Cultural and futuristic sites to see during Qatar 2022

Football fans who travel to Qatar to support their national team will have the opportunity to discover what the country has to offer such as its many cultural sites and its new town of Lusail.

To stay on site, foreign visitors must have a Hayya digital card which will be very useful to them during this FIFA World Cup. This card which means “come with us” serves as an entry permit into the country and an access badge to the stadiums and allows free travel on public transport.

“You can access the metro, buses and all public transport for free,” underlines Ahmed Al-Binali, director of mobility operations within the Supreme Committee for World Cup Delivery and Legacy. “Secondly, we encourage everyone to use the Hayya map planner to plan their trip and get the latest transportation notifications, you can also pre-book a taxi,” he continues.

The traditional Souq Waqif

Regarding the sites not to be missed, the emblematic Souq Waqif is an essential first step. This busy market is where tourists and locals alike can find everything from spices to souvenirs. In one of its winding passages, there is a good chance that you will find something that catches your eye.

Symbols of modernity and history

After stepping into the past at the Souq, head to the future, to a lesser-known but equally impressive site: Msheireb which is across the street. Hailed as one of the world’s first sustainable city center regeneration projects, the architecture of Msheireb blends modernity with references to the past, present and future to bring Doha’s old shopping district back to life.

Located at the southern end of the Doha Cornichethe crown jewel of Qatar’s many museums, the Islamic Art Museum, completely renewed, reopened its doors. It brings together 18 galleries that explore Islamic art, history and culture. “The Museum of Islamic Art is in itself a great tourist attraction, it is an incredible piece of architecture built by architect Ieoh Ming Pei, winner of the Pritzker Prize and secondly, the collection of Islamic art in this museum is exceptional,” says Julia Gonnella, director of the museum.

From one museum to another

Opposite the Museum of Islamic Art is the impressive National Museum of Qatarconceived by Jean Nouvel. Its architecture is inspired by natural crystalline formations called “roses of the sands”. Visitors are taken on an immersive and visual journey through local history, from the prehistoric era to the present day, in spaces of no less than 40,000 m². “Before the discovery of oil in 1939, the people of Qatar depended on seasonal travel and migration: in the summer months they were on the coast for the pearling season and in the winter months they moved to inland, in the desert, in search of pasture, to graze their animals, and water resources as well,” notes Tania Al Majid, one of the Museum’s deputy directors.

A cultural village

Then head to the Katara Cultural Village where artists, academics and football fans meet. Like the Souq Waqif, take the time to stroll through these alleys, then access the nerve center of creation in the country, whether it is the Katara studios which produced the official soundtrack of this World Cup world, the opera or the amphitheater on the seafront which hosts many concerts and festivals. “That’s the main goal of the Katara Cultural Village,” says Malika M. Al Shraim, director of the New Media department at cultural village, “namely to create a cultural center, to import other cultures and to export ours and our heritage through the festivals that we program, carry out or welcome within the village in collaboration with the various embassies present in the country.”

Lusail, the city of the future

Our last stop is reserved for the Qatari city of the future, Lusail. This was created specifically in anticipation of the World Cup, from its conception to its realization, including its layout, with a metro and a tram to transport the supporters and, of course, the Lusail stadium which will host the final. .

This nearly twenty-year-old city was built using the latest technology with a focus on sustainability and connectivity. Esmat Zaidan, associate professor of public policy at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, is a specialist in urban planning. She explains to us that it is certainly a new town, but that it is also steeped in history. “The name Lusail is derived from a rare flower, endemic to the region which is considered a symbol of the identity of this place,” she points out before adding: “The founder of modern Qatar, Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani was born and lived in Lusail, he also built the castle of Lusail which was at the time, the center of power. A century later, the government of Qatar began drawing up plans to develop Lusail and transform it into a hypermodern city,” she specifies.

Smart and sustainable management

Since 2005, the property developer Qatari Diar is in charge of the construction.“We make sure Lusail is a smart city,” explains its director of property management Khalid Alhammadi. “Many initiatives have been launched to achieve this objective: one of them, in particular, is the Lusail tramway, the LRT (Light Rail Transit) which makes it possible to reduce road traffic and encourage people to move by borrowing this network,” he indicates.

The city’s tram, metro and car parks are monitored from a single centre. “The Lusail Command and Control Center (LCCC) is considered the intelligence hub that runs the entire city,” points out its director of the department of infrastructures, equipment and landscapes Waleed Alsaadi before specifying: “It works through advanced technologies to operate, monitor and manage the city’s infrastructure.”

In addition to monitoring telecommunications and security networks, the LCCC manages the city’s infrastructure such as waste, gas and air conditioning systems. “Lusail was built to meet Qatar’s sustainability ambitions and goals, but also to provide the country with a new model city that sets an example for the rest of the world,” emphasizes Professor Esmat Zaidan.

Lots of entertainment

Whilst reflecting traditional forms and architecture, Lusail has been designed to be pedestrian friendly, not least because of its promenades frequented by families.

Lusail covers an area of ​​38 km². Its main points of interest include a luxury shopping center called Place Vendôme, and of course, the Lusail stadium. Its Boulevard, whose design is inspired by the Champs-Élysées, is the main business, restaurant and retail center of the city.

After dark, Lusail offers many activities – from drone shows to concerts and fan zones that will be in place for the duration of “Qatar 2022” – to ensure that you are living up to its reputation as a “World Cup city”.

Cultural and futuristic sites to see during Qatar 2022