Steeped in culture, beauty and tradition

The emirate of Sharjah, a treasure trove of Islamic art and culture, comes alive during Ramadan.

By Lily B Libo-on

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Published: Sat 27 Aug 2011, 9:05 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:54 AM

Nothing can be more rewarding to Islamic believers than to be in a place of solitude and prayer embellished by centuries-old historical relics and religious landmarks, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

To them, this place is Sharjah, home to more than 20 museums and art galleries as well as heritage areas that reminds one of an Islamic civilization that was, and still is.

Keeping this in mind, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) named Sharjah the Cultural Capital of the Arab World for 1998, an honour it richly deserved. Sharjah was also named the Capital of Islamic Culture for the year 2014 in recognition of its remarkable contributions in preserving, promoting and disseminating culture at local, Arab and Islamic levels, under the guidance of His Highness Shaikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who has innovatively incorporated tradition into every aspect of contemporary development.

“All of this has made Sharjah different from other emirates during Ramadan as it is easily the best family destination, and also the best place to celebrate the spirit of sharing and caring,” Tariq Allay Al Naqbi, head of Media Division, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority told Khaleej Times.

Places of historical importance in the emirate include the Sharjah Calligraphy Museum, Art Museum and the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation. For one, the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisations on the waterfront boasts of some 5,000 artefacts and rare manuscripts, which is perhaps the largest and richest in the region.

Al Naqbi added that the emirate is also home to some of the most magnificent mosques in the UAE, most notable of which is the Al Noor Mosque overlooking the Buhairah Corniche and Al Maghfirah Mosque in Al Majarrah close to the Art area.

With special Ramadan events and activities, the emirate is a big attraction for residents and tourists alike. “Sharjah really comes alive during Ramadan with many visitors from other emirates and neighboring countries heading to the emirate. Throughout the holy month, special events and activities are held in the emirate as part of the Sharjah Ramadan Festival. Hosted by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and in its 22nd year, this Festival is held from August 4 to September 10 alongside a number of other special events and activities in the emirate,” said Al Naqbi “Special Ramadan lectures on the Holy Quran and Islam are given by renowned Islamic scholars at Eiman Oasis,” he added.

Mohamed Ali Al Noman, Director General of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, said that the numerous special events and activities lined up throughout the holy month have significantly increased the tourist movement into the emirate with shopping malls, stores and hotels offering special discounts and promotions.

Fact Book

· The Sharjah Calligraphy Museum, the only museum in the Arab world devoted entirely to calligraphy and located in the 1998 cultural capital of the Arab world.

· Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation, the first of its kind in the UAE that houses more than 5,000 exquisite artefacts and rare manuscripts from all over the Islamic World, and hosts regular exhibitions and internationally renowned displays of Islamic masterpieces.

· Sharjah Contemporary Arab Art Museum, a three-floor gallery dedicated to modern creative expression, focusing on exhibitions and collections of over 300 works of art by artists from the Arab world, in a variety of media.

· Sharjah Heritage Museum conserves and displays the rich traditional customs and culture of Sharjah as a source of pride and inspiration to Emiratis and to visitors to the UAE. It displays handcrafted works of art and objects that date back to a time when local people relied solely on fishing and pearling.

· Sharjah Archaeology Museum is the permanent archive for all archaeological materials recovered in the Emirate of Sharjah from the Stone Age to the present day through displays of artefacts, coins, jewellery, pottery, ancient weapons, models of burials, houses and tombs and the first forms of writing in this area.

· Sharjah Hisn, the stunning historic fort built in 1820 and former residence of Al Qasimi ruling family, unveils the history of the Emirate of Sharjah and Sharjah society and governance through priceless objects, fascinating old photographs, classic weapons and trading tools tracing 200 years of Sharjah history.

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