The Central Souk consists of two large buildings, interconnected by bridges, with exuberant vaults and a unique skyline of 20 wind towers. With a footprint of 80,000sqm, there are more shops specialising in gold, jewellery, gems, perfumes, souvenirs and gifts, as well as electronics, clothes, cosmetics, household and other goods. The upper floor has the atmosphere of an authentic Arabian bazaar, with vendors selling antiques, carpets, Omani and Yemeni jewellery, and all sorts of other exotic souvenirs. For downtime after shopping exploits, the market area is also home to plenty of cafés.
The building was designed by the British architects Michael Lyle & Partners, based on the ideas and guidance of the Ruler of Sharjah, HH Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, and was completed in 1978. The architecture captures the character of a traditional bazaar on a grand scale. Located on the shore of the Khalid Lagoon, it is most beautiful at sunset, seen across the water.