Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization

Top choice in Sharjah

Just about everything you'd want to know about Islam is addressed in this museum set in a stunningly converted souq on the waterfront. The ground-floor galleries zero in on different aspects of the Islamic faith, including the ritual and importance of the hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca), and on Arab scientific accomplishments, especially in mathematics and astronomy, while the upper floor navigates 1400 years of Islamic art and artefacts. Don't miss the zodiac mosaic in the central dome.

The curation is decidedly old-fashioned and could do with a revamp, but there's no denying the beauty of the objects on display. In particular, in gallery 1 look out for the 11th-century cat-shaped incense burner from Khurasan in eastern Iran and the gorgeous collection of lustreware ceramics. In gallery 2, don't miss the demon-headed and cow-headed iron maces.

Audio guides are available for free in six languages.

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