"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on April 19, 2018 by Sioux under General
2 Comments

 

Our first stop today was The Pearl, an artificial island covering nearly four million square meters. It is the first land in Qatar to be available for freehold ownership by foreign nationals. Once fully completed, The Pearl will create over 32 kilometres of new coastline, for use as a residential estate, and when viewed from

the air, the islands will resemble a string of pearls. 

There are a number of upper class hotels, restaurants and retail stores as well as the residential area. The name ‘The Pearl’ was chosen because the island is being built on one of Qatar’s previous major pearl diving sites. Qatar was one of the major pearl traders of Asia before the Japanese introduced cheaper more affordable pearls just before Qatar’s oil boom.  

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Not far from The Pearl, is this massive bronze horse statue, outside the Kempinski Marsa Malaz.

 

At 18m tall and weighing around 45 tonnes, it was not easily installed and took over a month to be fully assembled.

 

With its intricate design and detailed muscles to simulate movement, it is intended to honour the tradition of Arabian horses and the cultural importance of horses in the Arab World. 

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Then it was off to Katar Cultural Village, the largest and most multidimensional cultural project of Qatar. Since the year 150 AD, “Catara” was the first and most ancient name designated for Qatar Peninsula in geographic and historical maps; and the vision behind the building of the village was that it would be a place where the grace of the past meets the splendour of the future; a glimpse of a future world where people of different cultural backgrounds overcome their national boundaries and embrace common causes to promote a united humanity. 

The pigeon towers at Katara are an example of traditional Islamic architecture and one of the most

photographed structures in Katara. Traditionally, the pigeons were domesticated not for their meat (pigeon is especially revered in Islam), but for their droppings, which the locals collected

and used as fertiliser. 

Called the “Force of Nature 2”, this 2.5m high statue in front of the amphitheatre was made from bronze, iron and stainless steel. The ‘woman’ in the statue is ‘Mother Nature’. 

The Three Monkeys, made from bronze, steel, and old utensils refer to India’s famous hero of peace, Mahatma Gandhi, portrayed as three heads in military headgear. Using worn brass domestic utensils, the forms of a soldier’s helmet, a terrorist’s hood and a gas mask reinforce the artists’ dialectics of war and peace, public and private, global and local, themes that run throughout his work. The headgear worn by the three sculptures represent the saying ‘see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.’ 

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Another ‘must visit’ place is the old Souq Waqif; “the standing market”  in Doha, which dates back at least a hundred years.

 

Although open from 9am, the souq really only comes to life in the early evening and is a vibrant labyrinth of winding alleys that appear as mazes with no defined geometric pattern, sounds and smells, and in true souq style you can buy just about anything from traditional garments, spices, handicrafts and carpets to souvenirs.

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Some of the fascinating architecture in downtown Doha City. These are known a ‘The Zig Zag Towers’.

The market is also home to dozens of restaurants and Shisha lounges; a Gold Souq; The Bird Souq, which is a separate area reserved for falconry; and many pet shops as well as a 980-seat indoor theatre.

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Alhmalah are porters in numbered maroon waistcoats who transport shoppers’ purchases in wheelbarrows and are an essential element in the souq’s story. 

Ryan was happy that there was a funfair on outside of the souq and took advantage of the warm night air to have some fun on the rides.

The area was renovated in 2006 to conserve its traditional Qatari architectural style.  

Al-Fanar Islamic Cultural Center is one of the most widely known architectural

landmarks in Doha.

 

In this wedding-cake shaped building, non-Muslim visitors are offered extended

as well as crash-courses on the Islamic faith. It offers a variety of educational,

yet unforgettable, activities, such as exhibitions, tours of the cultural center, visits to the mosque, Arabic language courses and the unique opportunity to attend the khutbah (Friday sermon) in English. The center is happy to meet the visitor before the prayer to explain mosque etiquette, the do’s and don’ts. 

 

And then it was time to head home. One more day left of 2017, and 2 days left of Paul’s holiday. We had pretty much shown him all the sights, and tomorrow would be a rest day.

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On the outskirts of the souq are the private stables for the Emir’s horses. The stables were very clean and impressive, with architecture in the same style as the souq. As with most stables, there are other residents too, but all I managed was one photo as they’re very shy!

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2 responses to “Same horizon, new experience #3 – downtown, uptown and in the market.”

  1. Cheryl Wilkinson says:

    Very interesting thank you S!

  2. Pauline Smith says:

    The history is fascinating. Thanks Sue

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