Environmental and historical sights to explore in Sharjah

Sitting on the waters of the Gulf, Sharjah has historically played an important role in the region, having thrived for centuries on fishing, pearl diving and long-distance trade. References to human settlement and commerce in the area can be found across the historical record, with both the ancient Greek geographer Ptolemy and the 15th-century Arab navigator and cartographer Ahmad ibn Majid mentioning bustling trade activity along what is modern-day Sharjah’s coastline.

The emirate’s role as a centre for international connections was bolstered further in 1932 with the construction of the first airport in the UAE, acting as a base for Imperial Airways flights between the UK and Australia. Today Sharjah is well known for its environmental uniqueness, museums and cultural programmes, including the International Book Fair, Islamic Arts Festival and Lights Festival.

Leveraging Location

Sharjah is unique in that it shares a border with all six of the other emirates, making it popular with those looking to enjoy a day trip from neighbouring locations. With territory on both the western and eastern coasts of the country, visitors have the chance to experience a range of landscapes including mountains, desert dunes and mangrove wetlands. This natural diversity is particularly appealing to those interested in adventure and ecotourism, and Sharjah is increasingly investing in developing a range of attractions, experiences and destinations for both local and international visitors. New developments include luxury hotels, coastal resorts and camps, which combined offer a broad range of visitor options and complement ongoing cultural initiatives.

The town of Mleiha is one location that is particularly suited to tourism development. Situated on the edge of the Hajar Mountains, which extend through the Al Batinah region of neighbouring Oman into the eastern areas of the UAE, Mleiha has unique geological features. These include desert sands and some of the UAE’s most important archaeological sites, which have been nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The area has a population of less than 5000, is approximately 50 km, or 45 minutes by car, from Sharjah City and is conveniently located near the redeveloped route to the eastern coast and enclaves of Khorfakkan, Kalba and Dibba al Hisn.

Uncovering History

Ongoing archaeological excavations by both local and international teams since the 1970s have revealed a long history of human activity in the emirate. Ongoing digs at Kalba, Dibba al Hisn, Tell Abraq and Jebel Al Buhais, have also exposed layers of cultural heritage, much of which is now displayed to the public in the emirate’s museums. In addition, the Central Region has an extensive wealth of history highlighted by the discovery of many domestic artefacts, such as pottery fragments, kitchen tools and coins, as well as monumental tombs and evidence of irrigation and human habitation dating back almost 130,000 years.

Mleiha Archaeological Centre, which opened in January 2016, is built around one of the region’s largest archaeological sites, with discoveries dating from the Palaeolithic, Iron Age and pre-Islamic periods. Highlights include a monumental tomb from the bronze-age Umm Al Nar culture – which dates back to approximately 2300 BCE – Mleiha Fort, and the remains of a 70m-year-old sea bed. These treasures highlight the diverse influences in the Arabian Peninsula’s north-eastern regions and their role in shaping modern-day Sharjah.

The centre, which won Cityscape Global’s Best Community, Culture and Tourism Project Award in the Middle East in 2016, also offers visitors a range of activities in the surrounding area, including camping at the base of the Jebel Fayya massif, cycling excursions and buggy rides in the dunes. Visitors are also able to tailor-make more personalised packages. SHERATON SHARJAH BEACH RESORT & SPA Al Muntazah Street T: (+971) 6 563 0000 F: (+971) 6 563 3933 www.sheratonsharjah.com reservations.sharjah@sheraton.com Rooms: 349 deluxe and superior rooms and suites, including work area, balcony options, complimentary Wi-Fi and views of the Sharjah skyline and Gulf. Business & Conference Facilities: 2100-sq-metre in total conference space, including 9 meeting rooms, 2 high-ceiling ballrooms with individual foyers and direct bridal room access, and a dedicated Star Meeting Concierge. Health & Leisure Facilities: Private beach, 2 outdoor infinity pools, play area with a kids club and pool, dedicated male and female fitness facilities, and the 1100-sq-metre Shine Spa with 15 treatment rooms, including jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. Guest services: Complimentary daily shuttle to Dubai Mall and free valet parking. Dining: 6 restaurants and lounges, including Marasea (seafood), Arjwan (Emirati), Gusti (Italian cuisine), Al Qubtan (international and grilled options), Link@Sheraton Café (pool bar) and Al Mahattah Lounge (snack and cigar bar), as well as an in-house pastry chef for tailor-made cakes. COPTHORNE HOTEL SHARJAH Al Majaz 3 Buheira Corniche Road PO Box 39887 T: (+971) 6 593 0555 F: (+971) 6 593 0674 www.milleniumhotels.com reservation.chsj@milleniumhotels.com Rooms: 255 stylishly furnished rooms with satellite TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, electronic safe, minibar, bathtub, shower, hairdryer and other amenities. Business & Conference Facilities: 4 meeting rooms (Emerald, Ruby, Topaz and Pearl), and a business centre with a private office for guests. Health & Leisure Facilities: Swimming pool, spa, and separate male and female fitness centres. Guest services: Business centre, internet on request, laundry, valet parking, ladies beauty salon, 24-hour room service and club lounge. Dining: The Lagoon (all-day dining), La Veranda (snack and juice bar located on the health floor level), and Tim Hortons. CENTRO SHARJAH BY ROTANA Al Dhaid Road PO Box 3677 T: (+971) 6 508 8000 F: (+971) 6 508 8103 www.rotana.com/centrosharjah res.centrosharjah@rotana.com Rooms: 306 soundproof classic rooms, classic studios and 1-bedroom suites. Non-smoking rooms and public areas, VIP room facilities, complimentary WiFi, business facilities in each room. Business & Conference Facilities: 3 modern fully-equipped meeting rooms with maximum capacities for 90, 70 and 60 people, which can be combined to suit various group and functional requirements, and a business centre in the hotel lobby with fax machine and photocopying facilities. Health & Leisure Facilities: 24-hour fully-equipped gym, outdoor temperature-controlled swimming pool, outdoor jacuzzi, sauna and table tennis. Guest services: 24-hour reception, gift shop, babysitting and childcare services available on request, complimentary shuttle to Dubai Mall and beach shuttle service available on request, currency exchange, laundry services and concierge. Dining: c.taste, all-day dining restaurants offering international cuisine, c.deli, 24-hour ‘grab and go’ concept, and 24-hour room service. RAMADA HOTEL & SUITES SHARJAH Al Nahda Street 115 PO Box 60553 T: (+971) 6 530 0003 F: (+971) 6 525 7802 www.ramadasharjah.com reservations@ramadasharjah.com Rooms: 343 rooms, 1-bedroom apartments, 1-bedroom club suites, 2-bedroom apartments and deluxe apartments. Business & Conference Facilities: 6 meeting and event venues accommodating up to 200 guests with access to the business centre and club lounge. Health & Leisure Facilities: Male and female fitness centres with massage rooms, and indoor swimming pool with outdoor terrace. Guest services: Complimentary beach shuttle bus, tour desk, club lounge, business centre, complimentary Wi-Fi and express check-in and check-out. Apartments include kitchens with washing machines, refrigerator and cooking facilities. Dining: Zaafran Restaurant (international), Sunshine Café and 24-hour in-room dining. AL HAYAT HOTEL APARTMENTS Zahraa Street PO Box 73193 T: (+971) 6 575 4666 F: (+971) 6 575 4446 www.alhayat-hotel.com reception@alhayat-hotel.com Rooms: 85 furnished apartments, including 32 studio suites, 42 1-bedroom suites and 11 two-bedroom suites. All rooms except studio suites feature combined living and dining areas. Business & Conference Facilities: Business centre and conference spaces with video, projection and audio equipment. Health & Leisure Facilities: Fully equipped fitness centre and health club. Guest services: Laundry and dry-cleaning services, business centre, Wi-Fi internet, valet parking, foreign currency exchange, luggage room and shuttle services to Dubai International Airport. Dining: Danat (eastern and western cuisine) and Swarain (café). AL HAYAT HOTEL SUITES Al Nahda Street PO Box 73193 T: (+971) 6 593 2999 F: (+971) 6 525 1222 www.alhayatsuites.com alhayat@alhayatsuites.com Rooms: 84 suites including 28 1-bedroom suites and 28 2-bedrooms suites. All suites feature fully equipped kitchens. Both smoking and non-smoking rooms available. Business & Conference Facilities: Al Shamia Hall, which includes audio and video equipment and a business centre along with other amenities. Health & Leisure Facilities: Swimming pool. Guest services: Laundry and dry-cleaning services, business centre, Wi-Fi internet, valet parking, foreign currency exchange, luggage handling and storage, and shuttle services to Dubai International Airport. Dining: Al Hayat Restaurant and Coffee Shop and Hala café. TIME RUBY HOTEL APARTMENTS Al Khan PO Box 7041 T: (+971) 6 593 2222 F: (+971) 6 593 2233 www.timehotels.ae reservations@timehotels.ae Rooms: 145 1 and 2-bedroom apartments with panoramic views of Sharjah and the Gulf. Health & Leisure Facilities: Separate male and female health club facilities with jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and spa centre. Guest services: 24-hour security, laundry and dry cleaning, and special services on request. Dining: Bites Café. RADISSON BLU RESORT SHARJAH Corniche Road PO Box 3527 T: (+971) 6 565 7777 F: (+971) 6 565 0090 www.radissonblu.com/resort-sharjah reservations.sharjah@radissonblu.com Rooms: 306 units with 5 types of room and suites and 20 pool-side cabanas. All rooms include access to the amenities offered at the Bay Club. Business & Conference Facilities: Guests can choose from a selection of 8 meeting rooms able to accommodate 14-80 guests. There are also 2 ballrooms with a capacity of 800 guests, and/or palm garden by the beach. Audiovisual equipment and catering, dedicated ballroom parking, Wi-Fi, presentation materials and event coordinators are available. Health & Leisure Facilities: Fitness facilities include a gym exclusively for women, 2 floodlit tennis courts, 4 temperature-controlled pools, motorised and non-motorised water sports, private white sand beach and lagoon access, separate saunas for men and women, fitness facilities, massage services. Guest services: 24-hour room service, high-speed Wi-Fi, shuttle services to shopping destinations in Sharjah and Dubai, 3-hour express laundry, and grab and run breakfasts available for early flights. Dining: Café at the Falls restaurant with a morning breakfast buffet, Calypso Pool restaurant with a juice and non-alcoholic cocktail bar, 24-hour Chillout Café, The Terrace with outdoor dining and Soya Chang restaurant, offering Cantonese cuisine. If one is unable to access one of the emirate’s many ATMs, currency can be exchanged at most malls. Credit cards are also widely accepted. The official currency is the UAE dirham (Dh), pegged at $1:Dh3.67. The easiest means of travel in Sharjah is by taxi, with minimum fares ranging from $0.82 during the day to $1.09 in the evening. Chaffeur-driven cars are available as well and can be booked via smartphone apps.

GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS Ruler’s Office 06 566 2222 Climate Change & Environment 06 567 2968 Foreign Affairs 800 44444 Culture 06 512 3333 Interior 800 5000 Sharjah Health Authority 06 557 1117 Residence & Naturalisation 06 572 6777 Civil Aviation 06 558 1111 Chamber of Commerce & Industry 06 530 2222 Sharjah Town Planning & Survey 06 528 9999 Department of Seaports & Customs 06 558 8000 Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority 06 528 8888 Sharjah Airport Freezone Authority 06 557 0000 Sharjah City Municipality 06 562 3333 House of Justice 06 502 4333 Sharjah Expo Centre 06 577 0000 Sharjah Roads & Transport Authority 06 503 3333 BUSINESS & TRADE ASSOCIATIONS Indian Business & Professional Council 06 530 4404 American Business Council 04 379 1414 British Business Group 04 397 0303 Canadian Business Council 04 447 3237 German-Emirati Joint Council for Industry & Commerce 04 447 0100 Iranian Business Council 04 335 9220 BANKS United Arab Bank 800 474/ 06 598 7332 Bank Melli Iran 06 598 1111 Bank of Baroda 06 503 7900 Bank of Sharjah 06 569 4411 Citibank 06 507 2101 HSBC Bank 600 554722 InvestBank 06 569 4440 Sharjah Islamic Bank 06 599 8888/ 06 599 9999 Standard Chartered Bank 600 522288 Union National Bank 600 566665 Sharjah Central Bank 06 559 2592 FOREIGN MISSIONS Australia 04 508 7100 Bangladesh 04 265 1116 Canada 04 404 8444 China 04 394 4733 Denmark 04 348 0877 Egypt 04 397 1122 France 04 408 4900 Germany 04 349 8888 India 04 397 1333 Indonesia 04 398 5666 Iran 04 344 4717 Italy 04 331 4167 Japan 04 331 9191 Jordan 04 397 0500 Kazakhstan 04 339 7151 Kuwait 04 397 8000 Malaysia 04 398 5843 Netherlands 04 440 7600 Pakistan 04 397 3600 Philippines 04 220 7100 Russia 04 328 5347 Saudi Arabia 04 377 8300 Singapore 04 321 9498 Switzerland 04 329 0999 Turkey 04 376 0600 UK 04 309 4444 US 04 309 4000 EMERGENCY SERVICES Ambulance & Police 998/999/ 06 563 1111 Fire 997 NEWSPAPERS & MAGAZINES Gulf News (English) 06 800 4125 Al Khaleej Times (English) 06 577 7777 MEDIA, MARKETING & NEWS Sharjah Media Centre 06 512 3456 Sharjah Media Corporation 06 566 1111 Sharjah Media City 800 74267 LAW OFFICES Al Farouk Legal Group 04 286 5503 CONSULTANCY & ACCOUNTANCY Deloitte 06 517 9500 Morison Menon 06 575 8899 HEALTH CARE Al Zahra Hospital 06 561 9999 Kuwait Hospital 06 524 2111 Zulekha Hospital 600 52 4442 New Al Qasimi Hospital 06 538 6444 University Hospital Sharjah 06 505 8555 PHARMACIES Sharjah Pharmacy 06 562 3850

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