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H. H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi is the 18th   Ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah in a chain of Al Qasimi Rulers since 1600 AD. He has been at the forefront of the emirate's cultural, economic and social development and played a significant role in promoting cultural interaction and dialogue among nations at all levels , local and international. His Highness grew up with a deep-rooted love for his country and was able to expand his knowledge through broad education. He completed his higher education at the College of Agriculture at Cairo University. He made key initiatives at the local, as well as, at the international level. H.H. is a Founding Member of the Companion of The Guild of Cambridge Benefactors, Cambridge University. He is also a Founding Member of the University of Exeter's College of Benefactors, Exeter University. Due to his cultural achievements, Sharjah is crowned with prestigious titles:
  • the Cultural Capital of the Arab World in 1998
  • the Islamic Culture Capital for 2014
  • the Arab Tourism Capital for 2015.


The first evidence of human life in the UAE was discovered on Jebel Fayah in Sharjah Emirate, dating back to 85,000 BC. In 1490 AD, Sharjah was mentioned in the records of the famous Arab navigator, Ahmad Ibn Majid, as he navigated the Gulf's waters. Some of the most significant historical discoveries in Sharjah  were found  in  Mleiha, Kalba, Tell Abraq, Dibba and Jebel al-Bhuhais. Many of the archaeological items date back to the Stone Age or later. Sharjah was one of the wealthiest towns in the region. It was a vital  port on the lower Arabian Gulf from the time of the early trading with the East into the first half of the 19th century. The Al Qawasim tribe has been ruling Sharjah since 1760. Alongside fishing and trading, pearling was a primary income until the late 1940s. Since the discovery of oil in 1972, Sharjah has developed from small palm-frond houses to a contemporary city that extends all the way to the UAE's east coast. Sharjah has kept the spirit of its history alive by incorporating tradition into every aspect of contemporary development.

How it was named

Sharjah, or the ‘rising sun' as it means in Arabic  appears as early as the 2nd century AD in a map drawn by the Greek geographer Ptolemy, which indicates the settlement of Sarcoa, where Sharjah can now be found.


Sharjah is lies on the West coast of the UAE. It shares its southern borders with Dubai. It is the only emirate that is distinguished by a coastline along its both sides; the Arabian Gulf Coast and the Gulf of Oman. It is the third largest emirate with an area of 2650 sq. km, equivalent to 3.3 per cent of the UAE's total area, excluding the islands. Sharjah includes major cities of different features such as:

Khorfakkan City

It is the largest town on the east coast, located midway between Dibba Al Hisn and Fujairah and featured with an expanding container terminal and port.


It maintains a historical charm  and known for its old forts and attractive area  for bird watching, kayaking and hiking trips .


It is a set of three seaside villages belonging to the Sultanate of Oman (Dibba Bayah), Fujairah (Dibba Muhallab) and in between the two, Sharjah (Dibba Al Hisn). Dibba was the site of one of the great battles of the Ridda Wars, the battle site of 633 when over 10,000 rebels died. At Dibba, the mountains rise 2,000 metres into the Mussandam Peninsula. This is a superb area for hiking trips and following nature trails.

Al Dhaid

It is the third largest town in Sharjah and a main producer of fruit and vegetables sold in the UAE, especially strawberries, dates, limes, guava and mangoes.


Located in Al Madam, it is one of the most popular desert areas in the emirate of Sharjah, attracting visitors for camping sites, desert drives and off-road bikers.

Nature and environment

The emirate has large desert regions, with some agricultural areas. Its islands include Sir Bu Nuair and Abu Musa. It is rich with beaches, marshes and acacia forests. Sharjah is a home to the largest number of natural reserves in the UAE.


Sharjah has a diversified economy and a solid infrastructure. It has 19 industrial areas that contribute to more than 48% of the UAE's gross industrial output. In 2003, Sharjah had the first low cost airline in the Middle East (Air Arabia). It maintains 3 ports with a total area of  49,588,000 square meters. Sharjah has two free zones with a total area of 28 million square meters; SAIF Zone and  Hamriyah Free Zone. It also hosts Expo Centre Sharjah, which is one of the region's most popular trade exhibition venues, with various B2B and B2C shows. Key contributors of the emirate's economy are: gas, tourism, education, healthcare and logistics. In 2014, GDP reached around AED 113.89 Billion Major landmarks Sharjah is a land of diversified architectural character and cultural wealth. It is known for its various touristic sites, which include historical areas like Heart of Sharjah and modern sites like Al Qasba  and Al Majaz waterfront. Read about: Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021


Population of Sharjah is 800,000 as of 2008 estimations i.e 19 per cent of UAE total population. Useful links

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