For ages I have been fascinated by the new mall going up off a main street in Doha with a ‘village’ sitting right next to it. I finally headed into that area on my Friday morning “Drive by Shooting”. Was I ever delighted by what I found! An entire ‘village’ sits behind the mall surrounded by massive tracts of new villas.
The new housing is of the style found all over Qatar. One housing unit is repeated ad nauseum as far as the eye can see.
Sometimes the repetitive new housing sits side by side a relic from the past.
It is the relics of the past that really catch my eye and the target of my “Drive by Shootings”. Right behind this newly constructed mall sits a entirely different world.
Most of the old dwellings are currently inhabited by workers although a few of the larger dwellings seem to be still in the hands of Qatari families.
Others have clearly been abandoned and bear a resemblance to other abandoned buildings found all over Qatar. The architecture is very light with a lot of terrace possibly speaking to the pre-airconditioned days of Qatar.
Large farms stretch out behind fading walls.
A grand compound sits quietly forgotten.
One little farm is still alive with animals and greenery.
Some old wrecked cars lead you to believe that you are in the middle of the countryside.
Life seems very tranquil.
What is hard to believe is that this tranquil little world lies a stone throw from the glittering high rises of Doha.
And even closer to the new mall.
At the moment my itinerary is completely random and my findings and musings pure conjecture. But I have been inspired to try and find out more about Qatar’s past and its growth. While searching for old maps I came across a project highlighted in an article by Doha News called “Changing face of Doha captured in region’s first interactive online map”. This led me to The Doha Online Historical Atlas which I will explore more thoroughly. A friend pointed me to the Instagram account @Turath_Lawal which leads me to believe that I am not the only one fascinated by Qatar’s fading past.
I’m looking forward to more discoveries and hoping that the unseasonably pleasant weather that we have been experiencing will linger for a bit.