With over 1.5 million inhabitants, Sharjah is the third most populated city in the United Arab Emirates after Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Sharjah is located at around 30km from Dubai and around 13km from Ajman forming part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area. Sharjah’s rich history goes back 5000 years and is steeped in trade and culture. Over the centuries a number of souks were established as a result of trade and continue to thrive today. The Souks of Sharjah offer residents and tourists the opportunity to experience local delicacies and culture while picking up an antique or a souvenir to take back home.
Souk Al Arslah or the Old Bazaar was established 50 years ago with its many vendors selling everything from traditional clothes, semi-precious stones, locally handmade jewellery, herbs and decorative antiques in wood brass and silver. A coffee shop offering Sulaimani and Arabic coffee. Souq Al Arslah is located on Al Sharq Street.
One of Sharjah’s most popular souks is the Central Souk on King Faisal Street. Aptly referred to as the Blue Souk thanks to its exquisite decorative tiles, this souk dates back to the 1970s. The Blue Souk is spread across two building linked by a bridge and is fully air conditioned. Unlimited retailers line the corridors of this majestic souk selling a plethora of items including cosmetics, clothes, perfumes, luxurious Iranian carpets and other antiques. The Souk is also ideal for gold jewellery both traditionally handmade pieces and contemporary jewellery.
Next on the list is the Souq Saqr or the Iranian Market. This souq is part of the Sharjah Heritage district and is a favourite stop for historians, artists and bargain hunters alike. Hailed as one of the best place to pick up a unique piece of history at competitive prices, sellers here sell antiques, spices, handicraft, art and traditional clothing. A truly unique shopping experience, this quaint bazaar has something for everyone.
The last of our recommended stops is Souq Al Juma which is particularly known to tourists and residents due to its proximity to the Mleiha Archaeological Centre. Commonly referred to as the Friday Market, the Souk is opened every day of the week with retailers selling spectacular carpets from Pakistan, Kashmir and Afghanistan with roadside stalls offering a variety of street foods. Haggling is encouraged and expected if you are on the lookout for a good bargain.
If trailing the souks is your one of your favourite pastimes then Sharjah is the place for you!