Arabian Sights - Architecture of Sharjah
Enjoying an enviable position overlooking the Persian Gulf, the city of Sharjah makes an interesting choice of holiday location. The third largest city of the United Arab Emirates offers you a wealth of opportunities to immerse yourself in Arabic culture.
In 1998 Sharjah, meaning ‘Rising Sun’, received the honour of being named the ‘Cultural Capital of the Arab World’ by UNESCO and it’s easy to see why. The city takes great pride in ensuring ancient Arabic traditions are kept alive whilst embracing modern development and technology; this is reflected in the architecture of this vibrant city. It’s also been named the ‘Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014’ so there’s never been a better time to visit. Close to Dubai, the city is served by excellent modern transport links and enjoys a lovely sunny climate.
History of Sharjah
The city of Sharjah has been named on maps as far back as 5000 years ago, but evidence of nomadic life dating thousands of years before was uncovered in archaeological digs in the 1950s, further detailing the area’s rich history. The artefacts can be seen on display at the city’s Archaeological Museum. Historically, one of the richest cities in the region the buildings reflect both tradition and wealth and great efforts are made today to ensure that elements of Arabic tradition are weaved into modern architecture. With the discovery of oil in the 1970s the city continues to thrive and expand and the streets contain a contrasting mix of historical buildings and modern skyscrapers.
The Sharjah Resort
With so much to do and see it’s a good idea to choose a hotel location that’s situated close to the sights but also near to the beach so you have time to relax, recharge your batteries and enjoy the warm waters of the Gulf. If you need to unwind but don’t want to spend all day lying on the golden sands there’s lots of beach activities to enjoy including snorkelling and boat trips. The Sharjah Resort is ideally situated on the beachfront and the hotel offers stunning sea views combined with the convenience of being just a short drive to the shopping district of Corniche Street. Full of life and filled with local markets and traditional souks this is the perfect place to practice haggling and buy your holiday souvenirs.
Architecture and Culture in Sharjah
In the Heritage area many homes, government buildings and mosques are being restored using traditional materials and you’ll see buildings adorned with coral, colourful tiles and decorative wood and plaster carvings. Many former residences of trading families have been turned into visitor attractions, a fine example of which is Bait Khalid Bin Ibrahim, a former pearl trader’s home. This makes an interesting visit as you’ll see a style of architecture quite different from other traditional houses. Also worth exploring is Sharjah Hisn Fort which, by contrast, showcases traditional Arabian architecture and artefacts. This double storey fort was built in 1820 and resided in by the then ruling family.
Combine shopping and culture with a visit to a traditional souk. The stunning Blue Souk is the city’s most famous and busy central market filled with antiques, jewellery, carpets and electronics. This structure is a perfect example of a relatively new building, built in 1979, adopting traditional styling. The blue outer walls are decorated using ancient Arabic tile designs in a deliberate effort to recognise Arabian styling from that past.