourist resort and a fort on the Al Suwifa Mountain.

Night time © flickr.com - marviikad/cc-by-sa-2.0 Sharjah Heritage Area © flickr.com - yeowatzup/cc-by-2.0 © flickr.com - marviikad/cc-by-sa-2.0. Souq Al Markaz at night © Nithin bolar k/cc-by-sa-4.0 Sharjah city skyline © Mueed Ahmed/cc-by-sa-4.0 Buhairah Corniche © Basil D Soufi/cc-by-sa-3.0 Blue Souk © flickr.com - yeowatzup/cc-by-2.0 Al Khan Lagoon by night © Wurzelgnohm
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Sharjah Heritage Area © flickr.com - yeowatzup/cc-by-2.0
Conservative Sharjah is the only Emirate in the UAE in which the sale of alcohol is prohibited, although its consumption in one’s own home is permissible if one is in possession of a valid Alcohol Licence (as is the transportation of alcohol between the place of sale and the home). The only place this prohibition is relaxed is the members-only sporting club, the Sharjah Wanderers. Sharjah also maintains the strictest decency laws in the UAE, introduced in 2001, with a conservative dress code required for both men and women. Mixing between unmarried men and women is illegal: “A man and a woman who are not in a legally acceptable relationship should not be alone in public places, or in suspicious times or circumstances,” according to a booklet published by the municipality in 2001.

The city of Sharjah contains the main administrative and commercial centers, as well as a number of cultural institutions including several museums. Distinctive landmarks are the two major covered souks, reflecting Islamic design; a number of recreational areas and public parks such as Al Jazeirah Fun Park and Al Buheirah Corniche at the waterfront. The city is also notable for numerous mosques. Sharjah has long invested considerable resources in building a strong cultural identity and heritage and was named in 1998 as UNESCO’s Arab Capital of Culture, an event commemorated by a large pillar erected opposite the Sharjah Desert Park and Arabian Wildlife Centre between Sharjah and Dhaid cities. Sharjah was also named as Islamic Culture Capital 2014 by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), a specialized institution of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the fields of Education, Science and Culture. This is commemorated by a (smaller) pillar mounted to the front of Sharjah’s University City. The Sharjah Art Foundation works on a broad range of contemporary art and cultural programmes to the communities of Sharjah, the UAE and the region, including the Sharjah Biennial which first took place in 1993. Founded in 2009, SAF also organises the annual March Meeting, residencies, production grants, commissions, exhibitions, research, publications and a growing art collection as well as a number of education and public programmes. Sharjah Art Foundation is funded by the Department of Culture and Information. The city has 16 museums. Sharjah’s Ruler, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad al Qasimi, established the Sharjah Museums Department, an independent department affiliated to the Ruler’s Office, in 2006. The Sharjah Light Festival (SCTDA) is a nightly art exhibit with local and international artists that takes place in public places. The festival, which is the first event of its kind in the region, runs for ten nights in the month of February using the latest graphics and lighting techniques and 3-D technology. The festival takes place in 14 locations across the emirate offering a unique combination of light and music to create innovative three-dimensional designs on mosques, key landmarks and heritage buildings.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Emirate of Sharjah, Gulf News, 16 March 2021: In pictures: Sharjah’s all-new shopping mall aims for experiences, Wikivoyage Emirate of Sharjah and Wikipedia Emirate of Sharjah. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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