On Sunday Rob and I went to see the galleries and exhibits at the Katara Cultural Village. I decided to make my journal entry image around one of the architectural features I found interesting, but there were so many other things of interest here that I’ll have to include a lot more photos with this post than just my journal entry.
By the end of the day we were exhausted. I checked my pedometer and it showed that we had walked 4.5 miles, so no wonder. That’s more than I normally get on an ordinary day, and was second only to the airport walking I did the previous Sunday, ha.
Finding our way around Katara
When we were dropped off by our Uber driver, we were needing a cup of coffee before we started our exploring. The lay of the area was fairly expansive and the signs were mostly in Arabic. But we knew the village bordered the gulf and the courtyard nearest that end was where the restaurants were located.
So we walked around a bit, but really didn’t have any idea where we should be going other than the general direction. It was early in the day, and locals generally tend to go out after lunch, rather than earlier. So except for workers (and there were plenty of them grooming grounds and working on construction), there weren’t many people around.
However, I noticed another couple of tourists a little behind us, and they had a map, perhaps a Katara Village map. We thought maybe they might have a good idea of where the coffee might be found. So we turned around and asked them. As luck would have it, they had been following us because they hoped WE might have had an idea of where we should be going! All four of us had a good laugh at that, but not much conversation otherwise because they were foreigners of a different origin, and the limits of our understanding each other had been reached in the map study.
Eventually we found our way to the waterfront and some coffee. Then we began to explore the many alleyways. Some of the exhibits were still closed (because it was early in the day) but some were open. We visited a photographic exhibit of scenes from Oman. That is a beautiful country, and not at all desert everywhere. Lots of waterfalls and greenery in places.
We saw exhibits of watercolor paintings from Qatari artists, and in that same gallery were open studios where artists used acrylics and oils, too. I didn’t take pictures inside the exhibits, but I’ve got plenty from the outdoor areas.
The name ‘Katara’ is used for this village because that’s the way Qatar was spelled on the oldest maps. The culture celebrated here isn’t limited to that of Qatar, but includes other countries of the Middle East, too. When I travel, what I enjoy most are the differences. I really like seeing the different landscapes, the variety in people and their lifestyles (religion, dress, behaviors, diets, physical differences) and architectures unique to a region. In the Middle East they use a lot of earthy colors, sometimes inlaid with brighter colors like blue (often lapis).
They build on large scales, incorporate open air, and feature arched doorways and even arched relief on rectangular doors. Here’s one of the doors, for example.
The more subtle differences are the ones I think leave the longest impression in my memory, though. The way it sounds, the smells, and the flavors. And sometimes even the way it feels. Right now it’s winter time here, and the temperatures are incredibly good (~ 70*F daytime) compared to how it felt when I was here in summer (~ 113 F* daytime). But this time, it won’t be the climate that lingers so long in my memory. It didn’t make the impression that the incredible heat made the last time. That is something I will never forget.
After more walking about we found the rookeries we’d seen in the online brochure, and that was something I wanted to see in person. Very interesting construction.
When the restaurants opened we had to decide between a few options. Seafood, Turkish, Lebanese, or Italian? We opted for the Sukar Pasha Ottoman Lounge (Turkish). That was a feast for more than just the food. The setting was incredible, and the view from our window looked out to the azure waters of the Persian Gulf . Even the bathroom (at least the women’s) was lavish. The food was delicious. I have to mention the olive, though. They brought out a tiny little condiment tray with the bread pillows. On the tray was a single olive. That olive was the best I’ve ever tasted.
Here’s the website for the Sukar Pasha restaurant where you can see more pictures of the incredible interiors and check out the menu.