Sharjah is a leading Emirate in a number of diverse areas, ruled by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi. The Emirate covers approximately 2,600 square kilometers, with 12.2 million square meters of green areas and open spaces. In 2008, the population reached 800,000 inhabitants, about 19% of the overall population of the UAE – with up to 1.5 million tourists every year.
Sharjah is a thriving industrial hub with up to 19 fully functional industrial areas. It currently represents 48% of the UAEʼs total industrial sector. This level of activity can be traced to the cost advantages of industrial investment in the region, which is 35% lower than in the rest of the UAE. Moreover, crude oil and gas are the primary economic resources of the city. Other active sectors include the chemical, tourism and logistics industries, among many more.
The city prides itself on its continuous dedication to history, culture and the arts. It was honored as the Unesco Cultural capital of the Arab World in 1998; it was named the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014 and was appointed as the Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015. The Sharjah Biennial has been organized since 1993 and was fundamentally reoriented in 2003, spurring a new generation of contemporary art in the Gulf.
Moreover, one of the city's greatest accomplishments is the creation of an environment that is highly child-friendly and that builds on education as a central pillar. Family values are emphasized by a healthy and secure lifestyle. This is reﬂected in the optimally planned urban development of Sharjah throughout the years, a foundation designed to facilitate the lives of citizens across all generations.