After Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Sharjah is the third largest city in the United Arab Emirates, and is only a half hour from Dubai. The name Sharjah may come from the fact that the city is located east (or “sharq”) of the larger two cities (really, NORTHeast). So Jimmy and I decided to take a little side trip to Sharjah to check it out. We went on a Friday, which is a Muslim religious day (akin to our Sunday, but on Eid Al Adha when we went even more significant than a typical Friday). The pictures look a little gloomy, because it was gloomy that day – clouds and sand coloring the air.
While I had not heard of Sharjah before moving here, Sharjah’s name is known by many stamp collectors because of the large numbers of stamps that were issued by the Sharjah Post Office beginning in 1963 (before the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971) and continuing through 1973. When I looked to see what these stamps might look like I made a fascinating discovery – there are numerous stamps issued by Sharjah with American themes – like the Apollo Space Mission, John F. Kennedy, the White House, and Niagara Falls. Turns out that an American entrepreneur masterminded these stamps figuring that they would garner interest from collectors. Wow. Who knew? (I would post a few, but could not find free licensed images, so if you’re interested, google them. It’s fascinating.)
After driving the Corniche we stopped to dip our toes into the water on the Sharjah beach.
Sharjah is more conservative than Dubai, and no alcohol is served here even in hotels (unlike Dubai and Abu Dhabi). As a more conservative emirate, it is favored by some Muslims, and many things are closed on Friday. Therefore we did not get to visit some of the primary attractions but if you plan to go on any other the day of the week, you might want to visit the attractions we missed: the Gold Souk, the Heritage Museum, and the Art Museum. Even the large Ferris wheel known as the Eye of the Emirates was closed on Friday. So do as we did not – if you go to Sharjah, go on a day other than Friday. We enjoyed our little Friday side trip nonetheless and were back in Dubai in a flash.