Rest in the UAE, Sharjah: the most interesting places, except for the beach
Where to fly in the fall and winter to warm and not very far? After the "closure" of Egypt, many rushed to the UAE, especially since February 1, 2017, the UAE introduced a visa-free regime for Russians. But Egypt, the United Arab Emirates is unlikely to replace: the cost of living there is much higher - but the standard of living, too. We decided to see what, besides the sea and the beach, can surprise Sharjah, one of the three most popular tourist destinations in the Emirates?
Border guards in radiantly white kandurah (long men's shirts) pierce with an eagle-eyed, but quickly put a 30-day tourist visa-stamp in the passport - and you are already in the queue for the exit, where women officers in black scarves and abaya ) with bright shoulder straps.
How to dress in the UAE for tourists
Even before the entry of all warned that women in the UAE should be closed shoulders and knees, and head with such a burning sun cover at once, without reminders. The UAE is still not Saudi Arabia, tourists can wear familiar, but just not too revealing clothes - and in bathing suits you can swim only on the hotel beach.
The beach of the Coral Beach Resort, next to the new Sheraton
Sharjah is the only UAE emirate that has access to two bays - the Persian and Oman. On their coasts there are both private and public beaches. Private beaches of hotels with white sand are ideal for swimming - entry into the water is convenient, without drops. Admission to most public beaches is free, the most popular being Al Khan and Al Mamzar.
Special playgrounds are also located on the quays of Al-Kasbah and Al-Majaz. Most restaurants offer a menu for children. In all the major malls - Sahara center, Mega mall - there are always game zones and entertainment centers. In the shopping and entertainment complex Al Shaab Village - a whole amusement park, as well as an indoor skating rink.
The temperature in Sharjah from November to April is from 18 ° C to 30 ° C, falling at night to 12 ° C.
From January to March, slight precipitation and rare tropical storms are possible. From July to September it is impossible to be on the street: the temperature during the day is above 45 ° C, high humidity, and the sea is like a hot bath. Later in the evening the temperature drops to 35 ° C and you can already swim in the sea without feeling like boiled fish.
The huge mosque of Al-Nur (in Russian - "light") on the quay of the lagoon in Sharjah, built on the grounds of the famous Sultanahmet mosque in Istanbul, gives the most tourist look.
But this is not only a temple, but also an educational center, where on Mondays from 10 to 12 hours tourists are told about Islam. Before entering, women are given a black abaya and a handkerchief, shoes should be removed immediately. A very sensible hour tour of the main parameters of world religion ends with giving men a chance to try on a traditional head scarf - gutra.
Al Nur Island - Butterfly House
Opposite the Al-Nur mosque is an island-oasis, entrance to it is paid. There is a small botanical garden and a pavilion for butterflies of impressive architecture, but not very rich in content. But on the sandy shore there are long paths, trampolines, along which you want to run back and forth forever.
Wildlife and Birds Park
The largest indoor reserve in the Emirates is located in Sharjah - the Arabia's Wildlife Center, where you can see the rare Arabian leopard, the artiodactyrs of desert and mammals from different regions of the Arabian Peninsula - while walking through spacious air-conditioned corridors.
Five girls take off a lively flock when we appear - there are few tourists in the summer
For nocturnal animals, there are separate dark corridors, where you can see different mice, gophers, and Kapa daman, whom, there is an opinion, Moses mistakenly mistaken for a hare and forbidden to eat. But the spike-tailed lizard is tasty, the caretaker says approvingly.
In another nature reserve - the Bird Watching Center (Wasit Wetland Center) - they carry electric vehicles across a vast swampy territory, for true birdwatchers ("birdwatchers") there are special islands with binoculars and descriptions of the main species of feathered guests. Just plan an excursion to the local swamps taking into account the calendar of bird migration: birds migrate around the planet in October-November and March.
In the building of the Center itself there are many local birds living in the reserve permanently and, of course, successfully breeding: the newly hatched chicks and 11 magnificent pelicans and other birds will be shown to tourists.
Fans of the underwater world will appreciate the Sharjah Aquarium. Located on two levels with a total area of 6500 square meters, it combines 20 tanks, each of which holds 1.8 million liters of water.
Like in every respected institution, there are frightening sea predators, children's entertainment, and a transparent tunnel - when huge fishes swim right over your head.
Museum of Maritime History
Directly in front of the aquarium - another curious and informative museum - Maritime museum. The sea is what allowed people 6 thousand years ago to settle on the shores of the Persian Gulf.
And the museum clearly shows what they have been doing all this time: in the huge halls there are several old boats of fishermen and merchants, but the most interesting is the boat of pearl catchers and an exposition about their life. Hellish labor, scorching sun, simple rations - coffee and dates until the evening, for dinner - rice, fish and again dates, evening prayer and sleep - right there on the deck, alongside. Only the captain had a stove bench and a chest for personal items. But since the pearls were learned to grow, the trade has faded away.
Sharjah Planetarium (Sharjah Center of Astronomy & Space Sciences)
The most interesting part of the Center for Astronomy and Space opened in Sharjah two years ago is the Planetarium, where they show a show in the full dome hall 3 times a day - in Arabic and English. At the entrance, there is a wall of honor with space explorers, where there is both Gagarin, and Tereshkova, and even Tsiolkovsky, also the first American and first Chinese cosmonaut - in general, no one was forgotten.
Space food - Russian production
In addition to the show, there are many interesting rides: in one, pedaling a bicycle in front of the screen with an imaginary city, you see what happens at the speed of light, in the other - you are trying to dock aircraft.
Excursion to the desert: archaeological center Mleha
Endless sand dunes, colorful sand and traces of shells on stones of 60 million years old are what attract many tourists from all over the world to the Arabian desert.
Knowledge lovers will enjoy visiting the museum in the archaeological center of Mlekha (Mleiha) with a variety of exhibits: here and elegant little things from the 1st century AD - for example, a necklace of fish bones and an elegant vessel for a perfume in the shape of a date, and a large presentation of the irrigation system, as well as a royal tomb, where 8 camels and 3 horses were buried at the same time, at the same time, immense wealth.
Thirsty thrills will take away from here the same ride on off-road and quad bikes on the sandy slopes and explore the "wadi" - the dried river beds.
Sixty million years ago there was a sea teeming with life on this place, and now only a poisonous shrub called “Sodom apple” grows in the desert and the Arabian willow, whose roots go 70 meters deep into the earth, grows.
Sharjah, east coast, resort Khor Fakkan
The east coast of Sharjah is no longer the Persian Gulf, but almost the ocean - to be geographically accurate, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean. And here, too, there are hotels, in Khor Fakkan, you can relax right under the mountain, where the summer residence of the 78-year-old Emir of Sharjah is located. One drawback: close by is a large cargo port and cranes on the horizon.
"Heart of Sharjah" - a former fishing village and boutique hotel
The architecture and atmosphere of old times (before the so-called "oil era") was recreated in the historical and cultural complex "Heart of Sharjah". Nearby, the Al Bait boutique hotel will soon open its doors, where the east will be waiting for tourists - inside and out.
After wandering through the maze of streets of the complex "Heart of Sharjah", you are transported 200 years ago and see the ancient Sharjah with buildings of coral limestone - the most important commercial port of Arabia.
I think that it is already clear - in Sharjah there is not only sand, date palms and shops. Sharjah, declared by UNESCO the cultural capital of the Arab world - is also the emirate, where in 2011 the first Orthodox church was built in the UAE, where there are many interesting museums - and all new ones continue to be built.