Sharjah /ˈʃɑːrə/ (Arabic: ٱلشَّارقَة aš-Šāriqah; Gulf Arabic: aš-šārja[1]) is the third-most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi, forming part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area. The emirate of Sharjah borders with Dubai to the south, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain to the north and Ras Al Khaimah to the east. It is the only emirate that overlooks the coastline on the Persian Gulf to the west and the Gulf of Oman (Indian Ocean) to the East, with the eastern Sharjah coastal towns of Kalba and Khor Fakkan.

Clockwise from top:
Al Khan Lagoon, Heritage District, Al-Noor Mosque, Cultural Palace, Blue Souk, Al-Qasba Canal
Location of Sharjah in the UAE
Location within the Persian Gulf
Coordinates: 25°21′27″N 55°23′27″E
Country United Arab Emirates
EmirateEmirate of Sharjah
  TypeAbsolute monarchy
  SheikhSultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi
235.5 km2 (90.9 sq mi)

Sharjah is the capital of the emirate of the same name. Sharjah shares legal, political, military and economic functions with the other emirates of the UAE within a federal framework, although each emirate has jurisdiction over some functions such as civil law enforcement and provision and upkeep of local facilities. Sharjah has been ruled by the Al Qasimi dynasty since the 18th century.

Skyline of the city

The city is a centre for culture and industry, and alone contributes 7.4% of the GDP of the United Arab Emirates.[2] The city covers an approximate area of 235 km2 and has a population of over 800,000 (2008). The sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in the emirate of Sharjah without possession of an alcohol licence and alcohol is not served in Sharjah hotels, restaurants or other outlets due to the Muslim majority in the area. Sharjah has been officially named as a WHO healthy city.[3] The 2016 edition of QS Best Student Cities ranked Sharjah as the 68th best city in the world to be a university student.[4] Sharjah is regarded as the cultural capital of the UAE,[5] and was the Islamic culture capital in 2014.[6] Sharjah was named World Book Capital for 2019 by UNESCO.[7]