Katara – Qatar Cultural Village, Doha, Qatar

Katara is Qatar’s Cultural Village completed in late 2010, situated to the north of Doha, Qatar between West Bay and the Pearl. It sprawls around a large artificial beach and includes many boutique societies (including the Qatar Fine Arts Society, the Qatar Photographic Society and the Doha Film Institute). Along the board walk, enjoying beach views are restaurants and lounges.

The Qatar Cultural Village consists of many beautiful buildings, including a mosque (dressed in traditional Persian mosaics), traditional Arabic pigeon houses, a Greek style amphitheatre and many smaller surrounding stores and restaurants. A walk through the maze of walkways and passageways between the buildings provides views of traditional Arabic architecture and features.

Local Qatari in traditional dress of the men’s thoub and women’s burkha add to the atmosphere of the area. Sometimes through the restaurant windows Qatari men enjoying shesha and coffee can be seen.

A popular venue for many of Qatar’s events and attractions, a main ground for the annual Doha Tribeca Film Festival and Traditional Dhow Exhibition.

Below are a few of our photos taken during our many visits. We suggest multiple visits to the area to get the full experience.

Hanging pot in basketsHarnessing the World sculpture - a veiled figure with the globe in a harnessKatara mosque with mosaics
Katara mosque minaret with mosaicsLe Vesuvio restaurantSide of the Katara amphitheatre with blue benches
Side of the Katara amphitheatreSide entrance to the Katara amphitheatreInside the Katara amphitheatre
Katara amphitheatre upper featuresKatara amphitheatre seatingKatara amphitheatre  upper features
The corridor leading down from the Katara amphitheatreOne of two traditional pigeon bird nestsOne of two traditional pigeon bird nests
One of two traditional pigeon bird nestsView from the Katara amphitheatre towards the PearlShade cloths
Shade clothsArched hallQatari lady on a bench
Minaret with gold mosaicsWooden door to MinaretLooking though the Katara amphitheatre

Traditional Dhow Exhibition, Katara, Doha, Qatar

This evening we ventured into Doha’s valley of culture, Katara to the First Traditional Dhow Exhibition in the Gulf region. The Dhow is the name for traditional Arab sailing vessels. For the last 13 centuries, dhows were used as the main trading vessels sailing to India and East Africa and were commonly used by fishermen and pearl divers.

Dhows are not an unfamiliar sight in Doha.  They are seen docked along the Arabian Gulf on the harbours of the corniche, however the exhibition was a chance to see the Dhow up close. We arrived as the sun was setting providing a beautiful view of the bay. A lot of the dhows seemed to be Omani (probably from Sur), and were built over forty years ago.

Sonya next to the Traditional Dhow Exhibition welcome sign
Entrance to the exhibition, Qatar flag on sails
The many Dhows on display
Captain relaxing on his dhow
Captain in a relaxed pose
A dhow
Sonya on a dhow
Travis with dhows in the background
Captain on his dhow
Dhow with half-mast sail
Qatari playing checkers

Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2011, Qatar

This year’s DTFF featured the premiere of ‘Black Gold’ a film featuring Freida Pinto (Miral, Slumdog Millionnaire), Antonio Banderas and was partially filmed in the deserts of Mesaieed in Qatar. Unfortunately, tickets sold out as soon as they were on the market however we did manage to catch two films yesterday at Katara Cultural Village.

We purchased tickets online for Comic Con – A Fan’s Hope – not because either of us are particularly huge comic book fans, but it was directed by Morgan Spurlock (director of Super Size Me, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold) who would be present at the screening and post screening he would be on a panel talking about his documentary style films. We had seen a few of his films and was curious to what he had to say. Unlike the supposedly thousands of fans who had turned up a few days earlier to catch a glimpse of Freida and Antonio… Morgan’s red carpet entrance was modest with a couple of journalists from the media interviewing him. Whilst we waited in line for Comic Con – we could hear his responses “I went to the Islamic Museum yesterday, it was great…”.
The panel session afterwards was quite interesting too. Morgan, two of his producers and, Holly, one of the characters from the film were present and interviewed by one of the Tribeca directors.

After Comic Con we walked over to the main strip in Katara. It was setup similar to last year, with lots of kites and coloured lighting. Hungry, we picked up two falafels and waited in line for our next film – An Egyptian Citizen which was screening at the massive open air theatre. Prior to the commencement of the film, there was a circus show – pretty much exactly the same acts as last year! The film itself was entertaining – filmed in 1991, set in 1973 during the October War it featured adored Egyptian filmstar Omar Sharif.

Entrance to the Katara AmphitheatreColourful kitesColourful kites pulled by boat
Acrobatic performersView of Katara during DTFF Family DayKites
Main entrance door to Katara AmphitheatreRed Carpet to the screening of Comic-Con Episode Four A Fan's HopeMorgan Spurlock on the Red Carpet prior to screening of Comic-Con Episode Four A Fan's Hope
Entrance of the DTFFAbove the door to Katara AmphitheatrePainter

Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010

For the second year, the Doha Film Institute and Tribeca Enterprises have partnered to create the Doha Tribeca Film Festival bringing local and international movies to Qatar.

We initially planned to see a movie at the local shopping centre movie theatre, but fortunately due to the crowded car parks and sold-out tickets we had to revert to Doha’s new Cultural Village known as Katara. Recently completed, Katara hosts an amphitheatre, opera hall, restaurants and mosque. For the festival an open air cinema was created.

About halfway through the pre-movie entertainment of Troupe Cirque Apeiron we realised it was Family Day, a common occurrence in Qatar where only ‘families’ are allowed into certain places (which does helps with the male to female ratio). The movie was Secretariat a movie about the legendary American racehorse who won the ‘Triple Crown’.

The number of kids in the audience and the number of times the host mentioned ‘made by Disney’, I was convinced there was going to be a talking horse. Fortunately, there wasn’t and the movie was extremely enjoyable and provided an unseen insight into thoroughbred horse racing. Malkovich who played Secretariat’s trainer was also an unexpectedly pleasant surprise.

After the movie the director Randall Wallace (famous for Braveheart and Pearl Harbor) and producer were even present to answer questions.

Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Family Day
Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Family Day
Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Family Day
Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Family Day
Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Family Day
Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Family Day
Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Family Day
Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Family Day
Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Family Day
Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Family Day
Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Family Day
Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Family Day
Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Family Day