Sharjah Light Festival 2018

It’s that time of year again – to escape from the confines of a mall and to immerse yourself in art that everyone can truly appreciate for the few fleeting days of February when Sharjah organizes the Sharjah Light Festival which is free and open to all the public.

Our first stop this year was the 1000 Palm Oasis where they had set up multiple infinity light tunnels in bright electric blue and soft golden yellow fairy lights. I have to say, I was completely blown away by the blue. It’s the kind of blue that makes you want to lie down and look up and pretend that every glowing fairy flower and butterfly is a star so close the universe is within your grasp.

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A-maze-in

It was a really good idea to set up multiple versions of the same installation in order to manage the crowd. The last time it had been rather difficult to get pictures in what with all the people, but this time, the crowd was nicely distributed so everyone got a chance at that perfectly instagrammable shot.

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To infinity and beyond

Right next to the Palm Oasis is one of the most beautiful mosques in Sharjah – Al Noor Mosque. This year I can’t decide if I was more attracted to the mosque due to the beautiful symmetric patterns that lit it up like a jewel in the night sky, or the qirat of the imam at Maghrib prayers. The former was a delight for the eyes- a sort of surface and fleeting pleasure, but the latter stirred something deep and personal in one’s soul. The combination of the two was art in itself.

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Al Noor Mosque

It’s interesting that this year’s light festival seems a lot more toned down than previous years in that the colour projections are a lot less vibrant than before which probably has something to do with both the light intensity and the choice of artwork on display. But that didn’t stop us from finding our way to our next destination after an amazing dinner at Saffron of course. Our next and final stop was the Heart of Sharjah.

I’ve never been there at night before, and parking was quite tricky because it seemed as though all parking near the installations and shows was closed off, possibly for VIPs, and regular public parking was all full. After going round and round in circles we finally just stopped and asked the security guard how we could get in. It turned out the parking that had been closed off was actually reserved for non-VIP visitors like us (yayyy!), except there was no sign there that said so. I’m guessing a lot of people ended up walking a long way to get there because the number of cars there was in no way indicative of the number of people actually there.

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Peonies Alumines

There were a number of installations set up along with light shows on the fortress around which people were seated on the ground, their cameras all set up and ready to capture the riot of colour on the sombre beige fortress walls. While my mum loved the trio of paper peonies flapping in the suddenly cold wind on an unusually warm day, my personal favourite of the year was the “Abstract” set up in which light disks hovered and pulsated in sync with the music in a mesmerizing affair.

 

If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend making a weekend of it and visiting before it ends on the 17th of February.

Souq Al Shinasiyah

A lot of people come to the UAE, visit Dubai and leave thinking they’ve seen everything the UAE has to offer. That is unfortunately not true, with each Emirate offering its own window into life in the UAE. And if you haven’t visited Sharjah, you’ve missed out on some of the most important cultural and historical landmarks of the country.

This weekend, we headed to Souq Al Shinasiyah , located between Al Hisn Fort and the Corniche (also known by locals as the Irani souq/mosque area or Bank Street), which has been under renovation and is being restored to its 1950s glory days.

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Heading to Souq Al Shinasiyah

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Say no to sliding doors ^^

With winter coming, it’s going to be a great place to walk around and as part of the Heart of Sharjah, it’s conveniently located within walking distance of other important landmarks, such as the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, Al Hisn Fort, Sharjah Art Foundation and Souq Al Arsah. I can’t wait for winter, to just grab a cup of coffee, sit outside and enjoy watching the ships at the port on the other side of the road.

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Overhead fans for a cooler outdoor experience

 A lot of the shops are still being leased, since it’s just opened up recently after renovation but there are some places to look forward to already- such as Ratios Coffee, a souvenir shop, Hamayem (from where you can buy traditional bakhoor) and the soon to be open Al Saroud which serves traditional Emirati food.

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Time for some Rose Tea and Strawberry Tarts ^^

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Of course I love Sharjah ❤

And of course, you have the beautiful mosque next to the souq, so you don’t end up missing your prayers.

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Prayer Time ❤

It’s a great place to go, and if you’re a tourist wondering how to get here… don’t worry. You can always hop on the City Sightseeing Bus and get off at Heart of Sharjah.

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City Sightseeing Sharjah (Routes as of 26/09/2015)