Realized out of a vision to establish Qatar as a cultural beacon of the Middle East, the cultural village at Katara is a world-class exhibition space that has been designed to spur the participation of Qataris in cultural activities and encourage greater exploration of the emirate’s rich heritage.
A true nation-building endeavor, the $82-million project is held as a key contributor to the social and human development of the country.
Built on reclaimed coastal land between Doha’s West Bay and The Pearl-Qatar, just to the north of the capital’s city center, Katara includes heritage centers, libraries, art galleries and other academic facilities, in addition to retail outlets, coffee shops, museum facilities and market areas.
Katara had a soft opening in October 2010 during the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF).
According to Marcio Barbosa, managing director of Katara and former joint director at UNESCO, the cultural village has the challenge of, on one hand, preserving the traditions and historic values of the country and, on the other, “offering cultural opportunities” – modern ones through different manifestations, like music, art, theater and cinema, among others. “The idea is to show that, in culture, the country has a strategy of coexistence of the ancient and the new,” he said in an interview last year.
Many Qatari organizations already have their offices at Katara, including the Qatari Society for Engineers, Qatar Fine Arts Society, Visual Art Center, Qatar Photographic Society, Childhood Cultural Center, Doha Film Institute, and the Qatar Music Academy.
The 247-acre cultural village features a massive open amphitheater, opera house, cinema that can double as a drama theater, a multipurpose hall, beach, handicrafts souq, book market, international restaurants and cafes, and ample space for visitors to stroll around the different areas of the project.
The themed restaurant area has eateries that are exclusive to the Middle East and Katara’s minaret center is based around three towers, one of which – a hotel – will be Qatar’s tallest.