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Sharjah

Sharjah
ٱلشَّارقَة
Sharjah
Clockwise from top:
Al Khan Lagoon, Heritage District, Al-Noor Mosque, Cultural Palace, Blue Souk, Al-Qasba Canal
Coat of arms of Sharjah
Sharjah is located in United Arab Emirates
Sharjah
Sharjah
Location of Sharjah in the UAE
Sharjah is located in Persian Gulf
Sharjah
Sharjah
Location within the Persian Gulf
Coordinates: 25°21′27″N 55°23′27″E / 25.35750°N 55.39083°E / 25.35750; 55.39083
CountryUnited Arab Emirates
EmirateEmirate of Sharjah
Government
 • TypeAbsolute monarchy
 • SheikhSultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi
Area
 • Metro
235.5 km2 (90.9 sq mi)
Population
 (2022–23)
 • Metropolis1,800,000[1]
GDP
 • TotalUS$ 58.9 billion (2023)
 • Per capitaUS$ 32,100 (2023)

Sharjah (/ˈʃɑːrə/; Arabic: ٱلشَّارقَة aš-Šāriqah, Gulf Arabic: aš-Šārja[3]) is the third-most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is the capital of the Emirate of Sharjah and forms part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area.

Sharjah is the capital of the eponymous emirate. The emirate shares legal, political, military and economic functions with the other emirates of the UAE within a federal framework, although each emirate has jurisdiction over some functions such as civil law enforcement and provision and upkeep of local facilities. Sharjah has been ruled by the Al Qasimi dynasty since the 18th century.

The city is a center for culture and industry, and alone contributes 7.4% of the GDP of the United Arab Emirates.[4] The city covers an approximate area of 235 km2 and has a population of over 1,800,000 (2022-2023).[1] The sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in the emirate of Sharjah without possession of an alcohol license and alcohol is not served in hotels, restaurants or other outlets in Sharjah, due to the Muslim majority in the area. This has helped Sharjah increase the number of Islamic tourists who visit the country.[5] Sharjah has been officially named as a WHO healthy city.[6] The 2016 edition of QS Best Student Cities ranked Sharjah as the 68th best city in the world to be a university student.[7] Sharjah is regarded as the cultural capital of the UAE,[8][9] and was the Islamic culture capital of 2014[10] and Sharjah World Book Capital for 2019 by UNESCO.[11]

On 1 January 2022, Sharjah made history when its public sector adopted a four-day working week and a three-day weekend, becoming the first government sector in the Gulf region and the entire Middle East to fully adopt a four-day working week.[12]

Etymology

The origin of the name of Sharjah is unknown, with most common interpretations linking the origin of the word Sharjah to the word sharq (Arabic: شَرْق, lit.'east') due to the fact that the city is located to the east of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and that Sharjah was the easternmost settlement at the time.[13]

However, other interpretations have disputed the origin of the name based on location, and suggested instead that it refers to the word shurūq (Arabic: شُروق, lit.'sunrise'). Further theories have linked the name to a pre-Islamic idol called Abed Al Shareq that transformed into Sharjah. The origin of the word has also been linked to the Andalusi Arabic usage of the word, which was used to refer to a fort.[14]

History

An old door in Sharjah, displaying the historical architecture of the city.

Sharjah was historically one of the wealthiest towns in this region with a settlement in existence for over 5000 years.[15] In the early 18th century, the Huwayla tribe of the Qawasim clan established itself in Sharjah c. 1727, declaring Sharjah independent. On 8 January 1820, Sheikh Sultan I signed the General Maritime Treaty with Britain, accepting a protectorate to keep the Ottoman Turks out. Like its neighbors Ajman, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, and Umm Al Quwain, Sharjah's position on the route to India made it important enough to be recognized as a salute state (be it of the lowest class: 3 guns).

In 1829, English author and traveler James Silk Buckingham described Sharjah as such:

"In the course of the night, we had passed the port of Sharjee, on the Arabian coast, which is not an island, Niebuhr's chart, the only one in which it is inserted; but a small town, on a sandy beach, containing from five to six hundred inhabitants. It is situated in lat. 25° 34' north, and lies eleven leagues south-west of a small island, close to the shore, called Jeziret-el-Hamra; and three leagues south-west of Sharjee is Aboo Hayle."[16]

By the turn of the 20th century, Sharjah extended inland to the area now known as Wasit Suburb, the area between the city and Dhaid being under the control of the tribes of the interior. With some 15,000 inhabitants, Sharjah had some 4 or 5 shops in Layyah and a bazaar of some 200 shops in Sharjah proper.[17]

At the height of World War II, Nazi propaganda infiltrated the town. Loud transmissions of pro-Hitler speeches could be heard emanating from the Sheikh of Sharjah's palace during a period in 1940, and messages sharing a similar sentiment had been graffitied on walls in the town center according to British intelligence reports at the time. Because the message being propagated by the Germans was one of anti-imperialism, it found a sympathetic audience among some of the emirate's populace, particularly Abdullah bin Faris, a secretary of the Sheikh who was responsible for the broadcasts. After the Sheikh was confronted by the British, he wrote a letter reiterating his support for the British war efforts and disputed the charges laid out against bin Faris. Attached to the letter was a petition signed by 48 prominent individuals testifying to bin Faris' character, which, according to the British, had been misrepresented to the signees. The incident resolved after the Sheikh and bin Faris ceased transmitting propaganda and doubled down on their support of the British.[18]

On 2 December 1971, Sharjah, together with Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Umm Al Qawain, and Fujairah joined in the Act of Union to form the United Arab Emirates. The seventh emirate, Ras al-Khaimah, joined the UAE on 10 February 1972 following Iran's annexation of Ras al-Khaimah's Tunbs islands.[citation needed]

Like the other former Trucial States, Sharjah's name is known by many stamp collectors because of the large numbers of stamps that were issued by the Sharjah Post Office shortly before the formation of the United Arab Emirates. These became part of a class of virtually worthless stamps known to collectors as Dunes.[19] Many of these items feature subjects unrelated to the emirates whose names they bear, and therefore many catalogs do not list them.[20]

Districts and landmarks

Sharjah City in the Northwest of the Emirate
Sharjah City is statistically subdivided into 32 districts. This includes Sir Abu Nu’ayr island to the Southwest, and the Iran-controlled island of Abu Musa to the Northeast. The map does not show the two latter island districts.
District
بلديات
Name
DMG
Arabic Area
km²[21]
Population
2017[21]
Density[21] Coordinates remarks
Al Nahda quarter ... حي النهدة‎ 1,67 106103 63513 25°17′51″N 55°22′31″E / 25.2975°N 55.3753°E / 25.2975; 55.3753 (Al Nahda quarter) smallest, most dense
Al Majaz ... ضاحية المجاز‎ 3,34 116503 34837 25°19′36″N 55°23′07″E / 25.3266°N 55.3854°E / 25.3266; 55.3854 (Al Majaz) historic Downtown
Al Gharb ... حي الغرب‎ 1,81 61564 33974 25°21′42″N 55°23′33″E / 25.3617°N 55.3925°E / 25.3617; 55.3925 (Al Gharb) municipal headquarters
Al Qasimiah ... حي القاسمية‎ 4,88 159723 32721 25°21′14″N 55°23′41″E / 25.3538°N 55.3948°E / 25.3538; 55.3948 (Al Qasimiah)
Al Sharq ... حي الشرق‎ 4,83 100548 20838 25°21′40″N 55°23′50″E / 25.3612°N 55.3971°E / 25.3612; 55.3971 (Al Sharq)
Al Seneyat ... الصناعيات‎ 31,66 340376 10753 25°17′33″N 55°24′47″E / 25.2925°N 55.413°E / 25.2925; 55.413 (Al Seneyat)
Al Jazeera suburb ... ضاحية الجزيرة 9,23 98698 10692 25°19′59″N 55°22′16″E / 25.3331°N 55.3712°E / 25.3331; 55.3712 (Al Jazeera suburb)
Tugariet Muwaileh ... تجارية مويلح‎ 12,23 96926 7926 25°18′47″N 55°26′57″E / 25.313°N 55.4492°E / 25.313; 55.4492 (Tugariet Muwaileh)
Al Riqah suburb ... ضاحية الرقة‎ 9,09 39414 4337 25°21′39″N 55°25′24″E / 25.3608°N 55.4233°E / 25.3608; 55.4233 (Al Riqah suburb)
Halwan suburb ... ضاحية حلوان‎ 5,79 19389 3350 25°20′26″N 55°25′44″E / 25.3406°N 55.4289°E / 25.3406; 55.4289 (Halwan suburb)
Al Hyrah Suburb ... ضاحية الحيرة‎ 5,73 18713 3268 25°23′24″N 55°24′51″E / 25.3901°N 55.4141°E / 25.3901; 55.4141 (Al Hyrah Suburb)
Mughaider suburb ... ضاحية مغيدر‎ 8,35 23578 2826 25°19′24″N 55°26′23″E / 25.3233°N 55.4397°E / 25.3233; 55.4397 (Mughaider suburb)
Wasit suburb ... ضاحية واسط‎ 12,07 20758 1720 25°21′56″N 55°26′53″E / 25.3655°N 55.448°E / 25.3655; 55.448 (Wasit suburb)
Muwaiih suburb ... ضاحية مويلح‎ 25,79 30074 1167 25°16′38″N 55°31′19″E / 25.2772°N 55.522°E / 25.2772; 55.522 (Muwaiih suburb)
Al Sajaah ... الصجعة‎ 55,16 53079 963 25°17′12″N 55°39′03″E / 25.2868°N 55.6509°E / 25.2868; 55.6509 (Al Sajaah)
Al Ruqa Al Hamra ... الرقعة الحمراء‎ 32,88 19214 584 25°19′07″N 55°30′50″E / 25.3185°N 55.5139°E / 25.3185; 55.5139 (Al Ruqa Al Hamra)
University City ... المدينة الجامعية‎ 13,39 4241 317 25°17′24″N 55°29′02″E / 25.2899°N 55.484°E / 25.2899; 55.484 (University City)
Rahmaniyah suburb ... ضاحية الرحمانية‎ 39,21 9052 231 25°21′07″N 55°33′05″E / 25.352°N 55.5515°E / 25.352; 55.5515 (Rahmaniyah suburb)
Basaten Al Zubair ... بساتين الزبير‎ 12,64 769 61 25°23′15″N 55°36′37″E / 25.3875°N 55.6102°E / 25.3875; 55.6102 (Basaten Al Zubair)
Al Budaiya suburb ... ضاحية البديع‎ 41,04 2427 59 25°16′45″N 55°31′24″E / 25.2793°N 55.5234°E / 25.2793; 55.5234 (Al Budaiya suburb)
Khalid Sea Port ... ميناء خالد‎ 2,23 120 54 25°21′50″N 55°22′39″E / 25.364°N 55.3775°E / 25.364; 55.3775 (Khalid Sea Port)
Al Siyuh suburb ... ضاحية السيوح‎ 33,36 1793 54 25°12′56″N 55°37′33″E / 25.21568°N 55.62583°E / 25.21568; 55.62583 (Al Siyuh suburb)
Al Zubair ... الزبير‎ 15,7 674 43 25°23′39″N 55°38′24″E / 25.3942°N 55.6401°E / 25.3942; 55.6401 (Al Zubair)
Kaya Masaar ... ضاحية المنازل‎ 9,05 269 30 25°16′03″N 55°38′28″E / 25.2676°N 55.6412°E / 25.2676; 55.6412 (Kaya Masaar)
Al Jlail ... الجليل‎ 11,82 135 11 25°21′19″N 55°38′15″E / 25.3554°N 55.6376°E / 25.3554; 55.6376 (Al Jlail)
Al Shnouf ... الشنوف‎ 24,21 151 6 25°23′21″N 55°43′35″E / 25.3891°N 55.7265°E / 25.3891; 55.7265 (Al Shnouf)
Suburb of Jweza ... ضاحية جويزع‎ 13,85 61 4 25°16′22″N 55°36′28″E / 25.2729°N 55.6079°E / 25.2729; 55.6079 (Suburb of Jweza)
Mehathab ... مهذب‎ 15,68 38 2 25°24′17″N 55°38′33″E / 25.4047°N 55.6424°E / 25.4047; 55.6424 (Mehathab)
Al Tayy suburb ... ضاحية الطي‎ 9,45 10 1 25°12′50″N 55°37′51″E / 25.21376°N 55.6308°E / 25.21376; 55.6308 (Al Tayy suburb)
Al Sidairah ... السديره‎ 11,07 0 0 25°20′18″N 55°40′47″E / 25.3382°N 55.6796°E / 25.3382; 55.6796 (Al Sidairah)
Sir Abu Nu'ayr Abū Ṣīr Nuʿair جزيرة صير أبو نعير‎ 13,23 30 2 25°13′34″N 54°14′17″E / 25.226°N 54.238°E / 25.226; 54.238 (2) remote island
Abu Musa ... جزيرة أبو موسى‎ 12,88 43 3 25°52′59″N 55°01′05″E / 25.883°N 55.018°E / 25.883; 55.018 (3) Iran-occupied island
Sharjah City Madīnat aš-Šāriqa مدينة الشارقة‎ 493,80 1324473 2684
Panoramic view of Downtown Sharjah
Eye of the Emirates, a 60-metre (200 ft) tall Ferris wheel at Al Qasba.[22] Moved to Al Montazah Parks in 2018.[23]
Map of Sharjah's districts

Sharjah is the third largest city in the United Arab Emirates after Dubai and Abu Dhabi.[24] The palace of the ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, is located about 20 kilometres (12 mi) southeast of the city.

The city of Sharjah overlooks the Persian Gulf and has a population of over 1,600,000 (2022). It contains the main administrative centres of the Government of Sharjah alongside commercial, cultural and traditional projects. The city hosts several museums of archaeology, natural history, science, arts, heritage, Islamic art and culture.[25] Distinctive landmarks include two major covered souks, reflecting Islamic design, and a number of recreational areas and public parks such as Al Montazah Fun Park and Al Buheirah Corniche. The city is also notable for its numerous elegant mosques.[26]

Downtown Sharjah

Downtown Sharjah or Sharjah City, Al Majaz is a large-scale, mixed-use complex in Sharjah

Rolla Sharjah

Situted east of Khalid lake Rolla Sharjah stands out as a prominent community within the city and as an historically and significant landmark within the city of Sharjah. The neighborhood derives its name from a historic banyan tree that once flourished in the area. Rolla is an integral part of the Al Ghuwair development.[27]

Muwaileh Commercial

Muwaileh Commercial is a Suburb, Community city and residential area in Sharjah, with direct access to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (E311) and Maliha Road. It borders Industrial Area 15 and 17 to the south, and is near the University City of Sharjah.[28]

Rolla Square

Named after the large rolla (banyan tree) that once stood in the square,[29] which inspired the sculpture at the center of the park, Rolla Square is a common location for people to stroll, unwind and enjoy the tranquil environment during the weekends.[30]

Bank Street

Bank street is located near the main area of Rolla, with many bank branches and offices are located on the street. The street has an urban park that is unique as local residents were invited to nominate significant urban features — like benches, trees, playgrounds, and signage — from various cities worldwide that hold personal meaning for them, representing anything from remarkable stories to fleeting memories. These objects were selected from the residents' home countries or places they encountered during their travels. They were either replicated in exact 1:1 scale or purchased and transported to the designated site.[31][32]

Al Hisn Sharjah

Al Hisn, also known as Sharjah Fort was a fortified complex built in 1823 as the headquarters of the then-independent Emirate of Sharjah and the residence of the Al Qasimi family. Situated in the center of the city, it was closed for renovations from 1996 to 2015, when it reopened its doors as an open-air museum under the administration of the Sharjah Museums Authority.[33]

'Smile You're in Sharjah' Roundabout

Located between the Blue Souq and Fish Market, near the Union Bank Tower, the floral call to cheer up etched on the roundabout has lent its name to the roundabout itself. 'Smile, you’re in Sharjah' is a welcome sign, spelled out in flowers in the middle of a roundabout notorious for its rush-hour traffic jams. [34]

Gold Souq

The Souq Al Markazi, or Gold Souq (Arabic: سوق, lit.'market'), stands as Sharjah premier shopping destination and comprises a gold souq, clothing souq, and antiques and jewellery shops. It stands out due to its designe by British architects Michael Lyle & Partners under the guidance of Sharjah's ruler, HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the building was completed in 1978. Its architecture evokes a grand-scale traditional bazaar. Situated along the Khalid Lagoon, it offers a stunning view at sunset, reflecting its beauty across the water.[35]

Mahatta Fort

Mahatta Fort, now known as the Al Mahatta Museum, is a museum on the site of the first airport built in the region in 1932 by Imperial Airways. The accompanying fort was constructed by then-Ruler of Sharjah Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi as a rest stop for travelling crew and for protection against any potential attacks.[36][37] The fort and airport were used extensively by the Royal Air Force during World War II, and after the war the fort became the headquarters of the Trucial Oman Scouts.[38] The airport remained in use until 1977 when Sharjah International Airport opened. The runway strip was converted into a highway and the buildings were renovated into Al Mahatta Museum, which opened in 2000.[38]

The Heart of Sharjah

Sharjah Heritage District

The Heart of Sharjah is an ongoing[needs update] renovation and preservation project of the former old city center of Sharjah.[39] The project aims to develop the former old city center into an open-air museum with various smaller museums, galleries and commercial centers. The project is home to a 5-star hotel and the traditional Souk Al Arsa, a covered souk with an array of items for sale, including antiques.[40]

Al Qasba Canal

Al-Qasba Canal is a 1-kilometer-long canal that runs through the center of Sharjah. Located along its waterfront are several apartments, shops, and tourist attractions of the Al Qasba community.[41]

Sharjah Heritage Museum

The Sharjah Heritage Museum is situated near to the Bait Al Naboodah, just opposite Souq Al Arsah. It is built around a shaded courtyard as a reconstruction of traditional family life. There are many rooms which have displays of traditional furniture along with household items including children's costumes, toys, and jewellery.

Sharjah National Park

Sharjah National Park spanning nearly 630,000 sq ft (59,000 m2) is the city's largest green space, offering a wide range of attractions ideal for families. Popular among both locals and tourists, it features amenities such as barbecue areas with picnic tables and grilling stations, a playground with swings and slides under sheltering canopies, and a duck pond. Additionally, visitors can explore cycling tracks and a miniature clay model of Sharjah's landmarks, and there's a small mosque for prayers nearby[42]

Sharjah Aquarium

Sinced its opening in 2008 Sharjah's Aquarium that is located in Al Layyeh, has become an atraction to adults and children. Managed by the Sharjah Museums Authority, renowned for its educational initiatives, the aquarium features 20 tanks across two floors, housing diverse sea creatures in a sprawling 6,500 square meter space. Ready to explore? Here's everything you should know about this captivating attraction.[43]

Al Noor Island

Aerial view of Al Noor Island
Inside Al Noor island with Sharjah skyline in the back

Al Noor Island is located in the Khalid Lagoon covering an area of 45,470 m2 (489,400 sq ft). It is designed to offers a serene escape from city life, boasting stunning lighting displays, art sculptures, and a tranquil Literature Pavilion such as the 'OVO' and 'Torus' displays. The island's peaceful ambiance, complemented by the soothing sound of waves and meditative music, enhances the overall experience, making it an ideal family-friendly destination with playgrounds and ample seating.[44]

Maryam Island

Maryam Island is a beachfront destination that oversees the Arabian sea. It's one of the largest projects in the emirate with an investment of 2.4 billion Dirhams (US$650M).[45] Waterside development is planned to spread across 460,000 m2 (5,000,000 sq ft), with a built-up area of 310,000 m2 (3,300,000 sq ft).[46][47]

Wildlife Centers

The Arabian Wildlife Center opened in 1999 and was home to more than 100 species of animals. Situated at a convenient location, this center was quite close to the Sharjah International Airport. Despite the hot and dry conditions in most of Arabia, there were a number of mammal species adapted to these conditions.[48] The Breeding Centre for Endangered Wildlife, a sister facility,[49] was a member of the EAZA, like Al Ain Zoo in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi,[50] but is now closed to the public.[51] The fauna, including the Arabian leopard, which have been recorded in the mountains in the eastern part of the country,[49] were transferred to Al Hefaiyah Conservation Centre in the eastern area of Kalba.[52] In 2001, The center assisted Yemeni zoos in Sana'a and Ta'izz with the management of their animals.[49]

Al Majaz Waterfront

Al Majaz Waterfront is a leisure area, a waterfront landmark of Sharjah Featuring an audio-video dancing fountain, miniature golf and a number of restaurants. At a distance of 1 km from Blue Souk, 18 km from Sharjah International Airport and 14 km from Dubai International Airport.[53]

In 2023 a redevelopment project was done involving a complete overhaul of the park, including the installation of a new irrigation system, construction of new walking paths, children's play areas, and a parking plot valued around 5.5 million AED taking 6 months to complete.[54]

Rain Room

Rain Room, an experiential artwork created by Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass of Random International in 2012, was permanently installed for the first time in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, in 2018. This artwork allows people to visit the installation and walk through a rain downpour without getting wet, as their movement in darkened spaces is detected by motion sensors. The Sharjah Art Foundation constructed a purpose-built visitor center located in the city's residential area of Al Majarrah to house the permanent installation of Rain Room.[55][56]

The Flying Saucer

Reconstructed in 2015 and launched as a redeveloped arts and community center in 2020, The Flying Saucer, Sharjah is a brutalist building dating back to the 1970s. It was re-opened after a two-year renovation project by the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF).[57]

Sharjah Light Festival

The Sharjah Light Festival is held every year since 2010 on various landmarks around Sharjah. It is a display of lights using projectors and lasers on buildings. Usually, the shows have a small storyline or a theme.[58][59]

Places of worship

Sharjah's largest mosque, the "Sharjah Mosque"[60][61] was inaugurated in May 2019. Located in the area of Tay, at the junction of the Emirates Road and the road to Mleiha, it can accommodate up to 25,000 worshipers, with an interior capacity of over 5,000 people.[62] Two coins, one gold and one silver, each inscribed with a verse from the Quran, were issued by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, and designed by the Sharjah Islamic Bank, to commemorate the occasion.[63] Previously, the King Faisal Mosque, named after King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, had been the largest in the Emirate[64] and country,[citation needed] with an area of 10,000–12,000 m2 (110,000–130,000 sq ft).[65][66]

In 1997, a Syriac Orthodox church, St. Mary's Jacobite Syrian Soonoro Patriarchal Cathedral, was consecrated to accommodate a growing population of Syriac Christians, many of whom are migrant workers from Kerala and southern India.[67]

Al Rahmaniyah Parks

In March 2021, the Sharjah Investment and Development authorities opened two parks in Al Rahmaniyah, Kshisha and Shaghrafa, built in a total area of 147,700 m2 (1,590,000 sq ft). It included a female-only park, along with entertainment, social, sports and educational facilities.[68]

House of Wisdom

In December 2020, Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi inaugurated a library inspired by the original House of Wisdom in Baghdad. The building was designed by Foster and Partners, extending over 12,000 m2 (130,000 sq ft).[69] On the grounds of the library is a large art piece entitled "The Scroll", a contemporary interpretation of the ancient Arabic scrolls, made by Gerry Judah. It was made to celebrate the Emirate of Sharjah being named the UNESCO World Book Capital for 2019.[70]

Climate

Sharjah has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh), with warm winters and extremely hot summers. The average daytime temperature during the summer ranges between 38 °C (100 °F) to 42 °C (108 °F), and occasionally on some days where temperatures exceed 45 °C (113 °F) mainly occurring during the hottest months of July and August. During winter, the average daytime temperature rarely exceeds 30 °C (86 °F). Rainfall is generally light and erratic, and occurs almost entirely from November to July. About two-thirds of the year's rain falls in the months of February and March.[71]

Climate data for Sharjah (Sharjah International Airport) 1991-2020
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.5
(90.5)
38.7
(101.7)
42.5
(108.5)
44.6
(112.3)
46.9
(116.4)
48.5
(119.3)
49.3
(120.7)
48.5
(119.3)
47.7
(117.9)
43.0
(109.4)
37.7
(99.9)
33.9
(93.0)
49.3
(120.7)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 24.8
(76.6)
26.5
(79.7)
29.6
(85.3)
34.9
(94.8)
39.7
(103.5)
41.9
(107.4)
42.9
(109.2)
42.9
(109.2)
40.7
(105.3)
36.9
(98.4)
31.4
(88.5)
26.9
(80.4)
34.9
(94.9)
Daily mean °C (°F) 18.5
(65.3)
19.9
(67.8)
22.7
(72.9)
27.1
(80.8)
31.4
(88.5)
33.7
(92.7)
35.5
(95.9)
35.3
(95.5)
32.6
(90.7)
29.0
(84.2)
24.4
(75.9)
20.5
(68.9)
27.6
(81.6)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 12.8
(55.0)
13.8
(56.8)
16.3
(61.3)
19.7
(67.5)
23.7
(74.7)
26.5
(79.7)
29.2
(84.6)
28.9
(84.0)
25.9
(78.6)
22.2
(72.0)
18.1
(64.6)
14.5
(58.1)
21.0
(69.7)
Record low °C (°F) 3.4
(38.1)
2.5
(36.5)
5.8
(42.4)
10.9
(51.6)
13.0
(55.4)
17.8
(64.0)
21.7
(71.1)
22.2
(72.0)
18.4
(65.1)
12.3
(54.1)
8.1
(46.6)
4.9
(40.8)
2.5
(36.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 22.4
(0.88)
12.2
(0.48)
23.2
(0.91)
4.8
(0.19)
0.1
(0.00)
0.5
(0.02)
2.9
(0.11)
0.022
(0.00)
0.3
(0.01)
2.1
(0.08)
6.9
(0.27)
18.2
(0.72)
93.7
(3.69)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 2.9 2.6 3.6 1.6 1.5 1.0 1.7 0.0 2.0 1.0 1.9 2.8 22.6
Average relative humidity (%) 69.0 68.0 64.0 56.0 51.0 56.0 54.0 57.0 62.0 64.0 64.0 69.0 61.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 235.1 230.7 265.4 296.3 333.1 307.3 319.0 302.6 279.8 286.5 251.8 229.5 3,337.1
Source 1: NOAA (humidity 1977–1991)[72][73]
Source 2: National Center of Meteorology Climate Yearly Report 2003-2019[74]

Transport

Sharjah Airport

Development of transportation services in Sharjah is a critical long-term task. Planned by the SPTC since 2008, the Sharjah Metro[75][76] will be the third metro system in the UAE after the Dubai Metro and the Abu Dhabi Metro. The Sharjah Tram has been planned since 2015,[77] and will be the second tram system in the country after the Dubai Tram.

Air

The Sharjah International Airport is the third-largest Middle East airfreight hub in cargo tonnage, according to official 2015 statistics from Airports Council International.[citation needed] Sharjah International Airport is the home base of Air Arabia, a low-cost carrier.

The first international flight in Sharjah landed on 5 October 1932 in the Mahatta Fort airstrip as part of a refueling stop on Imperial Airways's India–Britain route. The former airport hosted a cinema, hotel, and a restaurant, and would eventually become a Royal Air Force military base until the UAE's independence in 1971. Mahatta Fort was the main international airport for the city until 1976, when traffic moved to Sharjah International Airport.[78]

Road

There are two major series of highways in Sharjah, which are "E" and "S". E represents roads connecting other emirates, and S for roads within the emirate.

The major roads in Sharjah include:

  • E 88: Al Dhaid Road, connecting to the Emirate of Fujairah.
  • E 102: Sharjah–Kalbah Road, connecting to Fujairah and Kalba.
  • E 311: Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, connecting to Dubai, Ajman and Ras al-Khaimah.
  • E 11: Al Ittihad Road, connecting to Dubai.
  • E 611: Emirates Road, connecting to Dubai, Ajman and Ras Al-Khaimah
  • S 12: Maliha Road.[citation needed]

Taxi

Emirates Cab

The Sharjah Public Transportation Corporation is organizing and supervising the operations of taxis in Sharjah Emirate. Sharjah taxi service is provided through franchise companies. Following are the major taxi operators in the emirates. If you go from one emirate to another taxi drivers will charge 20 dirhams more with the rent. They cover all parts of the Emirate and cities, including shopping centers, residential areas and airport.

  • Sharjah Taxi: Sharjah City and Eastern Regions.
  • Emirates Cab: Sharjah City.
  • City Taxi: Sharjah City and Eastern Regions.
  • Union Taxi: Sharjah City.
  • Advantage Taxi: Sharjah City and Central Regions.[79]

The Sharjah Transport Corporation also provides shared transportation with the purpose of serving certain routes in Sharjah on a fixed rate for each route without using the meter. Sharjah Sharing Taxi routes are carefully selected to support people with low income and are covering areas with frequent needs for quick transfer within same location, to ease the traffic situation in Sharjah.[79]

Intercity transport

The SRTA operates passenger bus services nationwide, between Sharjah City, Ras Al Khaimah, Khor Fakkan, Kalba, Fujairah, Masafi, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Hamriyah Free Zone, Dhaid, Al Madam, Dibba Al Hisn, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai.[citation needed]

Utility services

Utility services in the emirate are provided by the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, which provides electricity, water and LPG connections to about 2 million consumers. They have over 4,000 employees serving areas as far as Dhaid, Kalba and Khorfakkan. Telephone services in the emirate, both fixed lines and mobile services, are provided by the government-owned Etisalat and du communication.[80][81]

Culture

Modern Art exhibition by Barjeel Art Foundation at the Sharjah Art Museum

UAE culture mainly revolves around the religion of Islam and traditional Arab culture. The influence of Islamic and Arab culture on its architecture, music, attire, cuisine and lifestyle are very prominent as well. Five times every day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques, which are scattered around the country. Since 2006, the weekend has been Friday and Saturday, as a compromise between Friday's holiness to Muslims and the Western weekend of Saturday and Sunday.[82]

The Ruler of Sharjah ordered the establishment of several cultural institutions.

Sharjah was designated the 2019 World Book Capital by UNESCO.[83]

A cultural heritage project, Heart of Sharjah, has been undertaken to preserve and restore the old town of Sharjah and return it to its 1950s state. A five-phase project intended for completion in 2025, the project is being undertaken by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, together with the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, the Sharjah Museums Department, and the Sharjah Art Foundation.[84]

Sharjah International Book Fair is a cultural event held every year in Sharjah.

Economy

Souq Al Markazi at night

Sharjah is the headquarters of Air Arabia, the first low-cost airline in the Middle East, which operates to the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Its headquarters are located in the Sharjah Freight Center, on the property of the Sharjah International Airport.[85][86]

The Sharjah Airport International Free Zone, popularly known as "SAIF Zone", is one of the prominent free-trade zones in the UAE. More than 6000 companies operate from SAIF Zone. The cost of setting up business in Sharjah is less than in any other emirates of the UAE, and the focus of industrialization (Sharjah Industrial area) has in recent years turned Sharjah into a commercial center.[citation needed] Thanks to its 100% foreign ownership and exemption from income and corporate taxes, SAIF Zone has attracted investors from more than 90 countries.[87] This lead to a business friendly atmosphere leading to a 6.5 percent surge, reaching approximately AED145.2 billion in 2023, compared to 136.4 billion in 2022, which marked a 4.9 percent growth from 2021.[88]

Demographics

According to the 2022 census, the total population of the emirate is 1.8 million, with 1.6 million of them residing in the city of Sharjah. Of the 1.8 million total population of the emirate, 208,000 were Emirati citizens, and the remainder were expatriates.[1]

Like the rest of the UAE, Arabic is the official and national language of the emirate and is used in all official capacities. However, all traffic signs, information posts, and government press releases are additionally written in English.[89] Tagalog and South Asian languages such as Hindi, Odia, Urdu, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali etc. are spoken widely by the residents of emirate. Russian is also used by the Russian and Central Asian community. Islam is the predominant religion in the emirate.

Education

There are several public and private schools in addition to universities in Sharjah, including the University of Sharjah, American University of Sharjah, Skyline College Sharjah, Al Qasimia University, Westford School of Management, Exeed School of Business and Finance Sharjah Men's College, and Sharjah Women's College. Some of these universities are located in one area called the University City. Private schools in the city include the International School of Creative Science, Wesgreen International School, Westminster School, Victoria English School, the Sharjah Indian School, Sharjah English School, Delta English School, Emirates National School, American Community School Sharjah, Indian School Sharjah, the International School of Choueifat, Sharjah, Sharjah High School, DPS Delhi Private School, Gulf Asian English School, Our Own English High School and the American School of Creative Science.

Human Rights

LGBTQ rights

In addition to the UAE federal laws which criminalize homosexuality, the penal code in Sharjah actively discriminates against LGBTQ individuals. For example, Article 176 of the Sharjah Penal Code (1970) punishes "unnatural crimes (Sodomy)"—defined as "sexual intercourse with another person in contravention of the laws of nature" or "allowing a male to have intercourse with them in contravention of the laws of nature"—with imprisonment up to 10 years. Article 181 establishes that "sexual intercourse" is deemed to have occurred once the sexual organ has entered in the slightest degree, regardless of whether that entry is accompanied by secretion of semen.[90] See also LGBT people and Islam

Healthcare

Healthcare in Sharjah can be divided into two different sectors, Public and Private. Public hospitals in the emirates are administered by the government of Sharjah through the Ministry of Health. The emirate also has 9 public medical centers to provide primary health care services.

Sports

One Day International at Sharjah in 1998 (Australia v India)

The Sharjah Cricket Stadium has hosted almost 238 cricket One Day Internationals, more than any other ground, and 4 test cricket matches.[needs update] Sharjah FC plays in the UAE Pro League. Sharjah also has a chess club.[91]

The Sharjah Cricket Stadium was one of the three stadiums to hold IPL 2020 matches.

Notable people

Twin towns – sister cities

Sharjah is twinned with Granada, Spain[92]

Gallery

See also

References

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