The Cultural Village Foundation is an exceptional project of hope for human interaction through art and cultural exchange – a project made possible thanks to the inspired vision, solid faith and wise leadership of HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar.
Keeping pace with the emerging global culture that emphasizes the importance of diversity in human development, Katara the Valley of Culture is the largest and the most multidimensional cultural project of Qatar. It is a place where people come together to experience the cultures of the world. With beautiful theatres, concert halls, exhibition galleries and cutting-edge facilities, Katara aims to become a world leader for multi-cultural activities. In line with the goals set forward by the Qatar National Vision 2030, Katara serves as a guardian to the heritage and traditions of Qatar and endeavors to spread awareness about the importance of every culture and civilization and as such, Katara hosts international, regional and local festivals, workshops, performances and exhibitions.
Katara was born out of a long held vision to position the State of Qatar as a cultural beacon a lighthouse of art, radiating in the Middle East through theatre, literature, music, visual art, conventions and exhibitions. This village shall be a glimpse of the future of a world where people of different cultural backgrounds overcome their national boundaries and embrace common causes to promote a united humanity. Katara is where the grace of the past meets the splendor of the future.
The Pearl – Qatar in Doha, Qatar, is an artificial island spanning nearly four million square metres. It is the first land in Qatar to be available for freehold ownership by foreign nationals. As of spring 2012, there are more than 5,000 residents compared to more than 3,000 residents in spring of 2011. Once fully completed, The Pearl will create over 32 kilometers of new coastline, for use as a residential estate with an expected 15,000 dwellings and 45,000 residents by 2015. Developed by United Development Company and planned by architecture and design firm Callison, the island is located 350 metres offshore of Doha’s West Bay Lagoon area. In 2004, when the project was first revealed, the initial cost of constructing the island stood at $2.5 billion. It is now believed the project will cost $15 billion upon completion. Both a community and a tourist destination, the pearl is the result of increased efforts to diversify the country’s economy. Built on a former pearl diving site, its name pays tribute to its strong historical and cultural ties to the sea. The exclusive island retreat will eventually house more than 30,000 residents’ in an upscale, multi-cultural community. The four-phase development comprises 10 distinct districts including beachfront villas, elegant townhouses, luxury apartments, five-star hotels, marinas, restaurants and many more.
Lusail is the newest planned city in Qatar, located on the coast, in the northern part of the municipality of Al Daayen. Lusail is located about 23 km north of the city centre of Doha, just north of the West Bay Lagoon, on over 35 km² and will eventually provide accommodation for up to 260,000 people. It is planned to have marinas, residential areas, island resorts, commercial districts, luxury shopping & leisure facilities, two golf courses, an all giraffe zoo and an entertainment district. Construction is still ongoing. It is being developed by the state-controlled developer Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company as well as Parsons Corporation. The new Lusail Iconic Stadium, with a capacity of 80,000+ people, will host the opening and final matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. To be located in Lusail, the stadium takes its inspiration from the sail of a traditional dhow boat and is surrounded by water. After the FIFA World Cup, the stadium will be used to host other sporting and cultural events.
The Museum of Islamic Art is a museum located in Doha and designed by architect I. M. Pei. The museum’s interior gallery spaces were designed by a team lead by JM Wilmotte of Wilmotte Associes.
The museum draws much influence from ancient Islamic architecture, yet has a unique design. It was the first of its kind in Arab States of the Arabian Gulf and has a very large collection of Islamic art, plus a study and a library. Facilities also include IDAM, a high class restaurant offering a dining experience of French Mediterranean cuisine with an Arabic twist. Sabiha Al Khemir served as the founding director of the museum from 2006-2008. The museum has a total area of 45,000 m2 and lies on the edge of Doha harbour at the south end of Doha Bay. Construction by Baytur Constr.Co. (Turkey) reached completion in 2006, but the museum’s interior was subjected to a variety of changes thereafter. The museum celebrated its VIP opening on November 22, 2008, and opened to the general public on December 8, 2008.
Public Opening 2016
The National Museum of Qatar opened in 1975 in a restored palace originally built in the early 20th century by Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani. It served as his family residence and the seat of government for approximately 25 years. In addition to the original Amiri Palace, the former Qatar National Museum included a Museum of the State, a lagoon and a very popular marine aquarium. In 1980 the building won the Agha Khan award for restoration and rehabilitation of Islamic architecture.
This splendid monument to Qatar’s past is now preserved as the heart of the new National Museum of Qatar. The new museum’s innovative design created by eminent architect Jean Nouvel is inspired by the desert sand rose and grows organically around the former palace. This unprecedented 21st century institution will celebrate the culture, heritage and future of Qatar and its people. It reflects and belongs to a new era in Qatari prosperity, the country’s prominent role in the Arabian Gulf community and its world standing. The National Museum of Qatar represents the history, Heritage and Culture of Qatar, enhancing and “emitting” understanding through Exhibitions, Education, Cultural Site Visits and Technology-based Programming for the Nation, the Gulf Region and the world.
Souq Waqif meaning “standing market” in English is one of the major tourist attractions in the city of Doha. This bazaar combines tradition and originality. For centuries, the Souq Waqif has been a commercial site for Bedouins, where they pitched their tents offering food and goods for sale. After a fire 20 years ago, which destroyed the entire marketplace, HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani ordered the development of a permanent market , with solid buildings, which again reflected the tradition and culture of the Qataris combining modernity with the old world. Souq Waqif is one of the last pristine Arabian souks in the Arab world, having a unique flair. With its perfume streets, animal market, incenses & spices shops, gold & diamond souq, pearl shops and first class Arabic restaurants, Souq Waqif has become the center of Doha’s Entertainment. Every night on weekends (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) are given traditional Arabic concerts & at each festival (National Day, Spring Festival, Summer Festival, Ramadan, and Eid) Souq Waqif got its share. A Dream of Thousand and One Night, this Bazaar has an extraordinary atmosphere. A second Souq was opened recently in Al Wakrah, a fisher village in southern Qatar, overlooking the sea at the beach promenade.
Situated next to Al Wakrah port, the development stretches for 3km along the town’s coast, with an esplanade running down the open beach-side. Talk of establishing a Souq Waqif in the municipality go back to at least 2007 and features in the Al Wakrah masterplan to transform the town. Cafes, restaurants and shops will be housed in the existing buildings. Designed to reflect the town’s fishing village heritage, the souq features mock-aged walls and brightly painted wooden doors. It is also set to have outdoor seating areas with views out across the bay. Several hoardings for stores including Dareen Sweets were already up. Other food outlets expected to open soon include Al Aker Sweets and The Royal Tandoor restaurant. Meanwhile, Doha Metro Red Line is planned to run to Al Wakrah.
The Doha Corniche is a waterfront promenade extending for several kilometers along the Doha Bay in the capital city of Doha, the state of Qatar. The Corniche attracts a diverse crowd. In the morning, it is popular for jogging, while late at night, it shows a different cultural view of the city. Youngsters often visit a coffee shop at the Corniche, a shabby place that makes up for appearance in its coffee, teas, Karak (a traditional drink made with tea and milk), and samosas, which can be bought by the bagful. The Corniche has also become a meeting place for a new generation of Qataris. Qatari rebels also congregate in the area, with motorcyclists and other non-traditional looking youngsters meeting in the area to meet up or make noise.
Aspire Zone (formerly known as Sports City Project) has grown significantly since its inception as an international sport destination in 2003. it’s modern architectural design gave attractions to sports enthusiasts as is this one of the best Sports & Events Venues of Qatar.Rising to international prominence through successful staging of the 2006 Asian Games, Qatar’s Aspire Zone boasts some of the world’s finest sport stadia and venues offering a unique sport, sports medicine, research and education destination for the international sports industry.Aspire Zone is able to service the highest sporting demands ranging from hosting major sports events to training and pre-competition camps to conferences and research as well as injury diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.
The Villaggio is an experience – a place of shopping, entertainment and social interaction, where the décor transports you to a world unlike your own, and where an unrivalled mix of shops, restaurants and recreation lets you discover something new with every visit. Villaggio Mall has transformed the face of shopping in Doha and continues to exceed the expectations of visitors with its ongoing expansion of the consumer experience, attention to detail and the pursuit of entertainment excellence. Originally the brainchild of is His Highness Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad as a walk in sports concept the idea evolved into a fully integrated shopping complex. Developers aimed for something unique in the retail market to distinguish the venue from all competitors locally and regionally with a water feature as the focal point. From this, Villaggio Mall was conceived and born. Villaggio was officially declared open in 2006 and the most recent addition, the Gondolania theme park, was formally unveiled this year. With a five star hotel and the the Villaggio Plaza in development, the incredible Villaggio journey continues.
Fanar was chosen as name due to a high-profile mission; to act as a guiding light to whole of mankind and to help all non-Arabs to have a better understanding of Islam and culture of Qatar. It is a governmental organization that presents culture to the entire world through a Varity of activities such as Exhibitions, tours of the centre, visits to the mosque and Arabic language Courses.
The FBQ, a member of UNESCO, is located on a huge estate near the camel racing track in Shahinaya. The estate also contains a variety of animals and game, including the rare oryx. The museum itself contains of a five halls, but will shortly double in size – an adjacent building, of similar size to the first, stands ready for exhibits. The Sheikh Faisal Museum was established in 1998, in the grand Qatari fort at Al Samriya Farm with its distinctive, breath-taking exterior. Built of local stone, with traditional turrets the building is itself a collector’s piece. Designed to preserve and display the extraordinary artefacts collected by Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim bin Faisal Al-Thani, the building’s return to historic Qatari architecture resonates against modern day Doha. Sheikh Faisal is dedicated to preserving and promoting particularly Islamic heritage for the people of Qatar and its international visitors. The museum has expanded since its opening, with new facilities for research and education purposes as well as state-of-the art facilities for entertainment in the inimitable Gulf style.
The Museum began life with the natural curiosity of a young man who grew up witnessing the cultural, economic and political transitions of a small peninsula in the Arabian Gulf. He lived hearing the stories of his grandfathers and grew cherishing world’s history. His father also encouraged an active interest in cultural heritage on their travels throughout the Gulf region and across the world. Sheikh Faisal eagerly visited museums and archaeological sites during these journeys, and from these adventures grew his particular interest in Qatari and Islamic culture. He took it upon himself to collect and document elements relating to the Arabian Gulf and slowly that interest widened to embrace other areas of the world as he saw how it all connected to one another. Sheikh Faisal’s collection was hosted at a special place at his Majlis in Al-Samriya. As he received more visitors who were intrigued in finding what has been added to the collection, the initiation of the new building proceeded, The Sheikh Faisal Museum as we know today is an ongoing, growing passion of one man to preserve and spread Qatari and world cultures.
Sheikh Faisal’s enthusiasm for collecting developed equally, into a duty to preserve important elements of cultural heritage, and ultimately to share these with the public. Four themed collections have been built; Islamic Art, Qatar Heritage, Vehicles and Coins & Currency, comprising over 15,000 pieces from 4 continents. Each collection contains further collections, making the Museum a treasure trove of unique fossils, scriptures, Islamic textiles, ancient figurines, vintage cars, rare coins, as well as the world’s largest private collection of armory. Sheikh Faisal’s tireless dedication has resulted in a world class museum, where everyone can find something that fascinates and delights. In 2010, the museum was selected by the Ministry of Art, Culture and Heritage as one of Qatar’s cultural landmarks as part of the ‘Qatar capital of Culture’ activities.
Al-Samriya is a valley outside of Doha known for its range of flora, particularly the Samar tree (Acacia tortillis). Set between Al-Rayyan and Al-Shahaniya, the people of Qatar used to bring their horses here during the hot months, for its shade and cooler temperatures. Al-Samriya has a reputation for its range of herbs and plants and today the valley is cultivated with fruit and vegetable farms, and is known particularly for its dates. Most importantly, truffles grow bountifully in the desert during the rainy season. Truffles are a vital part of the traditional Qatari cuisine, so when it is the season, groups of people camp in the area to hunt truffles.
Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani’s prestigious Al-Samriya Equestrian Academy is situated next to the Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Museum in Al-Samriya, just a short drive from Doha. The highly-qualified instructors offer group or private horse riding lessons for adults and children as young as four years old. Experienced visitors also have the opportunity to go horse riding on their own. The Academy features new stables installed in 2013, and an exquisite collection of horses. The beautiful grounds of Sheikh Faisal’s Al-Samriya farm, where the Academy is located, also make for the perfect setting for a stroll. The Equestrian Academy along with the Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Museum make Al-Samriya the ideal spot for a quick getaway from the often hectic Doha life.
Camel racing, traditionally known as the sport of the sheiks continues even today in the small hamlet of Al Shahaniya, where Qatar’s popular camel racetrack is situated. Visitors are charmed with an exceptional prospect to view the fiercely competitive and one of the most expensive sporting events in Qatar. Al-Shahaniya racing track, an hour’s drive into the gleaming desert outside north of downtown Doha, holds domestic and international tournaments on Fridays from November to February. Professional Camel racing started in Qatar in 1972 although it is their traditional sport and the camel race track is a must see for those who visit Doha. Camel racing is traditional sport of Qatar which they inherited from their ancestors and it appeals to young people in the Gulf in general and Qatar in particular. Camel racing is also a costly leisure pursuit that few can afford because some breeds cost more than the most lavish cars in the planet, with prices reaching as high as one million Qatari riyals.
Several camel races are held in Qatar and other Gulf countries every year which attracts passionate crowds of citizens, tourists and dignitaries. Contestants fight for expensive prizes and the most precious prize is the Golden Sword awarded at the end of the year at the Al-Shahaniya track in Doha. Camel breeders need a large tract of land which is appropriate for breeding and are able to cover feed costs because the price of camel feed is always increasing. There is also the cost of (artificial) insemination for some breeds of camels, which could be very high.
Passionate Camel breeders from Qatar also fly to other countries to have it artificially inseminated as they consider it was a small price to pay considering the potential returns they could earn from a purebred camel. The first set of camel races begins in October in Al shahaniya, the launching point for a racing season that continues with local tournaments every Friday till February and the big events occur in March and April. Until recently, kids as young as four years old were used as jockeys. After the Qatari government issued a diktat in 2004 because of safety risks that banned the use of kids, remote controlled robot jockeys replaced child jockeys.
The robot jockeys are remarkably easy but effective devices. The electronic jockeys weigh about 25 kilos and right now it costs about five and a half thousand dollars. The operator can apply the whip antenna to spin remotely and they can be commanded to ‘pull’ on the reins, also the operator can also throw verbal abuse at the camel via the built in speaker. Professional camel racing is a big deal in Qatar and these camels can run at speeds of up to 40 mph in short sprints and can carry on to 30 mph for an hour.
The camel racing tournaments have become a Qatari hallmark and entice crowds from outside the country, especially tourists who arrive during the tournament season. The races have now become international in every sense of the word.
The Racing and Equestrian Club (REC) was established in 1975. HE Sheikh Mohamed Bin Faleh Al Thani is Chairman of the REC Board of Directors. Mr. Sami Jassim Al Boenain is the General Manager of REC and Secretary General of REC Board of Directors. Located in New Rayyan, Doha, it has the mission of developing thoroughbred and pure bred Arabian horse racing events, organising Arabian horse shows and encouraging horse owners to own the best horses and to develop horse breeding. Thanks to state-of-the-art facilities, REC is one of the most enviable horse training centres in the world. Racing events take place every Thursday from October to May with over 40 race meetings held annually since 1975.
Under the kind patronage of His Highness the Emir and His Highness the Heir Apparent, more and more attention is increasingly paid to the equestrian sport. The number of equestrian related facilities and arenas has been on the increase and such facilities match their international counterparts.
Since 2008, REC has become the official sponsor of the weekend of Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which is held in Longchamp, Paris during the first weekend of October. REC will be the official sponsor of this prestigious racing event till 2022.
One of the richest races on turf in the world, Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe attracts over 1 billion television audience every year besides more than 70,000 spectators at the Longchamp.
There is a sand track and a turf. There are also show arenas, where horse shows and national championships are held as well as grandstands for spectators. The REC’s stables have been equipped with all that is necessary for horse care. The REC has appointed professional vets for horse veterinary care.
Affiliation of the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club to international organisations
International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) in 1992 – This Federation is concerned with supervising race meetings held by the Member Countries which amount to 68 countries round the world. It timely provides the REC with the latest methods and techniques of sponsoring and holding race meetings. Further it supervises and issues racing rules and regulations and supervises horse health care.
The Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club has issued the Racing Rules. The State of Qatar is, thus, the first Arab country to issue racing rules. The Higher Racing Rules Committee is chaired by H H Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar.
World Arabian Horse Organization (WAHO) in 1990– This organization supervises the P/A horses in Member Countries. It approves P/A Studbooks developed by Member Countries. It issues pedigree certificates for P/A horses and their pedigrees. It has data of P/A horses worldwide.
European Conference of Arab Horse Organisations (ECAHO) in 1994 – This Conference supervises all P/A horse shows held around the world by Member Countries. It is worth mentioned that the State of Qatar, having the most beautiful P/A horses in the world, pays a lot of attention to P/A horse shows supervised by ECAHO. Such shows are attended by concerned professionals from all over the world, as well as representatives of both ECAHO and WAHO to supervise the shows.
In 1990, the State of Qatar became Member of the Executive Committee of the Federation Equestre International <(FEI).The Racing & Equestrian Club has been organizing national race meetings since it was established in 1975. It has been encouraging horse owners to own the best horses and to improve horse breeding. It has been holding race meetings for all available horse breeds owned by local horse owners. With effect from the 2000-2001 Racing Seasons, the REC has been organizing the Qatar International Equestrian Festival (QIEF), which is an annual one-week event. The first Festival was held in March 2001. Arab and international horse owners, trainers and jockeys are keen to participate and be part of QIEF.
Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development is a private, non-profit organization that serves the people of Qatar by supporting and operating programs in three core mission areas: education, science and research, and community development. The Foundation strives to nurture the future leaders of Qatar. By example and by sharing its experience, the Foundation also contributes to human development nationally, regionally, and internationally. In all of its activities, the Foundation promotes a culture of excellence in Qatar and furthers its role in supporting an innovative and open society that aspires to develop sustainable human capacity, social, and economic prosperity for a knowledge-based economy.Through education and research, Qatar Foundation leads human, social, and economic development of Qatar; making Qatar a nation that can be a vanguard for productive change in the region and a role model for the broader international community. “The new world educational system recognizes that education is a universal right and hence enables students wherever they might be to have access to the means of innovation, creativity, acquisition of knowledge and expertise and the practice of responsibility.” His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Emir. Early in 1995, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Emir, shared a vision with Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser while sitting under a tent at Umm Qrayba farm. Together, they conceived a plan for the future development of their country that would provide Qatari citizens with a greater choice in education, health and social progress than ever before. They then set about turning this dream into reality and, in August that year, founded Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, right in the very heart of Qatar.
QNCC, the building was designed by Arata Isozaki to reference the Sid rat al-Muntaha, a holy Islamic tree that is believed to symbolize the end of the seventh heaven. Located on the 1000-hectare campus of the Qatar Foundation in Doha, the Qatar National Convention Centre opened to the public in December 2011. It is the largest exhibition centre in the Middle East and can accommodate up to 7000 people in its three main halls.
Al Shaqab is Qatar Foundation’s (QF) equestrian centre in the State of Qatar, where Arabian horses are trained. Founded in 1992 by Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, Al Shaqab joined QF in 2004. Al Shaqab is now the region’s leading equine education resource centre and features the breeding of Arabian horses. Al Shaqab stands as an enduring tribute to the Arabian horse and the tradition of equestrian excellence that has co-evolved with this breed in Qatar. The range of equine disciplines and programs that Al Shaqab promotes ensures that the cultural legacy and appreciation of the Arabian breed are lovingly handed down in Qatar from generation to generation.
IN QATAR FOUNDATION
Sidra Medical and Research Center will be an ultramodern, all-digital academic medical center which will set new standards in patient care for women and children in Qatar, the Gulf region and internationally. First announced in June 2004, Sidra represents the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who is also its Chairperson. The state-of-the-art facility will not only provide world-class patient care, but will also help to build Qatar’s scientific expertise and resources. Qatar is investing thoughtfully with the aim of providing the highest quality health care in the world. The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development, which is driving the advancement of education and research in Qatar, has given Sidra one of the largest endowments ever provided to a medical and research center anywhere in the world. ‘The Miraculous Journey’ (2005 – 2013) consists of fourteen large-scale bronze sculptures that chart the gestation of a foetus from conception to birth. The colossal figures have been revealed outside the new Sidra Medical and Research Centre in Doha. The ambitious project has been commissioned under the patronage of H. E. Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Al Thani, Qatar Museums Authority and Qatar Foundation. Conceived by the artist in 2005 and taking over three years to fabricate, the work’s completion has been timed to coincide with the opening of Hirst’s first solo show in the Middle East: ‘Relics’ at ALRIWAQ exhibition space.
The Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha offers an Arab perspective on modern and contemporary art and supports creativity, promotes dialogue and inspires new ideas. It is the first institution of its kind in Qatar. The 5,500-square-meter (59,000-square-foot) museum, located in a former school building in Doha’s Education City, has a collection of more than 6,000 artworks that offers a rare comprehensive overview of modern Arab art, representing the major trends and sites of production spanning the 1840s to the present.
The collection was donated by Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani to Qatar Foundation, and was later acquired by Qatar Museums Authority. In the words of the Emir’s daughter, “With the opening of the Mathaf, we are making Qatar the place to see, explore and discuss the creations of Arab artists of the modern era and of our own time”. Mathaf presents exhibitions that situate the Arab world in relation to a larger art context.
It also offers programs that engage the local and international community, encourage research and scholarship and contribute to the cultural landscape of the Gulf region, the Middle East, the Arab diaspora and beyond. Mathaf opened on 30 December 2010 with an exhibition called Sajjil, which means “act of recording” in Arabic, and featured a cross-section of Arab art over the previous 100 years. Simultaneously, the museum hosted Interventions (an exhibition of new commissions by five pivotal modernist Arab artists (Dia Azzawi, Farid Belkahia, Ahmed Nawar, Ibrahim el-Salahi and Hassan Sharif) and Told/Untold/Retold, an ambitious exhibition of new commissions by twenty-three contemporary Arab artists. Mathaf’s following exhibition, Cai Guo-Qiang: Saraab, ran from 5 December 2011 to 26 May 2012.
Cai Guo-Qiang: Saraab showcased more than fifty works, including seventeen newly commissioned artworks, by the renowned contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang. Saraab (“mirage”) re-imagined historical relations between China and the Gulf region and, in turning east to consider artistic dynamics across Asia, reaffirmed Mathaf’s commitment to presenting a unique Arab perspective on modern and contemporary art.
The exhibition opened with Cai Guo-Qiang’s largest ever daytime explosion event, Black Ceremony. Tea with Nefertiti: the Making of the Artwork by the Artist, the Museum and the Public. This exhibition examines our perceptions of an artwork from three distinct perspectives: the artist, the museum, and the public. Through revisiting the contested histories of how Egyptian collections have been amassed by numerous museums from the 19th century onwards, it brings together antiquities, modernist works, archives and 26 international contemporary artists and artist collectives.
Located in Doha, the Doha Exhibition Centre is one of the favorite centres of visitors and exhibitors all over the world. Spread over an area of 1500 square meters, the Doha Exhibition Centre works as a host for many events annually. It is one of the popular exhibition centers among visitors and exhibitors as they able to see the new products of the leading companies and exhibitors also got a good opportunity to exhibit their products among visitors from all over the world. The Doha Food Festival, Doha Trade Fair, Doha Jewelry & Watch Exhibition, International Book Fair and various other industry conferences, events and exhibitions of various industries are held here.
Al Khor is a coastal city in northern Qatar, located 50 kilometers north of the capital, Doha. The name of the city means creek in Persian as the town is located on a creek. Al Khor is home to many employees of the oil industry due to its proximity to Qatar’s northern oil and natural gas fields, and due to its proximity to the Ras Laffan Industrial City. Al Khor was ruled by the Al Mohannadi tribe before the independence of Qatar in 1971 and continues to be today. It is believed that the Al Mohannadi tribe who live in Al Khor was formed in the 18th century. The tribe consists of 7 Bedouin families. Nowadays, the majority of Al Khor’s citizens are from that tribe. Al Khor is known with Al-Sultan beach hotel & resort, a palace that turned into a hotel, and for its large concentration of modern and historical mosques. The main industry of the city is fishing. There are several excellent beaches surrounding Al Khor, and the beaches south of it are home to many beach houses owned by both residents of the city and residents of Doha.
Thakira is a small village located a few kilometers to the North of Al Khor. Like many of Qatar’s towns it has tripled in size over the last few years, and it is becoming more difficult to navigate your way through the maze of half-built houses to get to the shore side. If you are a nature lover, though, it is well worth doing so, as the vista is completely different from much of the rest of Qatar. Thakira not only rests on the edge of an estuary, it is also home to mangrove swamps. While, because of the extremely high saline content of the sea in this area, the mangroves are not as large as in other countries, they are probably the most established in Qatar.
The Inland Sea is one of Qatar’s prime tourist attractions and most definitely one of the finest treasures here. Only four wheel drive vehicles can reach this point though which is at the southernmost point and it is best to travel in convoy with someone who is familiar with the route. The sea surges west in a narrow channel that separates Qatar from Saudi Arabia and then curves off to the North to create a shallow lake which is tidal. All of the local tour companies operate both day trips and overnight stays with picnics, barbeques, camel rides, sand skiing and dune bashing which is not for the faint hearted. The Khor Al-Adaid area, also known regionally as the ‘Inland Sea’, is located in the south-east of the State of Qatar. The area presents a remarkable landscape formed by a globally unique combination of geological and geomorphological features. These features themselves create a diverse scenery of exceptional, undeveloped natural beauty, in what remains predominantly a ‘wilderness area’. Each landscape unit on its own, notably the Arabian Gulf, large mobile dunes, the tidal embayment system, inland and coastal sabkha, recently discovered “salt hummocks”, stony deserts, elevated mesas and rocky outcrops, as well as the transition between each of them, contribute to the unique character of Qatar’s southern territory. The Inland Sea is a large tidal embayment with a convoluted shoreline, about 15 kilometres from north to south and up to 12 kilometres from east to west. It is connected to the Arabian Gulf by a relatively narrow, deep channel, about 10 kilometres in length. There is no comparable lagoonal system of this type known elsewhere in the world. The diverse water quality and bottom substrates create an exceptional variety of aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats of considerable importance for some endangered marine species, particularly turtles and dugongs. Furthermore there are several valuable archaeological sites and a diversity of cultural heritage sites to be found in the area. The rocky desert of the Al-Adaid area clearly supported bedouins and their grazing stock. Pre-historical use of the small islands in the khor has also been revealed. Traditional farming and fishing settlements existed in the area, but this lifestyle is now virtually lost. Some grazing of camels still continues.
Although there are a number of other ruins and settlements in the area, Al Zubarah fort is the most complete and best known, decorating many postcards and books. A cannon decorates the front of this fort, while the Qatari flag flutters proudly at the top. When you arrive the caretaker will give you some keys, and you can let yourself in to the fort.
Here you can see the displays of findings from the nearby excavations. We were more interested in the old well – when you peer through the metal grid that closes off its top, you can still see yourself reflected in the water deep below – although our view was slightly spoilt by floating bottles. Climb up the internal stairs and you’ll find curious holes in the metre thick walls. The holes allow light to come in but are twisted to make it difficult for enemies to fire into the fort. Wooden shutters are still used in the windows, and can be opened to allow the cooling wind in.
Al Zubarah Archaeological Site and its cultural landscape are outstanding examples of the socio-economic transformation of the land, serving to shed light on the urban trading and pearl-diving traditions that sustained the major coastal towns of the region from the early Islamic period to the 20th century. Beyond providing an invaluable example of urban-planning capability, the whole archaeological site at Al Zubarah reflects on the harmonious coexistence of different cultures and ethnic groups from the Arabian Peninsula and features examples of traditional Qatari building techniques, many of which are endangered by the rapid urban development of the country. For our ancestors, Al Zubarah was a thriving pearl-fishing and trading port.
Now it is Qatar’s largest heritage site with its impressive city wall, residential palaces and houses, markets, industrial areas and mosques. Thanks to the work of an international and domestic team of archaeologists and scientists, the archaeological site of Al Zubarah and the visitor centre in the fort nearby have become a key to understand Qatar’s cultural identity and a model to explain the history of the pearl trade – a significant factor in the development of the modern Gulf region. They invite visitors to connect their present-day existence with the past and provide an experience that will stay with them long after they have left the site.
Located close to Dukhan on the west coast of Qatar, the Zekreet area boasts an astonishing landscape with prehistoric sites and remnants of old settlements. One such destination site is the 18th century fort and early date press found on the beach. The fort has a very distinctive layout that allows seeing the two different phases of construction. Originally, the fort was built as a simple square without towers in each corner.
In a second phase of development, towers were added at the outer four corners of the fort. However these towers were never completed. Because they were added at a later date, their shape is incomplete.
Actually, only three-quarters of their plans were built. On the fort’s coastal side, the ruins of ‘madabes’ can be found. These rooms were used to produce ‘debis’, which is a traditional date-based food. The rooms have parallel channels 10 cm deep into the floor that are linked together by a perpendicular canal near the entrance that funnels into an underground pot in the corner. During the process of making ‘debis’, palm fronds were laid on the channels, creating a smooth, flat base. The dates were then put in sacks made of palm leaves and laid on top of each other in piles that could reach two meters high. The weight of the upper sacks often squashed the dates in the lower sacks and their thick juice ran into the channels and eventually into the underground pot. A complete and very well-preserved room used in the production of ‘debis’ can be visited at House of Sheikh Ghanim bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Al-Wakra. Evidence of many more can be found in the Al-Zubarah town.
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