I spent this afternoon going on a tour of some of Sharjah’s cultural locations. In a city with a population of 800,000 people and something like 20 major galleries and museums alone, there is a lot to see.
First stop, the beautiful new library which is just six months old.
It has a really cool kid’s section:
What’s missing from those pictures? There were no people using the library! Staff assured me it was because of the time of day, and that it is usually well attended.
Second stop, the Sultan al Qassemi Centre for Gulf Studies, which includes a huge collection of historic maps charting the cartographical developments of the Gulf over the years.
It is an impressive collection and completely fascinating. I’m going to try to return to wander through at a slower pace.
Third stop, University of Sharjah at the expansive, beautiful and slightly surrealUniversity City on the outskirts of town.
I don’t know how any work gets done at such a beautiful campus!
It’s really fantastic that the Sharjah Book Fair has arranged tours on top of the festival and professional program. It’s not just interesting to get the chance to discover a new part of the world, but I really feel that it also helps to contextualise the festival program. (Not to mention gives the delegates a break from thinking and a chance for informal networking!)
Does anyone know of any other writers’ festivals that do city tours for their guests or authors?