Islamic New Year holiday in UAE: Unveiling hidden gems in Sharjah, Fujairah

Here are a few of the major attractions that residents can explore during the long weekend

by

Nandini Sircar

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Sharjah's Al Qasbah. - File photo
Sharjah's Al Qasbah. - File photo

Published: Tue 18 Jul 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 18 Jul 2023, 1:21 PM

While Dubai and Abu Dhabi offer ample attractions for residents and visitors, there are certain hidden gems in other emirates that families can look forward to exploring, as they prepare for a long weekend for the Islamic New Year.

The UAE has announced a holiday on July 21 for the Islamic New Year. For those who are not travelling abroad this summer, there are various attractions to explore in the emirates of Sharjah and Fujairah.


Sharjah, with its diverse terrain including mountains, verdant valleys, and pristine seas, boasts of stunning natural landscapes alongside iconic architecture, numerous museums, and acclaimed art galleries.

Sharjah Desert Park

File photo
File photo

The Sharjah Desert Park is a captivating edutainment destination divided into three sections: The Natural History Museum, Arabian Wildlife Centre, and Children's Farm.


It offers visitors an enjoyable means of gaining knowledge about the plant and animal life in the UAE, along with entertaining explanations of natural phenomena.

Located on Al Dhaid Road, approximately 28km from the city, this museum is highly recommended, particularly for those who have a fondness for nature.

Al Qasba

File photo
File photo

Al Qasba, located in the heart of Sharjah's waterfront, is a commercial complex that provides an ideal combination of entertainment and sophistication. It offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities, including excellent dining establishments, theatres, abra rides, a Kids Fun Zone and Al Qasba Musical Fountain.

With its diverse offerings, Al Qasba is the perfect destination for families looking to unwind and spend quality time together.

Sharjah Aquarium

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File photo

Sharjah Aquarium offers visitors the opportunity to explore a diverse array of marine creatures. With its collection of 20 spacious tanks, it showcases an extensive selection of oceanic life. Its primary objective is to promote the preservation of marine ecosystems.

At the aquarium, visitors can marvel at over 250 species of aquatic life, including colourful fish, majestic reef sharks, graceful eels, and enchanting seahorses. Additionally, the aquarium provides an immersive experience with its display of smaller marine organisms, such as coral reefs, mangroves, lagoons, and pools.

Museum of Islamic Civilisation

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File photo

Situated within a captivating souq, the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation offers an exploration into the rich heritage of Arab and Islamic culture. Spread across two floors, the museum's exhibits provide visitors with a profound understanding of various aspects, including rituals, artifacts, and textiles.

On the ground floor, the galleries present a diverse range of perspectives on Islamic faith. These encompass the remarkable scientific achievements in fields like astronomy and mathematics, as well as the significance and practices associated with the Haj pilgrimage.

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Fujairah

Fujairah is the seventh-largest city in UAE, located on the Gulf of Oman and is the only capital city in the UAE located on the east coast. Fujairah's historical architecture still shines brightly amidst the modern city skyscrapers elsewhere, allowing visitors to explore and appreciate its rich heritage without being overshadowed by dazzling monuments. It’s also home to several ancient mosques and monuments.

Fujairah Fort and village

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File photo

Fujairah Fort, recognised as the most ancient fort in the UAE, fulfilled both defensive and residential functions for the ruling family. Standing as the sole stone structure along the Fujairah coastline for numerous centuries, it holds a significant place in the history of the region. Built in 1670, the fort is constructed from mud-bricks and consists of three primary sections, multiple halls, a square tower, and two round towers.

Snoopy Island

AFP file
AFP file

Snoopy Island has become a sought-after destination for a variety of water-based sports, recreational pursuits, and music festivals. The island derives its name from a rock formation that strikingly resembles the beloved cartoon character Snoopy lying on its back. Among the popular water activities available, snorkelling and diving stand out. Surrounding the area are exquisite reefs teeming with abundant marine life, offering occasional sightings of turtles and small sharks

Al Bidyah Mosque

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File photo

Al Bidyah Mosque, also known as the Ottoman Mosque, holds the distinction of being the oldest mosque in the UAE. It derives its name from the town that once surrounded this sacred site. Adjacent to the mosque, there are several other archaeological sites. These sites encompass four watchtowers, stone walls, the foundations of ancient buildings, and a number of stones adorned with petroglyphs and carvings.

Constructed in 1446, the mosque stands as a modest structure made of mud and brick, showcasing the remarkable craftsmanship of that era and region. It features four pointed domes and is supported by a single central pillar.

Bithnah Fort

AFP file
AFP file

Bithnah Fort, situated just outside Fujairah city, is a historic edifice that overlooks the strategic routes traversing the Hajar Mountains via Wadi Ham. Constructed in 1735, Bithnah Fort is positioned alongside the main highway, approximately 13km from Fujairah city. It is rumoured to have been the site of a megalithic T-shaped tomb dating back to the second millennium BC, which saw use again during the first millennium BC.

The fort held great significance in the defence of the eastern region of the UAE. Initially built with stones, mortar, and plaster, it took the shape of a square structure and features two watchtowers on its western side.

Al Hayl Castle

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File photo

Al Hayl Castle is a structure built about 250 years ago as the residence for the ruling family of Fujairah and has been significant in defending the area through regular patrolling and surveillance.

It is one of the renowned structures in Fujairah, located at the foot of the Hajar Mountains and situated close to Al Hayl Village.

Fujairah Museum

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File photo

The Fujairah Museum is located south of Fujairah Fort and displays a distinctive assortment of archaeological discoveries that depict the rich history and cultural heritage of the UAE. Within the museum, visitors can explore the captivating findings from the Qidfa and Bithna excavation sites, which provide insight into the region's past. Notably, the museum features exhibits dating back approximately 4,500 years to the early Bronze Age, offering a glimpse into that era.

Masafi, Fujairah

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File photo

Masafi village, nestled near Fujairah on the border of the Hajar Mountains, formerly functioned as a trading post and refuelling station until the construction of highways in the 1970s.

It is positioned at the intersection of two emirates, with the majority falling within Fujairah and a smaller portion belonging to Ras Al Khaimah. It is well-known throughout the country for its pristine natural springs with the name, Masafi, signifying 'pure water' in Arabic.



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