A persistent rainfall through the day in Sharjah is quite unusual. And being part of a contingent to visit the Sharjah Light Festival, all of us were looking forward to take the off road safari drive in Mleiha. But the rain seemed to be all set to play spoilsport. Our affable guide Mozhgan in fact also gave a disclaimer saying if the weather did not change we would have to give up the hope of the drive all together. Feeling a little somber, all if us said a secret prayer hoping for a change of scene and soon enough we were at the entrance of the Mleiha archaeological center with no sign of the rain abating. Once inside however, we got sucked into learning about the Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, Iron, pre-Islamic, Islamic and modern ages and learning about their history, social order, rituals, diet, pathologies, hardships, trade and commerce and influence on pottery design, art and jewellery. There are exhibits, interactive displays, artefacts and information points that bring to life Mleiha and the pre-historic sites here including Jabal Bu’hais and Jabal Faya.
In the last 40 years, the area around Mleiha in central Sharjah has come to occupy an important part in the archaeology of the UAE and Arabia as a whole. This is because archaeological finds at Faya provide evidence that “anatomically modern humans” were in the Mleiha area 120,000 to 130,000 years ago during their spread from an African centre of evolution over the rest of the world. It is believed that their presence in Mleiha was largely due to favourable local conditions as well as the fact that this is the central position within the Peninsula. The natural routes where the ground was firm for quick travelling connected the Mleiha region with other pre- and protohistoric centres to the north, south, east and west. Walking through the different sections it is fascinating to see how carefully history has been conserved and showcased. This is also a great place for the family especially children to understand history in a fun, interactive manner.
By the time we were done with a tour inside, the weather Gods had cleared and we quickly hopped on to the 4×4 vehicles that were waiting outside. The rains in fact helped as the sand was damp and to be honest a cold desert is great fun as long as you have warm clothes! We stopped by at the Camel Rock and Fossil Rock both sights that are unique and quite a wonder here. Also the extreme off-road fun drive that gives you stunning views of the sunset and moon rise make for great memories.
- Make your booking in advance so that you have a good guide to help you.
- Read more on Mleiha here.
- Make sure you have a light stomach before you go for the dune bashing session.