One word to describe Katara Cultural Village: charming! What’s striking when you first lay eyes on the village is the architecture. It’s very different from Doha’s city centre which has so many modern skyscrapers with all different shapes. Katara is … charming!
In around 150 A.D. Qatar was known as ‘Catara’ and then later ‘Katara’, hence the name of the cultural village. The buildings and facilities have been built in a way to remind of the Qatari cultural heritage and traditional architecture; when you are there you feel you are walking in alleyways of the olden days. No skyscrapers, no modern buildings with glass exteriors. Some of the buildings have a shallow water canal flowing around them, just like it used to be long ago, when this system was used to keep the surroundings cool in warm weather. Very calm and relaxing.
The village houses heritage centres, libraries, art galleries, an opera house, cafes, restaurants, an amphitheatre, a drama theatre, a beach and several other facilities. You will also find many organisations and societies in Katara, such as: Qatari Society for Engineers, Qatar Fine Arts Society, Qatar Photographic Society, Qatar Music Academy and Theatre Society, Visual Art Centre, Childhood Cultural Centre. Katara Cultural Village prides itself to become “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. — Katara.net
It all sounds a bit hyperbolic but a few snaps of the master plan proves that this vision is well set on its path to become reality.
Accordingly to Katara’s masterplan, only phase I has been completed; phase II is under way; Phases III and IV are yet to be executed.
(1) The Gold Mosque: Stunning
A mosque covered with beautiful gold coloured mosaic tiles.
(2) Al Jazeera Café: Interesting Concept
You can enjoy some nice food in the café after choosing on the menu app from its tablets! You can also read the news from a teleprompter, edit your final recording and bring it home!
(3) The Amphitheatre: Unbelievably beautiful
I love the amphitheatre. It is pure beauty. It looks like it comes straight from Greece! With the seating capacity of 5000 people, events held there will be surely grand.
(4) The Beach: Appealing but Pricey
You have to pay to get access to the beautiful beach where you can enjoy various water sports. You could go for a Gondola ride or if you fancy a whole day at the beach, you could rent an air-conditioned tent for the day. All quite pricey.
(5) Numerous Restaurants: Yummy
Parisian, Italian, Egyptian, Indian, Turkish and Armenian cuisines plus a specialised seafood restaurant.
(6) Chapati and Karak: A Great Favourite
Karak comes from the Indian language meaning strong and refers to the strong tea, truck drivers used to have when they stopped on the side of the road in between their long distance drives. Karak is a spicy sweet tea and is a must have just like the sweet or plain chapati (bread) made with whole-wheat flour.
Karaks and chapatis are well known in Doha and are a ‘must-try’.
One or a couple of visits to Katara is not enough to see everything the village has to offer. I will have to go back; hopefully to attend an event or just for some more karak and more snaps.