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Sharjah ‘City Of Culture And Heritage’

Designated as the ‘Cultural Capital’ Of The UAE By UNESCO In 1998, Sharjah invites you to experience the essence of Arabian lifestyle and Islamic culture. Discover beautifully restored heritage sites, splendid mosques and charming old souqs; explore Sharjah Creek with its traditional fishing and trading industries, and immerse yourself in over 20 impressive museums and renowned educational centres. Traditional Dress Traditional clothing is a symbol of national pride and identity among Emiratis. Men traditionally wear an immaculately pressed, white, ankle length robe called a kandura or dishdasha. A small skull cap (gahfia) is worn under a white head cloth (guttrah), which is held in place by the twisted black rope (agal). For important occasions, the white dishdasha is covered by a flowing black cloak (bisht) edged with gold braid. VIP’s wear a bisht as part of their everyday wear. Women usually wear a black cloak or abaya over their clothes. Underneath an abaya, women traditionally wear a ankle-length dress (jalabiya), which is often highly decorative, and flowing trousers (sirwal) which are fitted at the ankle and, again, are usually decorated with embroidery. Most women cover their hair with a scarf (shayla) and some women, usually of an older generation, wear a canvas mask (burqa) that covers the eyebrows, nose, and mouth. Traditional Sports & Past- times While in Sharjah you can experience time-honoured Arabian sports that are still practiced in the emirate today. The sport of falconry dates back more than 2,000 years. It is a highly-regarded activity throughout the Gulf region, because of its roots in Bedouin (desert nomad) culture. The falcon, known in Arabic as ‘saqr’, is much admired in the Arab world for its beauty, posture, sharp eyesight and grandeur. The thoroughbred Arabian horse is famous throughout the world. Witness this magnificent animal in racing action at Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club (06-531 1155). Camels have competed in races in Arabia for centuries. The ‘Ships of the Desert’ were also integral to Bedouin culture, providing a means of transport, a source of food and a supply of leather. Traditional Souqs Selling crafts, curios, antiques and souvenirs for visitors, Souq Al Arsah and Souq Al Bahar are also fascinating places to explore for various commodities including traditional clothing, incense and spices. Traditionally, souqs were as much a meeting place as a trading centre: the shaded alleys overflowing with individual stalls provided protection from the hot sun, and the interspersed tea and coffee houses were where men would gather to discuss the day’s events. A visit to the souq is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the city’s cultural heritage.

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