SHARJAH 1 December 2017: One of the best ways to explore Sharjah’s array of cultural landmarks is to purchase a ticket and hop-on one of the City Sightseeing Sharjah buses.
Launched by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in collaboration with City Sightseeing Worldwide, City Sightseeing Sharjah operates a fleet of distinctive-liveried vehicles for passengers to enjoy a number of routes around Sharjah.
One of City Sightseeing Sharjah’s most popular trips is its Green Route, also known as the Cultural Tour.
Running every day from 9:00am to 7:00pm, the Cultural Tour is a 75-minute journey that takes in eight stops; the Central Souq, Al Jubail Market, Heart of Sharjah, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation, Radisson Blu Hotel Sharjah, Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa, Cultural Square and Al Mahatta Museum / Mega Mall.
The route is one out of three that Sharjah City Sightseeing operates that cover Sharjah’s most significant leisure, commercial and cultural landmarks, with the other two being the Red Route (Leisure Tour) and Blue Route (Night Tour).
First Stop: The Central Souq
The Central Souq is an architectural gem that features two main pavilions connected via a brace of bridges. Home to 600 shops, the attraction draws visitors and tourists who wish to shop in a traditional souq with unique architecture inspired by Islamic heritage. The Central Souq is the perfect place for those keen to browse and buy traditional and contemporary gifts, souvenirs, mementos, garments and handmade goods.
Second Stop: Al Jubail Market
Al Jubail Market is one of the largest specialised commercial markets in Sharjah in terms of its size, activities and services provided. With its commercial activities playing a pivotal role in furthering the economic sector of Sharjah, the market also comprises sections to sell fruit, vegetable, meat and fish. A bustling and vibrant retail space, Al Jubail Market’s functional authenticity can be seen in its dock where fishing boats unload their fresh catch and in its fish auction area.
Third Stop: Heart of Sharjah
The largest historical preservation and restoration project in the region, Heart of Sharjah seeks to revitalise the heritage district as a vibrant cultural destination by revelling in its glorious past. It does this through its programme of restoring historical buildings and following the guidelines of traditional Sharjah architecture and transforming them into hotels, restaurants, cafes, art galleries and markets. City Sightseeing Sharjah buses pass by a number of old souqs in Heart of Sharjah, such Souq Al Arsah and Souq Al Shanasiyah, as well as numerous dining and retail outlets.
Fourth Stop: The Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation
The new Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation was reopened in 2008. A cultural and intellectual treasure that holds 6,000 significant artefacts from Islamic civilisation, it is the ideal destination to enjoy and explore the universality of Islamic civilisation and culture and to learn important details about the religion’s history, including its sciences, discoveries, culture and art.
Fifth Stop: Radisson Blu Resort Sharjah
The Radisson Blu Resort Sharjah is a five-star luxury hospitality facility located 15 kilometres from Sharjah International Airport and close to key attractions that include Heart of Sharjah, museums and the Central Souq, among others. It has numerous modern amenities, including a swimming pool, business centre, spa, tennis courts, gyms, saunas, children’s fun zone, conference rooms and four restaurants.
Sixth Stop: Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa
Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa is the emirate’s newest and most extensive beach resort set to become the city’s favourite seaside gathering place for a leisure experience. Forming part of the Cultural Tour as the sixth stop, Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa features an array of luxury restaurants and a reception and convention centre. It is located north of Sharjah close Ajman, making it accessible from both emirates.
Seventh Stop: The Cultural Square
At the seventh stop on the Cultural Tour, the City Sightseeing Sharjah buses pass by one of the most important squares in the emirate, The Cultural Square. Also known as Book Roundabout, The Cultural Square features a tribute to the Holy Quran established by Sharjah Municipality. Extending over 20,684 square-metres, it is home to the Cultural Palace, Sharjah Public Library and the Office of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah. In recognition of the important link between culture and learning, The Cultural Square is surrounded by a number of schools.
Eighth Stop: Al Mahatta Museum / Mega Mall
Al Mahatta Museum was inaugurated in 2000 at the site of the former Sharjah Airport, the first airport in the Gulf. Built in 1930 and operational until 1977, the airport was in its heyday a vital staging post between east and west. The museum features exhibited planes, fuel vehicles and a large collection of photos of the facility, enabling visitors to explore Sharjah’s rich aviation sector heritage. Next to the museum is the Mega Mall Sharjah, one of largest shopping centres in the emirate, which provides visitors with the perfect opportunity to fit in some quality shopping around their museum visit.
The City Sightseeing Sharjah Cultural Tour tickets cost Dh100 for adults and Dh50 for children aged five years and over. The tour is free-of-charge for differently-abled persons and for children younger than five years.
The 24-hour ticket can also be used for the Red Route (Leisure Tour), with unlimited access and hop-on hop-off of buses on both routes. Tickets are available at more than 60 locations in Sharjah, Dubai and Ajman.
According to the popular global travel site Trip Advisor, City Sightseeing Sharjah is rated number one out of the list of activities that tourists should do in Sharjah.