NITN | @notintownlive | 12 Jun 2018
The mosques of Sharjah are distinctive for their eye-catching aesthetic architecture and the tourism authorities are wooing the visitors with a new focus on these beautiful monuments. Tourists and believers alike visit Sharjah for the tranquil and hospitable nature of the cultural hub of the UAE.
The cultural ethos of Sharjah has made it the emirate for visitors looking for an experiential journey. It is an emirate routed in tradition, while opening its doors to the contemporary world, thereby offering the best of all worlds. Those seeking greater knowledge of and connection to Islam will certainly find it in this emirate graced with over 600 mosques.
The largest house of worship is the King Faisal Mosque. The complex geometric design and the likeness of the massive structure to a multi-pointed star make it the most recognizable landmark of Sharjah. The charm of this mosque is that it is very well-suited for worship with admirable acoustics, a very useful audio guide and the captivating voice of the Imam in the vast but quiet space, it all comes together to create a very special atmosphere.
Situated on the banks of the Khalid Lagoon, the Al Noor Mosque has a dream setting. Construction of the structure was completed in the year 2005. Visitors can take inspiration from architectural trademarks such as the minarets, domes and arches, which are reminiscent of traditional Ottoman architecture. This is because the mosque is modelled after the ‘Blue Mosque’ or the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Turkey. Private tour bookings are possible, or one may opt for the regular free tours that are held every Monday at 10:00 am.
In order to promote a cross-cultural understanding, an excellent briefing program covering basic principles of Islam is provided for visitors, along with an opportunity to try on the ‘abaya’ and scarves that the local women of Sharjah generally wear.
The Al Noor Mosque is known for its guided tours and hospitable treatment to guests, however, it is also of great religious significance to the locals and outsiders who follow the faith. On Ramadan evenings, the mosque becomes unusually busy due to a large number of worshippers. The interlaced decorative interiors and architecture, in addition to the cooling effect of the use of gypsum (traditional building material made of coral) in building the mosque, creates a relaxing Islamic cultural ambience where peace and contentment permeate
The Al Noor Mosque is also one of the ten locations in Sharjah from where the Iftar(the breaking of the Ramadan fast) cannons are fired. On the Ramadan days building up to the much-awaited Eid al-Fitr, throngs of visitors arrive to witness the firing of cannons announcing Iftar time. This old custom of announcing the breaking of the fast is a charming cultural tradition that keeps Islamic heritage alive in the emirate.
Sharjah offers a true glimpse into modern life combining heritage and Islamic traditions with a cultural and educational identity that goes back many centuries and an enduring, gracious welcome.
The emirate of Sharjah is well-known for its rich, cultural heritage – an identity that has been recognized a number of times as shown by the winning of the Cultural Capital of the Arab World 1998 and Islamic Culture Capital 2014 awards. It is a vibrant city with an exciting food and arts scene, a heritage area that is the largest restoration project in the region along with various commercial centres and over 22 museums.
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