I was lucky enough to work in collaboration with 'Heart Of Sharjah', during my recent trip to Sharjah, UAE. In this post I am going to tell you about the experience at Heart of Sharjah.
Heart of Sharjah is an ambitious heritage project, undertaken by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq)
This heritage project is about restoring the traditional heritage areas of Sharjah and linking them together, to give the look and feel of Sharjah over half a century ago. This ambitious 15 years project, which is scheduled for completion in 2025 will restore and revamp the city's traditional areas to create a tourist and trade destination.
My journey to this heritage place started from the Heart of Sharjah Discovery Centre. The architecture, the building materials, the colour, all these elements gave me the feel of olden day Sharjah, even before arriving here.
The information board gave me an idea about what I was going to explore in the next few hours.
This arched entrance next to this board, led me to the Heart of Sharjah Discovery Centre. This is the place from where you get all the information regarding the Heart of Sharjah projects and all other necessary help to explore this heritage site. I was explained about the different phases of this 15 years long ambitious project, how it will look in 2025 and various other things by a very friendly staff. Later I was assigned another very friendly tour guide, to show me around the place and to explain me things. In the mean time, I enjoyed the traditional Sharjah environment.
These hanging lamps can be seen almost everywhere.
By that time Ahmed, my friendly tour guide was all charged up to take me for the guided tour. He led me to this cute yet powerful 4 wheeled vehicle for the tour. First we went to the events area where most of the events are hosted during special occasions. And then we went to see various environment, the people of Sharjah once lived. They have recreated those environment at the Heart of Sharjah. Mountain Environment
The Farm Environment
The Desert Environment
I clicked this picture of Ahmed, when I went inside one of the houses in the mountain environment.
He was super friendly and super helpful. He stopped at each and every place where I wanted to take pictures and gave me ample time for taking pictures. And drove this small 4 wheeler to some places which I thought was impossible to reach. From here we headed to the Souqs.
Souqs ( Traditional Markets )
If you check the information board, you can find a few souks in this area.
First we went to Souq Al-Arsa, a traditional market.
This is a wonderful place, if you are planning to buy some souvenirs to take home.
And most of the shops are very colourful and interesting.
On our way to next souq, some others too joined us for a quick conversation.
On the way to the next souq, I was introduced to a coffee shop, where the traditional people of Sharjah come to sit and relax.
At last we reached the other souq, which is soon to be operational, maybe by end of March 2015.
And then we returned from the Souq to see some museums.
Al Eslah School Museum :
Established in 1935, the Al Eslah School was the first formal educational institute in Sharjah that welcomed students from all over the region
Sharjah Calligraphy Museum :
If you are particularly interested in the heritage of Arabic calligraphy, this is the place.
There can be some restrictions on photography at certain museums, though the brochure says photography is allowed everywhere. Certain people-in-charge doesn't agree with the brochure though.
Sharjah Heritage Museum :
This is the place to learn everything about the distinctive heritage of Sharjah.
The whole museum is divided in to six distinctive galleries. 'Landscape', 'Lifestyle', 'Celebrations', 'Livelihood', 'Traditional Knowledge' and 'Oral Traditions' of Sharjah's rich heritage.
The guided tour in that area was almost over. But I wanted to take more pictures. So I thanked my tour guide, clicked some of his pictures and headed out for my own explorations.
And I walked around the place clicking pictures.
It was pretty interesting to capture the buildings, alley ways and streets of half a century old Sharjah.
Buildings of Olden day Sharjah
Streets of Olden day Sharjah
Doors of Olden day Sharjah
And after a bit of walking I found another souq.
Souq Saqr :
Inside of Souq Saqr looked like this
After taking a few turns I found it. The best part of the whole exploration as far as I am concerned. Sharjah Art Museum.
Sharjah Art Museum :
Entry to this amazing place was absolutely free. And this place is so inspiring. If you are an artist, you must definitely go visit this place, while in Sharjah.
As I couldn't understand the greater meaning of many of the minimalistic art works, I was given a guide book, that too for free at the reception.
Art works were stunning, inspiring, creative and meaningful.
Some art installations were simple but amazing.
I was very satisfied and inspired after taking a tour of the Sharjah art museum. On my way back to my place of stay, I found the Sharjah Fort as well.
Sharjah Al Hisn Museum :
As it was closed for renovation, I couldn't explore from inside. But it was a great day and great tour for sure.
Also there was some events related to Sharjah Biennial was happening. And if you are in Sharjah From 25 March to 4 April, 2015 Don't Miss out the delicious Sharjah Food Festival.
If you are visiting Sharjah, don't miss to visit The Heart of Sharjah. It is very near to the Sharjah Al Jubail Bus station, even nearer to another bus station Rolla terminal. Sharjah international Airport is also near. Beautiful Sharjah corniche is at a walkable distance.
Hope you enjoyed this virtual tour. Again I would like to thank 'Heart of Sharjah' for all the help and support. Also for this opportunity to write about this wonderful heritage site.
More details can be found from here.