Sharjah in Brief
Emirate of Contrasts
Sharjah is the third largest of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is the only one to have land on both the Arabian Gulf Coast and the Gulf of Oman.
It is an emirate of contrasts where visitors can enjoy a holiday in the sun, discover traditional markets (souks) or visit modern shopping malls, explore the many heritage sites and museums, admire the majestic mosques, stroll around the lagoons, and experience the natural beauty of true Arabian deserts, mountains and seas.
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), federation was formed on 2nd December 1971 and comprises the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain. The President is His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan who is also the ruler of the Emirates’ capital, Abu Dhabi.
Total Area: 83,600 sq. km.
UAE Population: 4.76 million (Ministry of Economy - 2008)
Official Religion: Islam
The UAE is located on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula, bordered to the south and west by Saudi Arabia and to the east by the Sultanate of Oman. The geographic coordinates of the country are 24˚ 00 North 54˚ 00 East. The country has coastline on both the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
Five of the seven emirates are on the west coast, Fujairah is the only emirate entirely on the east coast and Sharjah is the only emirate with territory on both coasts. The Al Hajar Mountains form a backbone running from the Mussandam Peninsular down through the UAE and into Oman, and rise to over 1,500 meters.
Sharjah covers approximately 2,600 square kilometres. In addition to Sharjah city, which lies on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, the emirate has three regions on the scenic east coast; Dibba Al Hisn, Khor Fakkan and Kalba. Sharjah is a close neighbour to Dubai (it’s just a 15 minute drive from the centre of Sharjah to Dubai International Airport).
Sharjah’s location is significant both geographically and historically. The city overlooks the Arabian Gulf coastline that stretches for more than 16 kilometres, consisting of sandy beaches and built up areas. The central region combines lush green oases, with gravel plains and rolling red sand dunes. To the East the emirate reaches the Gulf of Oman coast where the landscape changes to a spectacular rocky coastline backed by impressively high mountains. Historically, the east coast is full of archaeological sites dating back to as early as the 2nd millennium, and forts built by the Portuguese in the 16th century were used to control the spice trade. In more recent times, Sharjah opened the first airport in the region in 1932. The Emirate is located midway between Europe and the Far East and is within 8 hours flying time in either direction.
The Emirate contributes to about 19% of the overall population of the UAE, with 85% of Sharjah’s 946,000 residents living in Sharjah city (figures provided by the Ministry of Economy – 2008).
Although Sharjah is in a desert region it is rich in fauna and flora. The coastal and marine environments are full of sea life and a surprising number of creatures inhabit the mountains and wetlands, the tropical plains and dunes.
Firsts for Sharjah
|c. 85,000 BC
||The earliest dated evidence for human subsistence in the UAE comes from Jebel Faya, Sharjah
|7,000 years ago
||Excavations have revealed evidence for nomadic groups of people hunting, herding and fishing across Sharjah's landscape
||Taimiyyah, the earliest school in Sharjah opens, based on traditional Islamic teaching
||“Oman” the first newspaper in the UAE (known as the Trucial Oman States at the time) is launched by Mr Al Midfaa, a Sharjah national
||The first airport in the region was established in Sharjah
||The first post office in Sharjah opens
||Sarah Hosman Hospital, specialising in gynaecology is the first hospital to open in Sharjah
||His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi is appointed as Ruler of Sharjah
||Oil is struck in Sharjah’s offshore Mubarak field
||Sharjah Cricket Stadium opens as the first venue in the region to host International cricket in the Middle East
||University City is inaugurated
||UNESCO announces Sharjah as ‘The Cultural Capital of the Arab World’ for the year