When the Sharjah Museum opened for the first time in 1987 it was named as Souk Al-Majarrah and was only the second of its kind in the entire Arabian Gulf, the first being the Central Souk which had been built in 1977. This is one of the venues which gained popularity as soon as it opened and not just due to its contents but also because of its magnificent architecture. The layout of Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization is in keeping with the Arab-Islamic elements used in designing buildings and its décor reflects the richness of Islamic heritage, culture and traditions. Considered as one of the architectural wonders, its most attractive feature is the majestic and gilded central dome which is intricately adorned with mosaic and depicts the night sky with all the signs of zodiac.
The Sharjah Museum had been established with a mission in mind namely to promote the Islamic viewpoints relating to art, science, culture and history amidst an international audience. It is with the intention of accomplishing this objective that the museum tries to display artefacts and interpretations which throw light on Muslim culture and encourages research on the subject. Some of the artefacts on display are manuscripts, textiles, coins, pottery and jewellery and in a section named the Ka'aba Hall, there is a beautiful collection of gold plated Qurans and a replica of the black embroidered curtain used to cover the sacred Kaaba Stone at Mecca. Photos are also displayed showing visitors how the Hajj is performed by pilgrims every year and the process involved.
Since the Sharjah Museum had initially started as an indoor mall, it was renamed only in 2008 after having undergone large scale renovation, its internal ground plan is slightly different from that of a typical museum. There are, of course, the exhibits, but also there are prayer rooms, a cafeteria in which refreshments and snacks are served and a gift shop
At the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, events, workshops and exhibitions are held regularly so that exquisite masterpieces related to the Islamic culture are constantly shown to the world, making it an important hub in the region. The latest addition to the museum is a library which opened and houses books on almost every topic in the world. The Sharjah Museum really is the epitome of what Sharjah holds true, namely Islamic culture - and it is testament to the rulers that culture can be shared.
Points of note –
- For the disabled and the physically challenged, wheelchair access and special bathroom facilities have been provided.
- Its large golden central dome is an important landmark in the city and can be spotted from far.
- This is an Islamic Anthropologist's heaven!
When –From Saturday to Thursday the museum is open between 8.00 am to 8.00 pm while on Friday it is open for a shorter duration, 4.00 pm to 8.00 pm.
How long –Because there are seven spacious galleries and display areas, you can devote a good few hours to the museum. You would at least need 45 minutes to see it quickly.
Location –Located on Corniche Street in the Al-Majarrah area it faces the Sharjah creek and is accessible from the Gulf Road as well.
Cost –For a family the price is AED 10, for a single adult it is AED 5 and for children the entry is free.