Friday 22 November 2019

#SharjahSaturday - The Weeks Ahead

Here's your Second Reminder. Next week I'll post more detail about each of our intended locations.

The idea is you can come along and join us at any point and leave at any point. You can come along for the whole ride, or just follow the #SharjahSaturday hashtag on Twitter and pop by when you fancy. Your choice, entirely.

There's a ton more to see and do in and around Sharjah - let alone the emirates' east coast blandishments. But we'll save those for another time, hey?

The Plan 

9am - Jones
Meet at Jones The Grocer, Flag Island. Head to Mahatta Fort.

It was a close run thing at one time - the airport WAS going to be built in Dibba!

10am - Mahatta Fort
Faithfully restored, Sharjah's Mahatta Fort was built by Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi in 1932 and leased to the British government as a 'safe house' for overnighting travellers on the British Imperial Airways route from Croydon to Canberra. It houses a collection of the early 'planes flown by 'Gulf Aviation' (Gulf Air to you, mate) as well as a VC10 flight deck you can sit in. For anyone willing to listen, I'll be sharing the 'backstory' to Mahatta - including how it took a good man to die in order to get the agreement to build the fort signed.

Who you lookin' at, punk?

11am - Arabia's Wildlife Centre
Just off the Sharjah/Dhaid highway, you'll find this gem - the Sharjah Natural History Museum, the Islamic Botanical Garden, a petting zoo and Arabia's Wildlife Centre, a zoological park designed so that - in part - the humans are caged and the animals are free outdoors. 

Fen being funky, neeces being cheeky...

Lunch at Fen Café
So funky it'll make your knee joints ache, Fen is Sharjah's home grown art cafe, a vision in smoothed concrete and chilled out ambience with a good dose of hipster menu and a chocolate cake that sits somewhere above lead on the periodic table.

Al Naboodah was a Sharjah pearl merchant so rich he had houses in Bombay and Paris...

The Heart of Sharjah
We'll take a leisurely wander through the Heart of Sharjah, visiting the Bait Al Naboodah and walking along the Souk Al Shanasiyah to reach Rain Room at around 3-3.30ish. Those folks who actually want to experience the amazing sensation of walking through a rain shower in a dark cavern without actually getting wet will have to book for themselves. Visits are every 15 minutes for groups of no more than 6 and you book online here.

Islamic Civilisation? Check. Museum? Check. Sharjah? Check.

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation 
A rather wonderful collection of Islamic innovation, history and artefacts housed in what used to be a not terribly successful souq but which is now a thoroughly successful museum!

Sharjah Fort. When I first got here it had been demolished and only one small tower remained...

Al Hisn Sharjah/Souq Al Arsah/Coffee at Al Bait Hotel
Sharjah Fort was totally and faithfully rebuilt by the current Ruler of Sharjah after its almost total destruction in the late 1960s and has some interesting displays in it, apart from its interest as a big, traditional forty thing. The Souq Al Arsah - a faithful reconstruction of the traditional souk - backs onto the uber-luxurious, Chedi-run Al Bait Hotel, a Dhs 27 million conversion of three traditional old merchants' houses in the centre of Sharjah.

Wave goodbyes/head for Ajman

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