Qatar Living Guide
In general, the Qatari Inhabitants are of Arabic origin and the culture is very much based on Islamic tradition. Islam is the dominant influence on day-to-day life. This rich cultural tradition is present in what they wear, eat and drink. Qataris are known for their generosity and friendliness, thus making Qatar a very welcoming country.
Qataris are very traditional, with the men wearing their national dress of a Thobe, which is a long white garment worn usually with either a white, or red and white chequered head scarf.
The women wear traditional black abayas and many cover their faces with a veil, others choose to just cover their hair.
What not to wear!
Qatar has quite liberal rules in regards to dress for expats and whilst they are not required to dress in traditional attire it is recommended that women cover their shoulders and knees and do not wear particularly tight or revealing clothing as a mark of respect. These rules become much more important during Ramadan and are enforced by special ‘clothes’ police that ensure ladies are covered appropriately. This is a very important month in the Islamic calendar and extra respect must be shown. You are also forbidden to eat or drink in public during Ramadan (with the exception of young children, pregnant and menstruating ladies, the elderly, the insane or the chronically ill).
Pork is outlawed in Qatar and cannot be found anywhere- it is also illegal to bring it into the country. Muslims are forbidden to eat any meat that is not slaughtered in accordance to the Islamic code; this is referred to as halaal. Consumption of alcohol is frowned upon by Qataris.
Art and Architecture
Qatar offers a very dynamic art scene with some local and international artists exhibiting their work at the galleries. Exhibitions normally occur monthly. Al Markhiya www.almarkhiyagallery.com is a very popular art gallery based in Doha and has an extensive local exhibition. Some hotels have exquisite art displayed in their foyers, like the Four Seasons Hotel.
There are plenty of cinemas in Doha, some of them offering IMAX and Vmax theatres.
Almost all the major releases come out here and they’re not far behind the western release dates– but films with what is considered an ‘unsuitable’ content, e.g. Brokeback Mountain, never see the light of day and some films end up suffering from gratuitous editing. However, gruesome horror films are very popular. There is also a big market for Arab and Indian films. English language films aren’t dubbed, they just have Arabic subtitles. You can find listings in the local papers.
List of Popular Cinemas
Cinema Land Landmark Shopping Mall Contact Number 488 1674
Grand Cine Centre City Centre Doha Contact Number 493 3989
Gulf Cinema Between C Ring and Najma Road Contact Number 467 1811
Mall Cineplex Between C Ring and Najma Roadable Contact Number 467 8666
Royal Cinema Royal Plaza Contact Number 413 0000
There are many very good sporting activities found in Qatar with most based in Doha. The corniche is a good starting point and is popular for those wanting to walk or jog.
Qatar has developed a number of top class facilities and therefore has been able to host a number of prestigious international sporting events. The country hosted the hugely successful 2006 Asian Games. Some of the other main events hosted annually by Qatar are the ExxonMobil Men’s Open Tennis Tournament, the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Tournament, the Worlds Superbike Championships, the WAT Women’s Tennis Tournament (sponsored by Sony Ericson) and the prestigious Sail Gulf Regatta. Qatar is also home to 28 sport federations ranging from bowling to weightlifting.
Football is the most popular sport in the country closely followed by cricket. The Asian Football Confederation's 2011 AFC Asian Cup finals will be held in Qatar in January 2011. It will be the fifteenth time the tournament has been held, and the second time it has been hosted by Qatar. Qatar is also home to Qatar Racing Club a Drag Racing facility. Sheik Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani is very involved in the sport and owner of Al-Anabi Racing.
Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar hosted the WTA Tour Championships in women's tennis between 2008 and 2010.
Clubs & Associations:
Aerobics - Bio-Bil Health, Beauty Centre & Spa| Cabana Club| The Bay Club| The Ritz-Carlton, Doha
Art Classes - Ceramics Galore| Virginia Commonwealth university Qatar (VCUQ)| French Cultural Centre
Badminton - Sealine Beach Resort| Sheraton Doha Hotel & Resort
Ballet Classes - Isabelle Mojansky| The International Centre For Music
Baseball - Qatar Little League
Basketball - Diplomatic Club| Cabana Club| Sheraton Doha Hotel & Resort
Belly Dancing - Oriental Dance
Birdwatching - Qatar Natural History Group
Bowling - Qatar Bowling Centre| Winter Wonderland
Boxing - Qatar Boxing Federation
Camping - Qatar International Tours
Cookery Classes - The Ritz-Carlton, Doha
Cricket - Qatar Cricket Association
Cycling - Qatar Cycling Federation
The best-known theatrical company in Qatar is Doha Players. Made up of keen amateurs (some of whom are very talented) and volunteers, the group has been staging English-language productions in the capital for over 50 years. As a result of the bombing in March 2005, they no longer have their own theatre, but the company has raised funds to rebuild and is now drawing up plans. In the meantime, Doha Players have been using various venues around Doha including Garveys, Doha Sailing Club and for bigger productions like the annual pantomime and musicals, the College of the North Atlantic. Check out forthcoming productions on www.dohaplayers.com.
Doha Residential Areas
This is quite a busy commercial area with plenty of shops, cafes, juice bars and local businesses. It is probably more suited to single people or couples with no kids. It has very limited parking so traffic tends to often jam up especially on Al Mirqab Street. It has a few olders malls such as Centrepoint and Royal Plaza. It is mainly apartment living here with a couple of older compounds and you would expect to pay roughly around 8000-9000QR per month for a two bedroom apartment.
This is probably one of the most popular areas with families as it is close to Villaggio Mall and Aspire Park and has some schools and nurseries close by. There are lots of compounds in this area and some standalone villas also. The new Al Wabb City development is still under construction but it is planned to be a city within a city and will have shops,restaurants,parks and accommodation when completed. Most compound villas in the Al Wabb area are roughly between 14,000 – 18,000QR per month for a 3 or 4 bedroomed villa on a compound with facilities.
This is becoming a popular area with families. It is close to Landmark Mall with a Carrefour and also the new Lulu Hypermarket. It also has lots of cheap useful shops close by on Khalifa Street. There are a lot of schools in the area such as Compass School, Doha English Speaking School (DESS), The Canadian School and International school of London plus kindergartens such as Starfish Lane. Ther e is a mix of stand alone villas and compounds including Riviera Gardens which is a very popular and saught after compound. You would expect to pay roughly around 12,000QR unfurnished per month for a three bedroomed villa.
Abu Hamour/Mamoura/Ain Khalid
This is a popular residential area due to the number of new compounds and stand alone villas being built and it is slightly cheaper than other parts of town. It is close to several schools such as Park House English School, Al Jazeera Academy, Doha British School and also Doha College. There are also lots of Nurseries/Kindergartens in the area. It is very close to Fish and Vegetable markets as well as the Plant Souqs. Safari Mall is close by as well as a newly opened Carrefour on Mesaimeer Road. Compound living is the main options here and you can get a 4 bedroom villa unfurnished from 10,000QR per month.
Old Airport Area
This is one of the older areas of Doha with very busy main roads. Despite its close proximity to the airport it is not under the flight path. There is very little green space here but the area is much cheaper for accommodation. There is a Lulu Hypermarket and The Mall close by and Shoprite on the Airport Road for imported items. There are lots of stand alone villas in this area and some compounds such as Al Fardan 1 and La Mirage. Newton Secondary Schhol is close by. A lot of the compounds do tend to be a little bit older but you can pick up a 4 bedroomed villa unfurnished for 10,000QR per month or a two bedded apartment for 6000QR per month.
This is one of the most talked about areas of Doha. It covers 985 acres of reclaimed land to the north of the Corniche. The developers are hoping this will become the Riviera of the Middle East. Residents have top brand shops on hand as well as a selection of restaurants including Gordon Ramsays Maze. Residential prices are a little higher here and it is definitely a place for couples and single people. Apartments can be found from 12,000QR upwards and a three bedroom townhouse has been advertised from 25,000QR per month. There are plans for primary and secondary schools to be built but at the moment the closest is in West Bay such as Newton School.
West Bay Lagoon has a variety of lifestyle options from high rise apartments to luxurious waterside villas. Traffic at the moment is quite light but they are expecting it to get busier once the Pearl opens fully. City Centre Doha is close by with a Carrefour hypermarket inside as well as a new Carrefour Market in Lagoon Plaza underneath the Zig Zag Towers. A lot of the five star hotels are in this area also such as the Ritz Carlton, The Grand Hyatt, W Hotel, Hilton, Four Seasons to name a few. Newton School is close by as well as quite a few nurseries and kindergartens. A fully furnished apartment in the Zig Zag towers will be around 9000QR per month for a 2 bedroom and a standalone villa on the lagoon can set you back up to 25,000QR per month.
Wakra is located on the Coast roughly about ten minutes drive from the outskirts of Doha and the Airport. It is a very small community with undeveloped beaches and has a very relaxed feel to the area. Most of the housing is rented by single lower income men as the rates are so much cheaper then Doha. A two bedroomed apartment in the Ezdan Compound starts at 3,000QR per month!! Schools in Al Wakra are mostly independent schools so most expats tend to use an International school within Doha and this can take quite some time to commute back/forth each day.
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