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Thursday 21 March 2019 (UAE)   

Sharjah overview

The emirate of Sharjah is one of 7 that make up the country called the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Sharjah is also the name of a city in the emirate of Sharjah.

  • Sharjah emirate has been accepted into the World Health Organisation (WHO) "Healthy Cities" project, the first UAE emirate to join the program (WAM 21 March 2012).
  • Sharjah was named as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World by UNESCO in 1998 for its art, culture, and heritage preservation.
  • Sharjah is the OIC Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014. Announced by the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) in October 2009 (WAM news 14 October 2009).
Sharjah ratings and surveys

Sharjah ratings and surveys

Activities, entertainment and events in Sharjah
  • Sharjah Municipality parks - public and national parks and gardens, also amusement and theme parks list.
  • Things to do in Sharjah
  • See also Tourism in Sharjah heading.
Areas, suburbs, communities in Sharjah (not a complete list)

Sharjah areas, suburbs, communities

Art and culture in Sharjah
  • Al Qasba - small art and culture area with a Ferris wheel, restaurants, cafes
  • Museums in Sharjah - lots of them, and art galleries too. Mostly showing Islamic and Arabic art and artifacts.
Business in Sharjah

Business in Sharjah

Crime in Sharjah
  • Bag snatching appears to be a problem in Sharjah since 2009 according to a Khaleej Times report 16 July 2011 - "Two to three cases are being reported at various police stations everyday," according to an anonymous senior Sharjah Police Officer. Things to watch out for are:
    • Purse snatching at shopping malls, banks, ATMs, car parks, etc - usually one person snatches and a waiting accomplice on a motorcycle escapes with them.
    • Fake (or real) car problems - one person will alert the driver to a flat tyre or mechanical problem, their accomplice will snatch bags or other valuables from the car after the driver gets out to have a look. Possibly the problem is created by the thieves.

The following comments are not so much things to watch out for lest you become the victim of a crime, but activities you might carry out yourself, unaware that they are illegal in Sharjah. Sometimes Sharjah rules are not actually different from federal UAE laws, but the Sharjah police interpret them differently - for example the parking rule.

  • Car washing in Sharjah - from July 2012 a new rule has been implemented (or an old rule enforced) that cars can only be washed in designated car-washing areas, namely service stations and shopping mall car parks. Washing your own car yourself at home, or getting the building watchman to wash it, or similar (as is commonly done in most of the UAE), could get you fined AED 250.
  • Parking in Sharjah - reverse parking is apparently illegal, there is reportedly a law that says the backside of a car should be facing out to the road, not the front (Offence 118, abuse of parking space - see the list of traffic fines in Sharjah). Khaleej Times reported 20 Sep 2012 that Sharjah traffic authorities had started fining illegal parkers with AED 200 tickets, and possibly 3 black points on the driver's licence. Col. Ahmed bin Darwish, Director of Traffic and Patrols at the Sharjah Police, was quoted in the report as saying "Street parking is not designed for reverse parking and those doing it cause inconvenience to other road users and the traffic in general as the driver has to first drive and then come backward while other cars on the road wait all the time." The report did not comment on whether or not it was inconvenient to other road users for cars to reverse out of the car park.
  • Sex in Sharjah - tourists, visitors, residents should be aware that as in the rest of the UAE, having sex with someone you are not married to is a crime. Sharjah is more conservative than other emirates so such activities are less likely to be ignored, and punishments might be harsher in Sharjah. Living together with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or sharing a hotel room, is more risky in Sharjah, and in April 2010 there were news reports of Sharjah Police launching a crackdown on catching unmarried couples living together in Sharjah. There have been cases reported of women who have been raped finding themselves locked up for the crime of sex out of wedlock after reporting the rape.
Economy and Industry in Sharjah
  • The manufacturing industry is a significant part of the economy of Sharjah. An Oxford Business Group (OBG) report in July 2010 said Sharjah contributed about 48% of the industrial GDP for the whole of the UAE. The same report said that there were over 1600 industrial enterprises operating in Sharjah, providing jobs for more than 75,000 employees,
  • Most industrial production is light to medium scale, with not so much heavy industry.
  • Sharjah has a developing tourism industry, or is trying to. Tourists who visit Sharjah might find it somewhat trying compared to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
  • Sharjah Free Zones - Sharjah Airport Free Zone (SAFZ) and Hamriyah Free Zone (HFZ) are two important economic trade zones.
  • Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) - CEO is Marwan Al Sarkal.
  • Emirates Industrial City (EIC).
Government budget in Sharjah
  • 2014 budget of AED15.4 billion ($4.19bn) approved (announced 14 Mar 2014)
  • . Expenditure increase of 7% from 2013. Wages and salaries up 15% from 2013, operating costs up 9%. Budget split 46% for economic sector, 26% for infrastructure, 16% for government services, 11% for social development. Government revenue expected to increase 8% from 2013.
Education and educational institutes in Sharjah
Geography of Sharjah
  • The main part of the emirate of Sharjah lies between Dubai and Ajman on the Arabian Gulf coast. The Arabian Gulf is also called the Persian Gulf but it's impolite to say that in the UAE and other GCC countries, whereas it's impolite to call it the Arabian Gulf in Iran.
  • Kalba, Khorfakkan (Khor Fakkan), and Dibba are three regions and towns in the UAE that are politically part of the emirate of Sharjah, but physically located on the East Coast where the emirate of Fujairah is.
  • Other towns in the emirate of Sharjah include Al Dhaid (Daid),
  • Telephone area code for Sharjah city and surrounding emirate is 06, but for East Coast parts of Sharjah is 09 (same as for Fujairah).
History of Sharjah
  • 1971 - The United Arab Emirates was formed with Sharjah as one of the first 6 emirates (Ras Al Khaimah joined in 1972).
Important and famous people in Sharjah

People in Sharjah

Infrastructure in Sharjah
  • Driving from Dubai to Sharjah, it is quite noticeable that Sharjah roads and infrastructure in general is some way behind that of Dubai.
  • Sharjah post offices - a list
Petrol shortages in Sharjah
  • August 2012 update - ADNOC is reportedly taking over (or has taken over) the operation of petrol stations previously run by other operators and shut down. Despite whatever official statements made by the petrol companies, most people and the media believe they shut down because they didn't want to continue losing money on subsidising petrol sales.
  • From about May 2011, many petrol stations stopped supplying petrol in Sharjah and the Northern Emirates. Petrol stations affected might or might not be EMARAT, ENOC, EPPCO.
    • Apparently due to something called "technical upgrades" but as the press repeatedly pointed out, there did not appear to be any sort of upgrades in progress.
    • Rumours were that the petrol station companies had stopped supplying petrol because they no longer wanted to subsidise the cost (petrol out of the pump is cheaper than the production costs due to government regulated price). Media could not get any official comment from the gas companies.
    • However, ADNOC petrol stations continued to supply petrol (but of course there were long queues of cars waiting to be filled up). There were reports that ADNOC would take over the operation of the other petrol stations but those reports were not officially confirmed.
Power cuts in Sharjah
  • Sharjah is earning an undesirable reputation for crippling power cuts in the summer (since about 2007 or 2008), due apparently to poor electricity supply infrastructure, or bugs in the system, or something else depending on who you listen to.
  • Whatever the talk, residents, particularly in the industrial areas, suffer long periods without electricity in the summer months, when air-conditioning is most needed.
  • Areas affected might include Abu Shagara, Al Majarah, Al Nahda, Al Qasimia, Al Rolla, Al Wahda, Industrial Areas.
  • Visitors and new residents who think that it is possible to make do without a/c in the UAE should think again. Find a sauna somewhere and sit in it for 12 hours or more while trying to do what you'd normally do during that period. Then you'll have some idea of how uncomfortable it is in Sharjah without power. If you think we're joking about using a sauna as a test, well, wait until after a power cut and then let us know if you still think we were trying to be funny.
  • The irony is that UAE newspapers regularly carry pictures of areas in Sharjah with streetlights on during the day, and other obvious electricity wastage while some areas suffer from power cuts.
  • Attempting to contact the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) seems to be a mostly fruitless exercise based on reports and anecdotal stories from suffering residents.
  • Probably the most practical solution is to live in a different emirate in the first place, or try to find out which areas are free of power cuts before choosing a place, or at least buy a generator before the summer when they're still available.
  • One rumour doing the expat gossip circuit is that Sharjah wants to clear out the Industrial Areas and use them for other activities. Given the political structure existing in the UAE, that seems an unlikely explanation - if the government and rulers want to do something, generally they can and will simply go ahead and do it.
Landmarks in Sharjah

Landmarks in Sharjah

Living in Sharjah
Bachelor rule in Sharjah and Single women living in Sharjah
  • 09 June 2012 - GN reported that landlords in Sharjah continued to claim a new law restricted single women from living in the emirate but some landlords could get around the law if a bribe ... er ... an additional fee was paid. However, the report quoted Sultan Al Mualla, Director of Sharjah Municipality, as saying in a statement issued by the Sharjah Media Center (undated, not found on SMC website, not supplied) that "No law has ever been issued in Sharjah that differentiates between women and men with regard to housing rentals. Single women in Sharjah can certainly continue to rent apartments according to their personal needs."
  • 04 June 2012 - Gulf News reported that a consequence of the new bachelor accommodation rule in Sharjah in April 2012, was that landlords were not allowing single women to rent (or renew their contract for) apartments in Sharjah unless they could produce a marriage certificate, claiming (the landlords that is, not the report), that the new bachelor applied to them. But it appears to be an incorrect interpretation on the part of landlords. The GN quoted Khalid Al Shamsi, Director of the Consumer Protection Department at the Sharjah Municipality, as saying "The bachelor rule does not apply to single women at all. Landlords do not have to ask for tenants’ marriage certificates. We have placed advertisements about the [bachelor] rule and landlords should not fabricate new ones and claim that we are responsible. ... Women who face eviction or are turned away because they are single should visit our department, obtain a copy of the rule, and explain it to the landlord. If the landlord continues with this claim, then we will take action and explain the rules out to him in detail." It was not clear what action, besides an explanation, would be take in such a case. The report carried several stories from women who had been denied an apartment rental by landlords saying single women were not allowed to rent apartments in Sharjah.
  • 12 April 2012 - The Sharjah Media Centre issued a statement in response to (presumably) the GN report, saying This is with reference to the story published in English media dated 12 April 2012 on "workers left homeless after being banished from families-only residential zones in Sharjah". Sharjah Media Centre, the communications arm of the government of Sharjah, would like to clarify that the story contains erroneous information. The clarifications included the following statements (although it is unknown if the bachelors evicted at short notice who lost rental money are feeling any happier as a result of the statement):
    • Sharjah Government’s latest order is directed towards violators of the law. The government has given the single workers a notice to relocate to zones designated for bachelors.
    • The Sharjah government has extended help to the violators to identify suitable alternative accommodation. Furthermore, no fine or punishment has been imposed on the violators.
  • 12 April 2012 - GN Express carried a report headed "Sharjah workers: eviction nightmare. Hundreds of workers left homeless after being banished from families-only residential zones", and said The men, mostly South Asians in low-paying jobs, said they were told by government officials to move out at very short notice, as little as 24 hours. Water and power lines in their accommodations were cut off after the one-day notice period expired. Many said they lost money since they had paid rent in advance.
  • April 2012 - a new rule was introduced in Sharjah, with restrictions on where bachelors earning less than AED 4,000 per month can live in Sharjah - company provided accommodation or in an industrial area, but not areas with family (villa) accommodation units
  • . Unknown if bachelors earning more than AED 4,000 per month can still live anywhere in Sharjah. Another restriction is on the number of residents per unit - up to 3 people in a studio, 4 people in a 1 bedroom apartment, 6 in a 2 bdrm apt, and 9 in a 3 bdrm apt. The reasons for the new rule were related to increases in overcrowding of villas, poor hygiene, overloading of utilities (power, water, sewerage), increases in crime, in family areas where large numbers of bachelors lived. Note that a previous rule does not allow accommodation to be shared by men and women together (unless they are related or married).
Politics and government in Sharjah

Politics in Sharjah

Population and demographics in Sharjah
  • Population of Sharjah about 1 million in 2012-2013.
Religion in Sharjah

Religion in Sharjah

Shopping in Sharjah
  • Sharjah shopping mall directory - list of shopping centers in Sharjah. The three big (gish) ones worth a visit are:
    • Sharjah Mega Mall - several levels with a good range of shops
    • Sharjah City Center - not as big as it sounds but it has a Carrefour
    • Sahara Center - good range of shops and children's play area, decent food court, and a Spinneys supermarket
  • For better value shops and a large supermarket, try the Sharjah Safeer Mall on Al Ittihad Road. It has an impressive children's entertainment area with roller coaster on the top floor.
  • Sharjah does not sell any Haram products, for example pork and alcohol
Tourism in Sharjah
  • Arabian Wildlife Center - see also Sharjah Natural History Museum (same location). Opening times Saturday 1100-1730, Sunday-Thursday (closed Tuesday) 0900-1730, Friday 1400-1730. Entry prices AED 15 adults, AED 5 children aged 12-15, free for kids < 12 years old. Tel +971-6-5311212 or +971-6-5311999, website www.breedingcentresharjah.com.
  • Big Bus Tour of Sharjah - City Sightseeing Sharjah double-decker tour buses announced by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) on 28 Nov 2012, start date not supplied. Hop-on hop-off tickets AED 85 for adults and AED 45 for children, valid 24 hours. Bus trip duration is 75 mins with 15 stops including at Central Souq, Al Noor Mosque, Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Qasba, Sharjah Aquarium, beach, Islamic Museum. Language commentary available in Arabic, English, German, Russian initially, and Chinese, French, Indian, Spanish, Urdu to be added at a later date.
  • Blue Souk, or The Central Market - distinctive shopping center next to the Khalid Lagoon in Al Majaz area with blue tiled roof and 500+ shops. Built in 1979. Some traditional items and antiques for sale, lots of carpets, and otherwise fairly ordinary. But attracts tourists wanting to take a photo. Imagine Karama in Dubai with a pretty roof and you'll get the idea. Opening times 0900-1300 and 1600-2300 Saturday-Thursday, 0900-1200 and 1600-2300 Fridays. Tel +971-6-5623333 (Sharjah Municipality).
  • Hotels in Sharjah - note that none of the Sharjah hotels have bars or restaurants that serve alcohol, nor can you get any from room service. Duty-free alcohol is available at Sharjah Airport but keep it discreet if you bring it to a hotel.
  • See also Activities, Events, Entertainment in Sharjah heading
Transport in Sharjah

Transport in Sharjah

Travel - Getting to and from Sharjah

Sharjah by air

Weather and climate in Sharjah
  • Spring - hot
  • Summer - welcome to the sauna, very hot and humid, especially when SEWA cuts your electricity which is common in Sharjah.
  • Autumn - hot
  • Winter - pleasant during the day but can be surprisingly cool at night
Last update Monday 09-Mar-2015. Page development 1H 2T 3D 4L 5C.
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