Sharjah is a city of learning and the arts, as confirmed by its 1998 UNESCO designation as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World. This context facilitates the university's intention to be an academic center at the intersection of ancient cultural traditions and contemporary intellectual currents. The city of Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums with splendid collections of artifacts and art as well as exhibits on science and natural history. Sharjah also host many cultural festivals, educational conferences, fairs and economic expositions. These resources permit the university to broaden students' formal education in a way not possible elsewhere in the region.
Strategically situated between the Far East and the West, Sharjah is a global trade center. The third largest of the seven states that form the United Arab Emirates, Sharjah (Al-Shariqa) probably has the most colorful history of all the Emirates. From the days of the early trading with the East to the settlement of the Qawassim seafaring tribe and into the first half of the 19th century, Sharjah was the most important port on the lower Arabian Gulf.
It was here that the British chose to set up their military base and the TrucialCoast's first international airport was established in 1932. The flow of oil into the UAE and the recent gas revenue has sustained Sharjah's modern development. But it is perhaps the people, a lively trading tradition and the culture that have created and maintained the unique flavor of the Sharjah Emirate.
Sharjah has beautiful beaches on the shores of the Arabian Gulf in the West, and the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean in the East. Sharjah is the only emirate to have land on both the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Geographically, Sharjah emirate covers approximately 2,600 square kilometers.
Sharjah's climate is idyllic from November to April with warm sunny days, cool evenings and low humidity. Daytime temperatures range from 18 to 30 degrees C. Some rainfall occurs during January, February and March. From May to September the climate is hot with midday temperatures in July and August reaching in excess of 45 degrees C. Even the nights are warm averaging 25 degrees C. Humidity is often at 100 percent. Most people head to cooler climates during the summer.
The traditional religion is Islam and the call to prayer sounds five times a day on almost every street corner. People adhere closely to the tenets of Islam in all aspects of their lives. Family ties are very strong and nearly sacred. National dress for men is the kandora (dishdasha), the long white robe and headdress, and the traditional abbaya or black cloak for women. The most popular national sports include camel racing, falconry and football. The Sharia' Court enforces the law of the land, which constitutes a mixture of written and verbal laws passed down from generation to generation.
The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority website provides comprehensive information on Sharjah and neighboring emirates.