Sharjah is one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The emirate covers 2,600 km² (1,003 mi²) and has a population of over 800,000 (2008).
Sharjah’s history goes back almost 6,000 years when it was called As Sarcoa and believed to be one of the wealthiest towns in the region. The population of the city was very small at that time and the economic activities of the people included trade, farming, hunting, fishing and peal diving. Several early settlements were based around the ‘Falaj’, which was a man-made underground water course for irrigation purposes.
In addition, Sharjah has three enclaves on the east coast, bordering the Gulf of Oman. These are Kalba, Dibba Al-Hisn, and Khor Fakkan. The latter is providing Sharjah with a major east coast port. The islands of Sir Abu Nu’ayr and Abu Musa are located within the Arabian Gulf. The city of Sharjah, which overlooks the Arabian Gulf, has a population of 519,000 (2003 census estimate) and contains the main administrative and commercial centers together with an especially impressive array of cultural and traditional projects, including several museums.
Distinctive landmarks are the two major covered souks, reflecting Islamic design and a number of recreational areas and public parks such as Al Jazeirah Fun Park and Al Buheirah Corniche. The city is also notable for its numerous elegant mosques which contribute to the Emirate’s title as the Cultural Capital of the UAE. The Expo Centre Sharjah is well known especially for the annual book fair that is famous all over the region.
Sharjah is popular for its rich and cultural presence in the Arab region as it has won the prestigious UNESCO award as the Cultural capital of the Arab world in 1998.
The Emirate also encompasses some important oasis areas, the most famous of which is Dhaid where a wide range of vegetables and fruits are cultivated on its fertile soil.
Being the third largest emirate in the United Arab Emirates, it is the only one with a shoreline on both the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Sharjah is ruled by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.