Home » Discover the Hidden Gems of Katara Cultural Village in Doha

Discover the Hidden Gems of Katara Cultural Village in Doha

by Paola Bertoni
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Katara Cultural Village is a beautiful neighbourhood in the Katara area of Doha. The complex features traditional architecture style and offers many museums, galleries, theatres, and other cultural attractions showcasing the best Qatari culture and heritage. Some of the complex’s highlights include a giant amphitheatre, a few small mosques, a stunning beach, and the iconic pigeon towers.

What to See in Katara Cultural Village

Bordered by a beach on one side and the twin Katara Hills on the other, Katara is a popular destination in Doha for art, culture, and cuisine. The Katara Cultural Village was built under Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s direction and is one of Qatar’s most ambitious cultural projects.

During your trip to Qatar make sure you stay connected by purchasing Airalo eSIM online in advance, and avoid the hassle of buying a physical SIM at the airport.
In addition, remember to purchase Heymondo travel insurance that provides coverage against unexpected events such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost luggage, and more. It offers great value for money and ensures a stress-free and enjoyable trip!

Since its opening in 2010, this site has hosted many world-class performing and visual art projects in the huge amphitheatre. I enjoyed exploring Katara on foot and getting lost in the small streets. If you are fascinated by traditional Qatari architecture, you can deepen your knowledge at the Msheireb Museums. However, here is a guide to some of the best sights and activities at Katara Cultural Village.

Pigeon Towers

The first thing that will draw your attention in Katara, and probably one of the main reasons to visit this place, are the Pigeon Towers. The towers in Katara are a reproduction, but their use dates back to the Middle Ages when they were used to collect pigeon droppings, used as a fertiliser for farming. 

Pigeon towers are an example of Islamic architecture you can see only in Middle East. Built from logs and mud, they come in various shapes and sizes as the design varies by region. They usually have rooms inside with small openings for pigeons to enter. Today, they have become a tourist attraction, but you cannot go inside the Katara Pigeon Towers.

Pidgen Towers in Katara Cultural Village, Doha
Pidgen Towers in Katara Cultural Village, Doha

Arab Postal Stamps Museum

The Arab Postal Stamps Museum in Katara Cultural Village showcases the history of postage stamps in Qatar. The museum boasts an impressive collection of stamps. Here, you can learn about the history of the Qatari post and see rare and valuable stamps.

Initially, Qatar’s first postal stamps were British stamps with Queen Elizabeth’s profile and the word “Qatar” printed on them. However, after independence, Qatar produced some interesting and valuable stamps.

Many stamps reproduce Qatar’s nature and wildlife and recall the country’s most significant events. The museum also displays many stamps featuring Qatar Airways, the national airline,  incredible golden and silver coins, and special emissions. Through the commemorative stamps, I also discovered the existence of the Scout group in Qatar.

The museum entrance is free of charge, and you can view all the collections in half an hour or less unless you are passionate about philatelic, in which case you may spend the whole day here!

Arab Postal Stamps Museum in Katara Cultural Village, Doha
Arab Postal Stamps Museum in Katara Cultural Village, Doha

Katara Mosque

The Katara Mosque, easily recognisable as it is situated next to the unmistakable pigeon towers, is designed by Zeynep Fadilloglu, and apparently is the first mosque designed by a female architect.

The Katara Mosque was inspired by the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul. At the same time, the minaret, dome, and prayer niche (mihrab) were drawn from famous mosques worldwide. Outside, Persian and Turkish tiles and enamel work in shades of blue and gold, contrast the surrounding buildings. 

On Fridays, after prayer, you can enjoy free guided tours. The tours mainly focus on Islam and less on architecture. Nonetheless, the visit was quite interesting, and I highly recommend it if you want to learn more about Islam.

Katara Mosque in Katara Cultural Village, Doha
Katara Mosque in Katara Cultural Village, Doha

Katara Amphitheatre

The Amphitheatre is another popular attraction in Katara Cultural Village. Its design is inspired by ancient Greek and Roman theatres and can hold up to 5,000 people. You can enjoy a magnificent view of the sea from one side, while on the other, you can enter directly into the cultural village.

The Amphitheatre hosts numerous cultural events throughout the year, including traditional music and dance, modern theatre, and concerts. Check the schedule to stay informed about upcoming performances during your visit.

Paola Bertoni inside the Katara Cultural Village's Amphitheatre, Doha
Selfie inside the Katara Cultural Village’s Amphitheatre, Doha

Golden Mosque

The Golden Mosque is smaller than the Katara Mosque but no less stunning. It is adorned with intricate calligraphy and covered in gold tiling that shines in the sun. It faces the Amphitheatre and is a beautiful example of Islamic architecture.

Golden Mosque in Katara Cultural Village, Doha
Golden Mosque in Katara Cultural Village, Doha

Katara Beach

Katara has a lovely and quiet beach. Here, you can engage in many water sports or just relax. I walked along the promenade, and I can assure you that the beach is stunning. Rental services for beach equipment are available, and you can try speed boat rides, parasailing or water skiing.

Street Art

The Katara Cultural Village is also known for its vibrant murals, which convey significant messages about Qatari culture and environment. Many of these murals depict local animals like oryx or dugongs and the cultural diversity of Qatar. Exploring the streets of Katara to discover its unique street art is really a rewarding experience in Doha, if you love public art.

Street art depicting the Oryx, the animal symbol of Qatar, in Katara Cultural Village, Doha
Street art depicting the Oryx, the animal symbol of Qatar, in Katara Cultural Village, Doha

Useful Info to Visit Katara Cultural Village in Doha

In the Katara Cultural Village, there are plenty of things to do, ranging from fantastic street art and interesting galleries to the Arab Postal Stamps Museum and the huge Amphitheater. You can also explore the two stunning mosques and the nearby beach area.

If you’re wondering about the cost of visiting the Katara Cultural Village, there is no entry fee. You can explore the neighbourhood for free. However, some attractions like the beaches and events may have charges.

To get to Katara Cultural Village from the popular Souq Waqif area, you can take the metro and stop at Katara, which takes around 30 minutes. The neighbourhood is open for a walk anytime, but many indoor attractions, like art galleries, may not open until around 10 am, so it’s a good idea to check in advance if there is a specific venue you wish to visit.

After spending some time in Katara Cultural Village, you can do shopping at the Galeries Lafayette or visit the Al Thuraya Planetarium nearby.

Where to stay in Doha

Doha boasts a wide range of beautiful hotels with swimming pools and fitness centers to choose from. DoubleTree by Hilton Doha Old Town is a great modern accommodation in the heart of Doha. For a sea view option, you can choose the Wyndham Grand Doha West Bay Beach. If you prefer to stay in a hotel with an Arabian touch, I can recommend La Maison Hotel Doha, or for a luxurious experience, the incredible Sharq Village & Spa, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

In conclusion, Katara Cultural Village is a must-visit destination in Doha if you are interested in Qatari culture and heritage. With its stunning architecture and vibrant cultural scene, I am sure you will love this neighbourhood. Share your impressions about Katara Cultural Village in the comments.

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