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Gems of Qatar – Cultural village of Katara

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A cultural beacon radiating in the Middle East through theatre, literature, music and visual arts 
Here’s a little known secret about Qatar: weekends fall on Friday and Saturday, with most stores closed on Friday mornings until after the Jum’ah afternoon prayer. For a country that is rooted in local tradition, Qatar is distinctly modern as well, which comes to a surprise to visitors.
 Offering a wealth of experiences for trendsetters seeking a slice of the high-life, Qatar is home to luxury hotels and restaurant brand names, unique adventure activities, and luxury spa and wellness venues. It also showcases Qatar’s strong and diverse cultural roots, with diverse museums, art exhibitions and theatre performances. No other place embodies this more than the Cultural Village of Katara.
Qatar as Cultural Beacon
Katara emerged from a long-standing vision to position the Qatar as a cultural beacon, radiating in the Middle East through theatre, literature, music, visual art, conventions and exhibitions. As the largest and the most multidimensional cultural project of Qatar, it plays host to international, regional and local festivals, workshops, performances and exhibitions in its beautiful theatres, concert halls, exhibition galleries and cutting-edge facilities.
Bridge to a Bygone Era
Since the year 150 AD, “Catara” was the first and most ancient name designated for the Qatar Peninsula in geographic and historical maps. The map drawn by the geographer Claudius Ptolemaeus in 150 AD also stipulated the geographical location of Qatar Peninsula under the name of Catara, North West of Gerra or near it, and to the west of the town of Cadara.
 The name “Katara” began to appear in the geographical and historical maps in early eighteenth century AD. In a French map of the Arabian Peninsula coast line, sea and gulf, the name was written “Katara” instead of “Catara,” which was the designation used by geographers from the map of Ptolemaeus in 150 AD until 1738 AD.
 In the establishing of the Katara Cultural Village, it was decided to revive Qatar’s olden name to uphold our connection to ancient heritage and to honour Qatar’s distinguished position since the dawn of history.
Myriad of Facilities
Designed to be a culture vulture’s dream come true, the Cultural Village of Katara boasts everything including an amphitheatre, opera house, drama theatres, art studios, galleries, and a cinema.
 Leaving visitors spoiled for choice, a good starting point would be the one of the Cultural Village’s gems – the Katara Amphitheatre. Bringing together the classical Greek theatre concept with the everlasting Islamic features, it stands poised in the heart of Katara, beneath piercingly blue skies and overlooking the shimmering sea.
 Completed in the year 2008, this 3,275 sqm landmark has a seating capacity of 5000. It pays homage to the great tradition of the unique architectural style associated with amphitheatres and is set to host some of the most spectacular world-class events in Doha.
 Make the Katara Opera House the next stop on your list. Home to the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, it is fast becoming a hub for some of the world’s leading performers. A blend of cutting-edge architecture and traditional Islamic design, the Opera House seats up to 550 people and offers an unparalleled luxurious cultural experience.
Culinary Delights with a Serving of Culture
At Katara, the culinary world is at your table through an array of amazing restaurants and cafes. Strategically located with a sweeping view of the sea, Katara brought together the finest international restaurants under its roof to whet the appetite of visitors with its scrumptious diversity of culinary arts from a sampling of global cuisines.
Exciting Developments
Already brimming with activity, Katara has a slew of exciting developments in the works, expected to be completed between 2016-2017. Firstly, there is the Valley and Children’s Mall, an upcoming commercial center in the heart of Katara. It comprises of shops, departmental stores, office spaces, service apartments, and a unique mall for children; all built over two stories of vast basement parking.
 Another upcoming development is Katara Hills, a luxurious waterfront development consisting of exclusive villas, town houses and apartments. The residential section will be complemented by a boutique resort-style hotel.
 For other recreational activities, Katara has a range of alternatives for those looking to take a breather from the cultural immersion. A children’s play area is located by the beach where children can enjoy a variety of activities, games and rides as well as child friendly water sports. Katara Beach also offers a variety of water sports that include water skiing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, parasailing, sailing, boat rides, canoeing and kayaking, and fishing trips. Finally, experience the magic of gondola rides from 5-10pm daily at Katara Beach.
Details and Directions
The Cultural Village of Katara is a 30-minute drive from Hamad International Airport. The best way to get there is by car or taxi.

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