The Film City of Qatar -A Bizarre site!
Qatar has its own piece of Hollywood set in the most unlikely of places. A newly-built-yet-old looking village deep in the desert of the Zekreet peninsula, hidden behind a canyon -a truly bizarre site.
It is definitely an experience to visit the Film City. It is in the middle of nowhere, quite tricky to find! Once you are there, you might be amazed! You got to see it to believe it.
If you ask anyone out here why this film city was built you will probably get several different answers. One possibility is that it was built for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup promotional video, some can say that it was built for a big Hollywood production.
The truth is that it lacks visitors, and don’t attempt to come here on your own. The road is not that good so it is not advisable to risk it.
PERSONALLY I believe the Film City is for those who seek a light adventure and a little bit of exploring. I think it is best for photograph aficionados and Doha outdoor lovers. Rough roads all the way to the Film City and should be for off road cars only.
THE JOURNEY from the main road takes a while so pack some liquids, food and entertainment.
Be extra sure you have a guide with you, not many people go there so there are literally no passers-by to ask.
Another caution, make sure your car has a full gas tank.
Lastly, the caretakers are friendly and imagine them living in such isolated conditions, it's great if you can give them a little something like we did though it is not obligatory.
In all: I expected much more from a film city though! It definitely has the potential to be much more than what it is now.
It is west of Doha, some 80km while part of it is rough terrain.
The Correct GPS Address: 25'34.11"N 50'46.65"E
Don’t attempt to come here if the car is not 4x4.
- Road Trip
Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of Islmic Art is an architectural wonder and it is located in one of the highlighted spots of Doha –the Carniche.
It is a 35.000 square metre structure with an educational wing with facilities for research. It has a library, a state-of-art 200-seat auditorium, a conservation laboratory, even prayer halls, a café, and a 5* restaurant.
The museum houses an internationally recognized collection of Islamic artifacts.
Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily except Tuesday.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
SIMAISMA- Birds' Sancutary (Family Beach Spot)
Simaisma - A Family Beach Destination
During my 3 week vacation in Doha we had a day trip to Simaisma.
It is considered to be a Family Beach destination, although it is an area with mangroves again. These plants play a significant role in land preservation and it is important to be protected.
I expect a muddy beach but I don’t care at all. What counts is that we are going to be out in nature and perhaps if we are lucky, see some wild-life that lives close by the coast.
We are off taking the highway towards Al Khor. Much closer to Doha there is the usual construction site with cranes scattered all over, piles of sand and cement behind ring fencing.
All this has to do with the Lusail project –the creation of the new city.
Further ahead the road is desert stretching for kilometers with not much to see on the way, with one or two trees standing in the middle of nowhere.
Behind the enclosure of high trees and quite far from the road there are a few farms on the way belonging to wealthy locals but with no visibility of what is inside.
It does not take us long to reach the coastal village and come to the beach which stretches out from a natural jetty, skirts around a small cluster of mangroves and continues around the bend.
The area is mostly secured by fencing with beach facilities, ideal for family picnics.
Across the street from the beach there is a beautiful part with trees and grass and WiFi.
The beach itself is wonderful and sandy, unfortunately at low tide you have to walk through the mangroves or the mud to reach the water. It is really hard for me to think that somebody would like to swim out here!
DISTANCE: (40 Km North of Doha)
For this beach take the highway towards Al Khor, and look for the exit to Lusail International Circuit. Instead of going right on the bridge, go left, until you reach the coastal village.
- Hiking and Walking
ART Lovers' High Spot - The Waqif Art Centre
If you are an Art lover, why not drop by the Waqif Art Centre!
Its aim is to preserve and enhance both Qatari and Middle Eastern artistic traditions and bring together anyone who truly loves art and culture.
The idea of this Centre is to share knowledge, talent and inspiration, thus contributing in making a new cultural and creative hub in Doha.
Involved in the most up-to-date, contemporary art culture without compromising the aesthetics of tradition and heritage inherent to the location.
I came here at least 3 times on this last trip to Doha. Highly recommended!
Located by the busy restaurants' street
- Arts and Culture
The two sides of Doha
Doha is still a city under construction, and workers are working day and night, often under very bad conditions.
Below some pictures showing the contrast between the two parts: the finished and the unfinished.
- Business Travel
- Work Abroad
A Stroll in VILLAGGIO
Villaggio is set within the Aspire Zone. It is designed as an Italian village with gondola rides and visions of blue skies on the ceiling with balcony interior settings.
It is really impressive and we have the feeling that the clouds on the ceiling are moving above our heads as we walk about. It is simply unimaginable -it is like walking in the streets of a town and the stores are designed in a way that they look like real houses with balconies. The colour, the atmosphere, the bridges, the buildings, and the squares throughout this architectural masterpiece setting are something beyond compare.
The Mall is a masterpiece and it is so well organized and architecturally designed in every aspect that has the ability to travel its guests. Before coming here I had seen photos and videos sent to me from my children who temporarily live here but I could not really understand it. You probably not understand it either….but at least I tried to give you the picture and atmosphere of the Mall as better as I could.
The village is home to luxury brand tenants including Dolce & Cabbana, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and many more.
- Theme Park Trips
- Food and Dining
The waterfront promenade of Corniche extends for several kilometers along the bay of Doha in the capital city.
Corniche attracts a diverse crowd. There is greenery around, lawns and nice passages. In the mornings it is ideal for jogging, cycling or for a walk…weather permitting of course! You see, pleasing weather lasts for very little. The rest of the time it is extremely hot and humid….not to mention the dust.
During weekends or holidays it attracts many people who are out with their families or friends to enjoy what the day and place has to offer. Wireless internet is free in the area and you can find several people sitting on the blue-grass working over their laptops.
The spot out here is also beautiful in the afternoons and with some luck you can appreciate one of the region’s superb sunsets, while in the evening the picture changes again. The fishing boats in the bay are decorated with hundreds of little colorful lights -reminding me of Christmas. The whole City lights up in an array of colors while a ride in the city centre is a “must”.
There is a beautiful Palm promenade on the right side of the Museum of Islamic Art and at a certain point there is a small hill that if you go upwards you will see a small harbor on your right and from the very top spot you can have the most panoramic view of the City Centre of Doha where the dozens of amazing skyscrapers of exquisite style and color of different shapes and heights pop up in the sky.
The Sheraton, -much lower, distinguishes among the rest. It has the shape of a pyramid and it was the first to be built out there some years back. These days it is beginning to be overshadowed by all kinds of other buildings shooting up all around it.
(This place out here has recently become a meeting spot for the new generation of Qataris – the ultra cool motorcycle crowd and their attempt is to create as much noise as possible).
- Arts and Culture
KATARA Cultural Centre
It is a lovely place located between Doha's West Bay and the Pearl, -the largest and most multidimensional cultural project of Qatar and its name derived from the oldest reference designated for the Qatar Peninsula in geographic and historical maps. It is a meeting place for people to experience the world cultures. In other words it is a place where the grace of the past meets the splendor of the future.
The imposing outdoor (Roman style) Amphitheatre is I guess the Jewel of Katara.
There are beautiful theatres, concert halls, trendy restaurants, exhibition galleries, -most of them are free to public, and the list goes on.
It is a nice area for a stroll or getting to the beach.
The 2nd Traditional Dhow Festival takes place these days (13th – 17th November.
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
Porto Arabia serves as a harbor for private yachts, boats and water taxis. Yachts and boats are of course available for charter, for different events, even sea cruises. It is a brand new development, a world-class waterfront project on the Pearl Island and home to over 900 yachts, with a promenade expanding to 2.5 km.
There are different coffee shops and restaurants by the promenade ideal after a stroll to indulge in this beautiful setting and enjoy a snack, a coffee or a meal.
There are several Shopping Outlets around where a visitor can find the most selected collection of world-leading brands which offer a rich diversity of choice. A few names of such brands found here are that of Giorgio Armani, John Galliano, Cavalli, Hugo Boss, Ferre, Hermes, and John Galliano to name only a few.
Visitors can also see the latest automobiles with Maserati and Ferrari at the Alfardan Sports Motors.
Porto Arabia supports 785 vessels ranging is size up to 60m which offer notch services. There is no other marina in the world to offer such a range of dining and catering options with providing convenient pedestals at each pier.
Water taxis also are available at a fee to travel you from one part of the Pearl to the other or let you off at specific stores.
Small motor-cars though, the ones we usually see in hotels are available by the waterfront to carry for free guests from one end to the other and let them off at the spot they wish.
It is recommended to make reservations if you plan to dine at a restaurant in the area especially during weekends
- Sailing and Boating
- Business Travel
- Luxury Travel
The Latest Residential Neighborhood of Pearl
With this tip I want to show you the latest residential area on the Pearl which is by all means beautiful but right now it looks like a haunted place.
It is true that the place keep guard -we were followed by one, while another was watching from a distance and we stopped taking photos the moment the first one walked all the way towards us and politely requested that we stop taking any.
Of course imagine this place with people around, markets and shops….it will be lovely. I only wonder where the investors are at this moment.
So it is hard to believe that all this beauty of the Pearl stands on sand and if you don’t know it you might be carried away. For a moment I felt as if I was climbing the stairs of the Ponte dei Sospiri or the Rialto bridge in Venice.
- Luxury Travel
- Business Travel
The Pearl in Doha
The Pearl Island , located on the West Bay is not actually an island in the way you might have already thought. It is a man-made island instead.
Yes, such miracles do happen in this rich country where locals don’t share the same worries as we have for our daily bread and how we make ends meet, struggling to cope.
Qatarians set a high target and they go for it. They have others do the thinking, planning and everything for them. They only invest and expect the very best. When they see that somebody else did something better than them they instantly become competitors and they are out for more setting even higher targets. There is constant competition out here as life goes on.
- Luxury Travel
the first Chrstian church in Qatar
Since 15 march 2008 Qatar has its first Christian church, Our Lady of the Rosary, which has been built on land donated by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to thank to Christian foreign workers in his country. So as of now, Saudi Arabia remains the only Gulf country not to allow Chirstian churches to be built.
This church is located 15 minutes outside Doha city, in a barren desert location - Abu Hamour - which is between the airport and Wakra. In order to be sensitive towards the Wahhabi islamic majority, this church has no cross, no bell and no steeple. There's no signboard either, but taxi drivers know where it is and will take you there and back if you ask them.
Whereas it is a bit inconspicuous outside, and the courtyard was still being developed (january 2009), inside the church is quite interesting... the walls and ceiling are painted blue and the general impression you'll have is that of peace and tranquillity. Although I'm not a religious person, I recommend this visit to this unique corner of Qatar.
the First getaway from Doha during the weekend is to go to the beach. People go there every weekend coz beaches are not so far from Doha, mostly a one to two hours trip.
more Beaches are recently open North of Doha, especially in AL-Khor area,
While in the South there is the most famous resort - Sealine - at ummsaid, where u pay an entry fee and then have access to the beach and the pool, and restaurants.
U can also rent a room or a bangalo for the weekend.
With all this Desert around, it is nice to go an a Safari trip, where you can enjoy gliding over the sand dunes, have a dinner by the fire or even spend the night under the stars.
Many travel agencies organize safari trips for groups. The Package price can vary, depending on the number of people, what you will need and how long will you stay
'ezba is similar to a small gentleman's farm but in a remote area of the desert. My friends had one somewhere in the middle of the country- far in the Qatari desert. It consisted of a modest bungalow, and many shrubs, some shade trees, as well as chickens and other fowl running around as well as some goats. In the evening we made a bon fire and sat round it roasting some meat on a stick from the fire of the bonfire and talked until we decided to retire for the night. During the day the fierce sun and heat made everyone feel lazy and nothing was done except strip down and jump into a cool water reservoir/ retention pool on the property and just soak luxuriously, laughing at the heat outside from us!
- Adventure Travel
- Budget Travel