TTME MARCH 2019-PAGE 14-15

Sharjah casts a spell on with its pool of attractions & activities

The emirate of Sharjah, cultural capital of the UAE, has something to offer to every kind of traveller. In addition to historical monuments and museums that embody the emirate’s culture and traditions, Sharjah has a wide array of leisure and recreation options that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Scenic beaches, wildlife and public parks, and attractions such as Kalba, Al Majaz Waterfront, Eye of the Emirates and Al Noor Mosque are only some of Sharjah’s major attractions. We compile a list of locations you can enjoy in the emirate along with your family or solo along with a slew of activities they are famous for. Be assured – you will never run out of things to do in Sharjah!

Soak up in Emirati culture
Sharjah is home to a number of award-winning museums, which is a testament to its reputation as the cultural capital of the Arab world. Visitors wanting to gain an authentic insight into how the prosperous rulers of Sharjah once lived should visit Bait Sheikh Saeed Bin Hamad Al Qasimi in Kalba, located near Al Kalba fort, directly on the east coast of the Arabian Gulf. One of the most beautiful heritage houses in the UAE, first opened its doors as a museum on December 5, 1999. Built between 1898 and 1901, this museum was formerly the residence of Sheikh Saeed and his family. More centrally, Sharjah Heritage Museum, which opened in 2005 in the Heritage Area and later reopened in 2012 after renovation in the Heart of Sharjah, is dedicated to highlighting Sharjah’s authentic heritage and the rich culture of Emirati people. The artefacts preserved here embody the value of deep-rooted Arabic customs and traditions, giving visitors a glimpse of ancestral legacy.
The new Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization was opened in June 2008 after moving the extensive collections of the first Islamic Museum to the impressive traditional Souq Al Majarrah building, to be reinterpreted and redisplayed. Home to thousands of rare and important Islamic artefacts, the museum offers a true reflection of the Islamic civilisation’s timeless achievements and its universality, presenting an ideal opportunity to learn about aspects of Islamic faith, science, discoveries and culture.

Amidst the greens & beings
Those looking to learn more about the flora and fauna of the region must visit the Sharjah Desert Park, a specialised nature reserve that also houses a number of attractions for children, including a wildlife centre, botanical gardens, a children’s farm and more. A visit to Arabia’s Wildlife Centre will be an opportunity to see rare native wildlife species up close, before unravelling the region’s geological and botanical secrets at the Sharjah Natural History and the Islamic Botanical Garden. Those looking to enjoy the outdoors, the Sharjah National Park covers an area of nearly 630 thousand square feet and features play areas with jungle gyms, slides and rope ladders, where children can have lots of fun. What’s more, this is the ideal location for an unforgettable family picnic and barbecue.

Feel the thrill
Al Montazah Parks recently opened its gates to visitors with a grand celebration after undergoing a complete overhaul and rebranding process to feature two unique offerings in one destination. Witness the spectacular rides and facilities at Island of Legends, an amusement park that takes you on a trip around nine different countries. Pearls Kingdom offers splashing entertainment to seekers of wonder in water. Al Montazah Parks is centrally located close to Flag Island on Khalid lagoon across the Central Souq. Since its opening, Pearls Kingdom has been receiving a great turnout of visitors to experience its 35 new slides, which take the little ones to a magical wonderland. Island of Legends has 26 new attractions inspired by countries like Spain, Italy, France, London, China and the Netherlands. Here, visitors travel through time to explore Hercules’ adventures celebrated in Greek mythology or partake in a Spanish carnival. One can test their courage by facing the Scottish Loch Ness monster in addition to enjoying many other thrilling activities.

Better at the beach
Thanks to its location on the Arabian Gulf, the city of Sharjah has many public and private beaches for visitors. Besides, the region is also known for its beautiful lagoons and creeks, in addition to scenic, beautifully-landscaped parks such as Al Hamriya Beach which features a 1,300-metre jogging track, a service building and an interlock walking track that is three metres wide and a wide range of facilities available at its service building. The Al Khan Beach, the first public beach in Sharjah with various amenities designed for sports enthusiasts, is an ideal place to enjoy kayaking, kite surfing, parasailing, banana boat rides, fly board ride and much more.

Indulge in tailor-made stays
A myriad of premium hotels and properties offering best-in-class hospitality is perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Sharjah’s tourism sector. For instance, the Al Bait hotel, opened in early 2018, is a five-star luxurious retreat that blends tradition with modernity to offer authentic Emirati hospitality. A thoughtful vision to revive the region’s heritage through the preservation of the historic fabric within the city and the emirate at large is reflected here. Furthermore, DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah, a desert park resort in the Mahthab area along with the Tulip management hotel and Ramada feature 134, 210 and 493 rooms, respectively, all bear testimony to Sharjah’s reputation as a holiday and business destination beyond compare.

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