Sharjah Heritage Area / Heart Of Sharjah

Historical

Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Sharjah): 17 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 1-2 Hours

Place Location: Close To Corniche

Transportation Options: Cab / Walk/Trek

Travel Tips: The entry prices are separate for the various areas of the Sharjah Heritage Area.

At a distance of 17 km from Sharjah International Airport and 18 km from Dubai International Airport, the Sharjah Heritage Area or Heart of Sharjah is a heritage site situated close to Corniche in the city of Sharjah. It is one of the top Sharjah tourist places for history buffs.

The Sharjah Heritage Area represents the true essence of the Emirate comprising of architecture built in traditional Arabian style, ancient Souqs, and old family houses. The area includes several museums such as the Sharjah Calligraphy Museum, Bait al-Naboodah Museum, Hisn Fort Museum, Sharjah Heritage Museum along with Souk Al Arsah, each one narrating the story of Sharjah.

Al Hisn or Sharjah Fort was originally constructed in 1820 by the then Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi. The demolition of the fort took place in 1970 when Sheikh Khalid bin Muhammad Al Qasimi wished to remove all traces of Sheikh Saqr bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the previous ruler and was only prevented from completing the work by the return of his alarmed brother, Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi. Only a single tower remained, but Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi who become the Ruler of Sharjah in 1972, restored the fort with the original doors and windows saved from the demolished fort. The restoration of Sharjah Fort commenced in January 1996 and was completed in April 1997.

The Sharjah Heritage Museum is dedicated to the research, preservation and presentation of the traditions, customs and culture of Sharjah. Established in 2003, it was reopened in Bait Saeed Al Taweel, a renovated historic house of a pearl merchant, in the Heritage Area (Heart of Sharjah) in 2012. There are six galleries covering the landscape, lifestyle, celebrations, livelihoods, traditional knowledge and oral traditions of the emirate. The museum presents plenty of interesting objects, including an aftakh, a golden toe ring worn by Bedouin women with explanations in English and Arabic.

Another interesting place to visit in the Sharjah Heritage area is Bait al-Naboodah Museum. The museum was actually the home of the famous pearl merchant, Al Naboodah, who built a fortune in the pearl trade in India and France. The home is one of the better examples of traditional Emirati architecture, with influences from the above-mentioned places too. The museum has a gallery on the life of the merchant, and another couple of galleries explaining the features. Opposite to Bait al- Naboodah is the Souk Al Arsah, an authentic open courtyard Arabian market place where traders sell traditional garments, wooden handicrafts, jewellery, and many such products. It is one of the oldest Souqs in the country and is well known for its traditional coffee houses.

The Sharjah Calligraphy Museum in the Sharjah Heritage Area is a teaching and exhibition center for Arabic calligraphic art, as well as other languages such as Chinese and French. Notable displays include the oldest pieces from a couple of hundred years ago, which trace the evolution of Kufic writing from the 7th century's simple, angular, undotted script to more elaborate forms. It is said to be the only museum in the Arab world devoted entirely to calligraphy. There are workshops for all ages in calligraphy and in decorating objects with various forms of script.

Timings: 8 AM - 8 PM from Saturday - Thursday & 4 PM - 10 PM on Friday for Heritage Museum, Bait al Naboodah & Calligraphy Museum

Al Hisn Fort: 8 AM - 2 PM, Closed on Friday

Souq al-Arsah: 9 AM - 1 PM & 4 PM - 9 PM from Saturday to Thursday, 4 PM - 9 PM on Friday

Entry Fee: AED. 5 per Adults & Free for Children (below 12 Years) for Al Hisn Fort, Bait al-Naboodah, Calligraphy Museum & Heritage Museum each