One of the seven emirates comprising the United Arab Emirates, Sharjah is a fascinating destination rich in history and culture. Because of its abundant cultural resources, the emirate has been recognised as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World in 1998 (UNESCO) and the Islamic Culture Capital of 2014 (ISESCO). The many museums, art galleries, heritage sites and preserved traditions combine to make the emirate a treasure trove of enriching encounters just waiting to be discovered. Here are some of the world-class museums in Sharjah that you shouldn’t miss!
Sharjah Heritage Museum
Sharjah Heritage Museum is a good place to start for an introduction to the emirate’s history and Emirati culture in general. It is nestled within the Heart of Sharjah, the region’s largest project of its kind and a UNESCO World Heritage Site candidate, encompassing the city’s heritage and arts areas.
This museum explores the diverse environments, trades and traditions that shaped the lives of Sharjah’s early inhabitants. Costumed mannequins, large-scale photographs and a selection of jewellery, pottery and other handicrafts bring to life a past when fishing, farming, pearling and maritime trade drove the area’s economy.
Sharjah Classic Car Museum
This museum is an ideal destination for classic cars lovers, displaying more than 100 classic cars including many models from Sharjah’s ruler, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi’s personal collection.
The vintage vehicles date back to at least 1979, with highlights including a 1915 Dodge. Exhibiting rare models, luxury brands and military machines, the museum is categorised according to major historical developments in the automotive industry and includes interactive experiments and educational experiences for visitors of all ages.
Sharjah Calligraphy Museum
Located in the house of Hamad Al Midfa in the Heart of Sharjah, this is the only museum in the Arab world devoted entirely to calligraphy. Here, you can discover the evolution of the Arabic calligraphy over time, as you enjoy artworks with stunning calligraphic texts, letters and shapes. Set around a light-filled, covered courtyard, the museum explores the history of calligraphy from early Kufic scripts to more fluid styles, and celebrates this timeless Islamic art form.
The artworks displayed highlight the masterly talents of local and international artists and calligraphers; their paintings, meticulously created, carry a deep meaning and a valuable historical background.
Feeling inspired? Take part in a workshop to develop your own calligraphy skills.
Sharjah Art Museum
Sharjah Art Museum offers art lovers the opportunity to admire the art collections and temporary exhibitions hosted and organized by the museum. It hosts local and international exhibitions, cultural activities and artistic and educational workshops throughout the year.
Visitors can view exhibitions and permanent collections by renowned artists in this stunning museum. Explore the history of the region through the fascinating masterpieces by local painters and Arab artists who have significantly enriched the Arab art scene.
The Art Library embraces over 4000 titles in Arabic, English and other languages, along with visual and audio materials.
Sharjah Maritime Museum
Sharjah Maritime Museum is appropriately located on the site of an old fishing village at the entrance to Al Khan Lagoon. This museum showcases how the sea played a key role in the growth of coastal cities and the primary reason for their development over 6,000 years ago.
Walk around restored dhows and models demonstrating the full range of vessels common to the region to better understand the emirate’s seafaring history. Original fishing, trading and pearling equipment is on display along with genuine Arabian pearls – including one of the world’s oldest which was discovered in Sharjah.