While walking around Sharjah, one can find a long white building with a golden dome. Many years ago it used to be traditional Souk-Al-Mahara market. However, the market was closed in 2008 and totally reconstructed to become the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization. It was opened in 1996, but the collection reached more than 5,000 objects incredibly fast, and the local administration needed to expand the museum. The new location perfectly fits the needs of the museum. These days it offers a wide choice of interactive exhibits and modern technologies, which make the tours more interesting for both children and adults.
What to see in Museum of Islamic Civilization
Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization is the unique museum in the UAE. It has a collection of more than 5,000 artifacts of Islamic nations from all over the world. The museum was opened with the support of Sultan bin Muhammad bin Saqr Al-Qassimi, who wanted to protect the heritage of Islamic Civilization and show the openings and achievements of the Oriental masters and scientists.
Currently, there are seven galleries available in the museum, and each of them has its own theme. One can discover them as on their own, as well as by booking a group tour. If you have a lot of time and want to know all the details, you can take the audio guide at the entrance. It supports a lot of languages including English and Russian. After approaching an exhibit, you can choose the appropriate track in order to listen to all the information.
The first floor of the museum hosts the gallery of Islamic Faith of Abu Bakr. Here you can find a lot of useful information about the 5 key principles of the religion and the importance of the pilgrimage to Mecca. One of the expositions offers an interactive map that shows the hard path to Mecca that was used in ancient times. In order to make the map moving, one needs to press the red button. The map will be illuminated showing the long path leading to Mecca.
Big copies of the most popular mosques from all over the world attract the majority of the guests. Here you can see the biggest and the most astonishing mosques from all the regions.
After the moment when the collection of the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization reached more than 5,000 of objects, the museum was moved to a different building. These days it offers a wide range of interactive exhibits, as well as special mechanical devices, which can be used by the guests of the museum. The exhibition of the museum also offers old models of household appliances, rare editions of the Quran and copies of the most famous mosques in the world.
Here you can also witness different editions of the Quran, including the most ancient ones, which were made in the 7th century. The cover of the Quran has a lot of precious stones and metals. One can also see the smallest editions of the Quran, which are less than 5 cm in length, and one needs to use a magnifying glass in order to read something.
The gallery of science and technologies of Ibn al-Haytham offers the best inventions of the Oriental scientists. The visitors of the museum are usually surprised when they see a huge number of inventions created by the wise people from the Orient.
The gallery with the best technological and scientific achievements offers various navigation devices, which were used in order to set the course of a ship. The majority of them are mounted in the open space, and the guests are able to only to look but to touch and to interact with them. You can listen to the audio guide, or call a real guide in order to discover all the secrets of these devices. The museum offers a huge number of interactive devices, which makes the tour incredibly interesting for kids.
Two other galleries showcase various household items of the Islamic Nations, which were used in different times. Here you can see numerous devices, which were used to read time, deliver water to the fields, and many others. One can see how they were used by pressing a corresponding button right next to the device.
The second level of the museum has the unique collection of hand-made carpets, traditional costumes and even the rarest clothes from the Middle Age.
The third level is relatively small. It has no exposition, but you need to come here for sure. The dome is decorated with the map of the sky, showing all the stars and signs of Zodiac. One can look at the sky sitting in a comfortable chair, and drinking traditional Arabic Coffee.
Address: Corniche Road, Sharjah, UAE
Working hours: Sat – Thu, 8:00-20:00, Fri, 16:00-20:00; The museum has a different schedule during the Ramadan.
Entrance fee: from 5 AED