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Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
23 C
Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
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    The Qatar experience

    DOHA, QATAR (AP) – The winding cobbled alleys of Souq Waqif create a labyrinthine bazaar stuffed with dozens of small stores hawking spices and perfumes, scented oils, silk scarves, shimmering crystal chandeliers and glittering jewellery.

    The Qatari capital’s oldest souq also features antique stores, art galleries, restaurants and a stop where shoppers can have a falcon – the national bird of this small Arab country jutting out into the Persian Gulf – sit on their arm.

    Qatar was once a dust-blown pearling port transformed into an ultra-modern hub following its 1990s natural gas boom, when expatriates, Western consultants and engineers, and low-paid South Asian construction workers and cleaners poured into the country.

    The 1.2 million visitors expected during the World Cup in energy-rich Qatar can sample the daily life of the 350,000 residents through a variety of tourist attractions and every-day activities.

    The beaches have golden sand and shallow, warm turquoise waters. Qatar has over 560 kilometres of coastline and Al Maroona is the most popular beach.

    Want to get on the water? Take a cruise on the Arabian Gulf in a dhow, an integral part of Qatari culture and, before the oil era, the traditional boats were used for pearl diving, fishing and transporting goods.

    The dhows are a daily visual of Qatar’s centuries-old maritime heritage.

    Take a casual stroll down the Doha Corniche, a seven-kilometre crescent walkway around Doha Bay that stretches from the pyramid-shaped Sheraton Hotel at the northern end to the Museum of Islamic Art at the south. In between are restaurants, parks and cultural attractions along the promenade overlooking the waterfront.

    Don’t have World Cup match tickets? Big screens have been erected and soccer fans can often be found crowded around the televisions catching a game.

    ABOVE & BELOW: The Crescent Tower Lusail during sunrise in Lusail, Qatar; and Brazil’s football team fans jump for a photo along the Doha corniche. PHOTOS: AP

    Tourists taking pictures at the Doha Corniche
    ABOVE & BELOW: A man walks at the Doha Corniche in front of the Qatar skyline; and a traditional dhow boat sails at the corniche

    ABOVE & BELOW: People watch the match between Qatar and Senegal at a public viewing area in Al-Ruwais; shop staff wait for customers in front of a souvenir shop at the Souq Waqif Market; and former pearl diver Saad Ismail talks to a client in his pearl shop in Souq Waqif

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