Things To Do
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Things To Do
Located at the point where the Middle East meets Asia, the compact peninsular state of Qatar has long been a melting pot of cultures. With a staggering array of cultural venues, including museums, galleries and public art, Qatar offers a potent mix of tradition and modernism. Spelled in the ancient manner, Katara is a self-styled cultural village nestled between the gleaming financial district of West Bay, and the half-moon towers of The Pearl residential neighbourhood. Bordered by a vast beach on one side, and the twin Katara Hills on the other, Katara is Doha’s go-to destination for art, culture and cuisine. In no particular order, these are the top things to do here:
Designed by Turkey’s Zeynep Fadilloglu, who is believed to be the first female architect to specialise in mosques, the mosque features Persian and Turkish tile and enamel work in shades of blue and gold, proffering a stark contrast to the surrounding buildings. With décor inspired by the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, the minaret, dome, and prayer niche (mihrab), draw from famous mosques across the Muslim world. Next to the mosque, one can see the unmistakable pigeon towers – oblong structures with holes and perches for pigeons.
The second mosque in Katara, this is smaller, but no less eye catching. Facing the amphitheatre, it is covered with gold tiling, which glints in the sun.
Spread over 3,275 sqm, this classical Greek style amphitheatre reflects Islamic influences, particularly in its arched entrances. Accommodating up to 5000 spectators, it affords stellar views of the sea on one side and the cultural village on the other. The Force of Nature, an art installation depicting Mother Nature hurtling the world with a piece of cloth, stands between the amphitheatre and the water, showing humanity’s powerlessness in the face of nature.
A giant gift box marks the start of this ultra-luxe high street, or follow the trail of high end cars dropping shoppers off at Galeries Lafayette – the iconic French department store. With a powerful outdoor cooling system, and Murano glass Katara High Street offers year-round comfort, with no impediment to dining al fresco at one of the many cafes lining the street.
With numerous art galleries, workshops, exhibition areas and performance arenas, Katara is an artist’s haven. Tucked in between the alleyways of Katara, the Qatar Museum Gallery showcases local and international artists, whose works depict human-centred themes. Katara Art Center (KAC) is an independently run platform dedicated to contemporary art and trans-disciplinary creative endeavours.
Offering celestial delights for families and astronomy enthusiasts alike, the Al Thuraya Planetarium features a full-dome digital system capable of taking up to 200 visitors on a journey around the universe. In addition to engaging exhibits that delve into astronomy, atmosphere, geology and the oceans, Al Thuraya invites visitors to explore the role of astronomy in Qatar’s history and religious traditions.
The spacious public beach at Katara is invites visitors to stroll, sit, or engage in their choice of activities. Beach equipment rentals and services offering speed boat rides, knee boarding, parasailing and water skiing are readily available, and eminently affordable.
To the North and South of the cultural village, lie Katara’s hills. Lush landscaping, water features and walking tracks let picnickers and serious walkers alike tackle multiple levels. Climbing atop the hills, catch your breath and the views of the village and the sea beyond, especially as it is aglow at sunset.
Katara is home to some of Doha’s most popular eateries. From Chapati and Karak’s wraps and tea, to the staggering displays of fresh seafood at Lawazar, there is plenty of choice from across the Levant – with Mamig (Lebanon), Khan Farouk (Egypt), or Ard Canaan (Syria), as well as Sukar Pasha (Turkey) and Saffron Lounge (India). Don’t feel like a sit down? Tasty Street boasts cabins with even more choice for bites on the go.
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