It was this place that really stood out to me on my trip to Doha, Qatar. A breathtakingly beautiful cultural village filled with heritage and history, situated on the Eastern Coast between West Bay and the Pearl. The Katara Cultural Village is a great day out with lots of activities to choose from throughout the day. It has an open amphitheatre, the beach, a souq, an opera house and so on.
You can visit here both in the day time and at night. There is extraordinary art work dotted around the village which really makes this place a wanderlust heritage site. A place that is filled with talent and creativity. Sophistication like no other.
ART WORK عمل فني
As you can tell, the artwork is displayed very cleverly in an arched frame carved into the buildings. For those that are into architecture this is a great place to visit. The artwork displays Qatari history and culture, giving an insight into the way of life here. The national bird for Qatar is the falcon. Resembling the desert life, falconry holds a great importance in Qatari culture.
You may come across seeing a Qatari travel with a falcon. Qatar Airways, the national airline carrier, allows passengers to carry one falcon in the economy class cabin of an aircraft, and a maximum of 6 falcons within the Economy class cabin of any one aircraft.
Here are some other examples of art that you can find around the village.
Traditional clothing in Qatar ملابس تقليدية في قطر
. Qatari men traditional wear a thawb/thobe ( ثوب ). In Kuwait you will hear it referred to as a dishdasha. It is white and reaches down to the man’s ankles.
. They also wear what is known as ghutrah (غترة) which is a headdress that many people will see when they come to Qatar or other gulf countries. You might also hear it being referred to as a keffiyeh ( كوفية ) which is the same thing. Both the thobe and the ghutrah are usually made from cotton.
. The accessory that is worn to keep the ghutrah in place is called igal (عقال). It is black and sits at the top of the head.
. You will also often come across men holding prayer beeds, known as Misbahah (مسبحة ). It is used to count how many times you say ‘Subhan Allah’ amongst other phrases. It is part of the 33 phrases that make up the tasbih. The misbahah is therefore made up of 33 beads.
For women, they traditionally wear an abaya and Shayla. The Shayla is the headdress that covers their hair, whereas the abaya is what covers their body over their clothes. What women wear under the abaya varies.
Wearing these traditional clothes are a form of identity as well as representing the Qatari culture. The Qatari people take pride in wearing these traditional clothing.
The Beach الشاطئ
This was such a pleasant find when I came as I had no idea a beach was here. Spanning over 1.5km, it offers a range of water sports as well as the option of taking a gondola ride. I believe it is now back open again to the public but restrictions are in place so be sure to check before you arrive. It’s rare to find a beach this size and within walking distance of restaurants, cafes and the cultural village itself, it’s a perfect place to come. This photo was taken from one of the roof top areas of the village that you can easily access and get a great view of the area. My photo doesn’t do it enough justice!
What sort of activities can I find here?
. Boat rides
. Water skiing
Luxurious cafes/restaurants مقاهي / مطاعم فاخرة
I got so excited when I saw this cafe. Having already been here at Avenue’s Mall in Kuwait, I knew how incredible the deserts were at this place. As you can tell, it’s a French cafe with over 80 outlets worldwide. Serving everything from delicious macarons to tasty strawberry tarts. The presentation and detail of all deserts are a 10/10. If you haven’t visited this cafe already then I’d highly recommend doing so here in Katara. It is located in a great open space area, with a very opera/theatrical feel to it.
Everything seems so grand and impressive here. Qatar is classed as one of the richest countries in the world, and it clearly shows when you see places like this. Another thing I noticed about being here was how clean everything was. The streets were spotless and the gardens were immaculate. Standards are set high here and that comes in a variety of different forms.
As described on the Katara website as a ‘Classical Greek theatre concept and everlasting Islamic features’, it is the centre of where music and art meet. It has hosted world-class events where people from all over come to watch. It was officially opened in 2011 and has been at the heart of attractions in Doha ever since.
This theatre can hold up to 5,000 people. Places such as this have become of great importance and hold cultural and musical events across the Arab world. Like that in Amman, where you also have an ampitheatre known to hold many cultural events and musical concerts, the most known one being the ‘Al-Balad Musical Festival’.
While in England we usually attend huge arenas such as the O2, nothing beats these iconic places. Incredible to look at but also a magical atmosphere to experience.
The Golden Masjid المسجد الذهبي
It almost doesn’t feel real being here. Everywhere is golden from start to finish, with beautiful patterns such as this photo of mine in the middle. I haven’t seen anywhere else yet that has such a place as this. Here you will find the golden masjid which means mosque in Arabic. It is a small, Ottoman style mosque and minaret that is spectacular to look at. There are a variety of religious programmes and lectures to attend here. The golden walls shimmer from the spears of light touching down, almost making the place seem as if its covered in glitter.
More photos of Katara كتارا
These are the stairs you can take to get a great view that I mentioned at the start of this post. Although the rest of the area is very open, here there is plenty of shade you can find for those extra hot days.
It’s an exceptionally pretty place that has a wonderful theme of these lights up above that are decorated around the village. The zigzag style is unusual yet brilliant at the same time. Plants of every shade, colour you can imagine is here. It has become a small oasis within a very modern, structural city.
One thing that had surprised me about Qatar in general was the amount of green areas it had. Here being no different. Katara Cultural Village features many plants including and trees including the Bombax tree, decorated with beautiful red flowers, as well as the Sidra tree. This type of tree is an iconic symbol for the country’s heritage. For Qatari people, this tree symbolises perseverance, solidarity and determination.
When people say ‘oh the gulf is all the same’ absolutely not! When I moved to Kuwait in 2017, it was my first time in the gulf region. Having always been going to the levant area I was really intrigued to see what the gulf has to offer. Since living in Kuwait and travelling to Oman, UAE and Qatar in the gulf, Qatar has been the trip that has made the biggest impact. Usually a hub for travelling across the world, with an impressive airport, Qatar has so much to offer as a country to visit, this place being one of them.
I hope you enjoyed my blog and gained an insight into Qatari culture. Have you been to Qatar before? Would you like to visit in the future? What did you envision Qatar to look like? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section 🙂