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.

Sharjah Light Festival 2016

Every February, for a fleeting few days, Sharjah organizes their annual Light Festival. This year, there were 18 places all around the vast emirate where you could go to catch a glimpse of the spectacular light show… for free!

Last year we stopped by Al Qasba, so this year we decided to head to Al Noor Island and catch the view of Al Noor Mosque (which on a side note, is open to non-Muslims for visits on Mondays (as of 2016) ) before heading to the Infinity Light Tunnel. It turned out to be a great idea, because not only is Al Noor Island a gem in itself at night, but the silence on the island and the clear view of the mosque afforded by the bridge make it an ideal place to sit down, relax and take everything in without all the crowds – oh and you also get a great view of the Majaz Waterfront fountain show from the island.

The mosque was stunning, and made even more so at Isha with the call to prayer.

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Al Noor Mosque at Isha

The light tunnel was a new addition to this year’s sites and proved to be one of the most popular attractions. This one’s definitely a keeper! 🙂

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Infinity Light Tunnel

On the way back home, we passed Masjid Al Maghfira, another must-visit site as well as Al Jubail Market (the newly opened fish, fruit and vegetable market) and the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. While we didn’t stop at these places, we were for once happy for the traffic so we could admire the view for a little longer ^^

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Masjid Al Maghfira

Maybe next year I should go to University City Hall where once upon a time long long ago I had my graduation ceremony 🙂