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próximo a Abū Sudayrah, Ad Dawḩah (Qatar)

para los que quieren descubrir Qatar, aqui les dejo algunos lugares.
Sítio arqueológico

House of Sheikh Abdullah bin Thani Al-Thani

Description To see a remarkable example of a traditional Qatari home, look no further than Al-Rayyan. The residence of Sheikh Abdullah bin Thani Al-Thani is very peculiar because of its two “majlis” to receive guests. One of them is an external room adjoined to the house while the other is an open-air platform in the courtyard, used during the hot season. Location and access to the “majlis” rooms were carefully thought out to balance the welcoming character of Qataris and the privacy of their family. The indoor “majlis” is located outside of the wall surrounding the house so the owner could receive guests any time without disrupting the family. To further protect the privacy of the family, all ground floor rooms only have windows that look inward toward the courtyard, and first floor rooms have colored glass windows to prevent people from seeing inside. The house features a large courtyard in the middle with pavilions and high walls around the perimeter. This internal area served as the hub of the family’s domestic life and each pavilion had a specific purpose, with separate rooms reserved for women. When this residence was built in 1935, Al-Rayyan -which is just on the outskirts of Doha - was considered a separate village from the capital city. The house was built on a site rich in underground water, enabling the residents to use a well to supply the building with water and to irrigate the vegetables. The pavilions of this traditional residence give its visitors an idea of the traditional Qatari building technique. The thick walls, which help isolate the heat and keep the house cool, were built by overlapping raw pieces of coral rock and limestone, joining them with mud mortar and covering them with gypsum-based plaster. The roof is made of four layers. The first consists of a series of “danchal” wood poles, often protected by bitumen. The second layer is made up of “basgijl,” which are woven bamboo strips. A close net of mangroves branches comprises the third layer and the roof is finished with a layer of compressed mud that protects the house from the sun during the hot seasons. Another interesting feature of this technique is the use of poles of “danchal” wood held together with a rope in the construction of architraves. This increases the adherence of the mud mortar and plaster. On the top of the building, traditional “marazims” protect the surfaces of the walls. These wooden channels stretch out from the roof to drain rainwater away during the desert’s rare but heavy storms.
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Zekreet Fort

Description Located close to Dukhan on the west coast of Qatar, the Zekreet area boasts an astonishing landscape with prehistoric sites and remnants of old settlements. One such destination site is the 18th century fort and early date press found on the beach. The fort has a very distinctive layout that allows seeing the two different phases of construction. Originally, the fort was built as a simple square without towers in each corner. In a second phase of development, towers were added at the outer four corners of the fort. However these towers were never completed. Because they were added at a later date, their shape is incomplete. Actually, only three-quarters of their plans were built. On the fort’s coastal side, the ruins of “madabes” can be found. These rooms were used to produce “debis”, which is a traditional date-based food. The rooms have parallel channels 10 cm deep into the floor that are linked together by a perpendicular canal near the entrance that funnels into an underground pot in the corner. During the process of making “debis”, palm fronds were laid on the channels, creating a smooth, flat base. The dates were then put in sacks made of palm leaves and laid on top of each other in piles that could reach two meters high. The weight of the upper sacks often squashed the dates in the lower sacks and their thick juice ran into the channels and eventually into the underground pot. A complete and very well-preserved room used in the production of “debis” can be visited at House of Sheikh Ghanim bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Al-Wakra. Evidence of many more can be found in the Al-Zubarah town.
Sítio arqueológico

House of Sheikh Ghanim bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani

Description Majid bin Saed Al-Saed, one of the most important pearl merchants in Al-Wakra, built this beautiful and unique house at the beginning of the 20th century. Used to produce “debis”, which is a traditional date-based food, and also to sell and store merchandise, the residence was purchased by Sheikh Ghamin bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in 1960. It was in the four rooms on the ground floor that the “debis” was produced. Called “madabes”, these rooms have parallel channels sunk 10-centimeters deep into the floor. These channels are linked together by a perpendicular canal near the entrance that connects to an underground pot in the corner. In the process of making the “debis”, palm fronds were laid on the channels to create a smooth, flat base. The dates were then put in sacks made of palm leaves and stacked in piles up to two meters high. The weight of the upper sacks squashed the dates in the lower sacks, and their thick juice ran into the channels where it was collected and funnelled into the underground pot. In Bedouin societies, “debis” is mainly used as a dressing for rice and fish. A few small shops still sell them today. The rooms in the house that were not used to make “debis” were used to sell a diverse range of merchandise, including pearl diving equipment. The house’s water supply came from a well in the courtyard. This large space was also used to store merchandise for sale. One of the corners of the courtyard has a staircase to a wide terrace on the upper floor that features a spectacular view of the nearby seashore, where mangroves form the basis of a fascinating ecosystem. A “majlis” that was used by the first owner to receive guests and business partners is situated on the south side of the terrace. The “majlis” rooms were carefully planned to balance the welcoming character of Qataris with the privacy of their family. For this reason, the building has a separate entrance to the “majlis” on the south side that kept visitors from walking through the ground floor and disrupting the privacy of the owner. “Badjeer,” or traditional Qatari air traps, were used to provide the house with natural air conditioning. The system was based on the construction of two parallel walls: one standing from the floor to halfway and the second hanging halfway down from the ceiling. The walls would overlap by 10 cm, with breathing room left in between. Although this method shelters the rooms from an external view, it allows wind to enter the house without dragging in any sediment. When necessary, the space between the two wall panels can be closed with a wooden shutter. On the top of both the “majlis” and the mosque, traditional “marazims” protect the walls. These wooden channels stretch out from the roof to drain rainwater away during the desert’s rare but heavy storms. The thick walls, which help isolate heat and keep the house cool, were built by overlapping raw pieces of coral rock and limestone. The roof was finished with a layer of compressed mud, further protecting the house from the sun during the hot seasons. Many older residents of Al-Wakra remember when Majid bin Saed Al-Saed fitted the “majlis” with the first radio in town. Often people would gather together in the room and listen to the news.
Sítio arqueológico

Simaisma mosque

Description Mosques have always been the heart of villages in Qatar. The one in Simaisma, a town built in the 19th century by fishermen and pearl divers, dates back to 1938. It served as a place for prayer, but also a center for education. In front of the prayer room, a pavilion housed a “madrassa”: a school used to teach the Holy Quran to children. The prayer room stands on the west side of the courtyard. Before entering it, Muslims must perform a long sequence of body cleaning actions called “wudu,” or ablutions. Visitors of other religions are encouraged to do the same, as a form of intercultural respect and to learn one of the oldest Islamic traditions. Islamweb (link to the page where the movie is found) features a movie explaining this sequence of steps. Normally the ablutions take place in the “mothawaddah,” which is a pool filled with water from a spring or a well. At Simaisma mosque the “mothawaddah” is located at the southeast corner of the courtyard. After the “wudu,” the ablutions, worshipers and visitors may enter the prayer room. In front of the prayer room’s entrance is an “iwan,” or portico, with nine squared arcades overlooking the courtyard. The prayer room is a long, carpeted corridor discreetely lit by narrow windows. The “mehrab,” in front of the entrance, indicates the direction of the “Kaaba,” the Holy Stone at Mecca, Saudi Arabia. In this mosque, the “mehrab” consists of two arches, one of which houses a “minbar,” or podium. Normally the “imam,” who is responsible for leading prayer, stands facing the congregation in front of the “mehrab”. On Fridays, he usually gives a religious speech from the podium. In front of the prayer room, a pavilion houses a “madrassa,” which is a school used to teach the Holy Quran to children. The old Quranic school stands at the northeast corner of the “sahn,” or courtyard. No longer functioning as a school, the structure has been used most recently as a residence for the “muezzin,” who is responsible for the call to prayer. The pavilion consists of a small room cooled with “badjeer,” traditional Qatari air traps, instead of ordinary windows. This system features two parallel walls: one standing from the floor to halfway up and the second hanging halfway down from the ceiling. The walls overlap by 10 cm, with breathing room left between. Although this method shelters the room from external view, it allows wind to enter without bringing in sediment. When necessary, the space between the two wall panels can be closed with a wooden shutter. Besides the Quranic school, a steep staircase climbs up to the minaret, which was built on top of the school. The top of the minaret is shaped as a “khodha,” a traditional Arabian helmet. A few examples of this fascinating helmet can be found at the Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al-Thani Museum (object code: C002 and C02). The thick walls of the mosque, which help keep the mosque cool, were built by overlapping raw pieces of coral rock and limestone. The roof was finished with a layer of compressed mud, which further protects the mosque from the sun during the hot seasons. It is possible to see these building techniques in greater detail either through a visit to the fishermen’s villages in the northwest or by viewing the 3D model of the Qatari mosque. Aware of the importance of this traditional building, Qatari authorities took steps to preserve it in 1985 and 2004.
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Al-Jassasiya

Al-Jassasiya The Al-Jassasiya site is one of the most mysterious and attractive sites in Qatar. Northeast of Doha, it is one of the few places where you can find petroglyphs, which are collections of rare and amazing signs carved in stone. Carvings can be found at other sites, however those found at Al-Jassasiya are considered the most extraordinary in terms of both their quality and their state of preservation. An astounding 900 glyphs can be found at Al-Jassasiya. Shapes vary from geometric patterns to representations of animals and boats found on two parallel “jebels,” which are outcrops of fossil and sand dunes. Seventy-one daisy shaped patterns made up of nine small holes around a larger central hole also exist. Some believe they were used for a game called “ailah,” known as “umm al-judairah” in Kuwait and Bahrain. The most common outlines are double rows of seven to nine shapes that look like cups (333 in total, 193 with seven cups). These cups are believed to have been used for another game called “haloosa” or “huwaila”. It is known in West Africa as “mandala”. Similar carved rows dating back to the 15th century BC can be found in the temple of Karnak in Luxor, Egypt, and others dating back to the 5th century BC can be found in the same place. The total number of double rows and daisies, combined with the wide range of variations in the size of cups, casts doubt upon their use as game tables and suggests they are more likely to be symbolic representations carved by an old local culture still waiting to be researched. The most unusual carvings are those of thick-finned fish fossils, boats with numerous oars, scorpions walking on the rocks, donkeys and those depicting the outlines of turtles. In total, these carvings number more than 100. Mystery surrounds several deep holes that are connected by thin channels through which water can run. It is believed that these designs celebrated the rain, which is, of course, rare and precious in Qatar. There are also a few carvings that appear to be groups of stars connected by lines, representing constellations. A Danish archaeological mission studied the site in 1961 and at the beginning of the 1970s. Qatari authorities are currently consulting other experts for further interpretations. Many theories exist, but there is very little compelling evidence to determine the dates of origin of these fascinating carvings. Ruins of old settlements and dwellings containing local and foreign pottery dating back to the 15th century have been uncovered around the outcrops at Al-Jassasiya. Yet the carvings are believed by some to be much older. Others, however, point to the softness of the rocks on the outcrops, which can be eroded quite easily, suggesting that the carvings might be more recent. Petroglyphs can also be found at Al-Jassasiya, Al-Wakra, Simaisma, Fuwairit, Al-Ghariah, Freha, and Al-Jemail.
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SHEIKH FAISAL BIN QASSIM AL-THANI MUSEUM

Description This magnificent private collection was acceded to His Highness Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al-Thani by his father, Sheikh Qassim bin Faisal. Beginning its life in the 1960s, it has now grown in size and splendor and is now beautifully displayed at the museum for the public to enjoy. The sizeable 5,000 sqm building features more than 3,000 unique pieces, including ancient Islamic manuscripts, major archaeological findings, metal objects, textiles, carpets, embroidery and antique furniture. There is also a comprehensive and fascinating collection of historic cars, including a 19th century steam vehicle. The museum is about to launch a greatly-anticipated 12,000 sqm extension, showcasing an unprecedented collection of antique rugs and carpets originating from all over Arabia, from Morocco to Persia and the Caucasus. It will also hold a compelling narrative of the history of Islam, conveyed through the evolution of the region’s silver and gold coins which have been beautifully preserved and presented. In an expression of Qatar’s renowned respect for cultural diversity, the museum’s pavilions will also display religious objects from other faiths.
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AL-KOOT FORT

Description Deep in the heart of the city of Doha stands Al-Koot fort. Built in 1927 by Sheikh Abdullah bin Qassim Al-Thani, who governed Qatar between 1913 and 1949, the fort was created to protect the nearby Waqif souq from would-be thieves. The courtyard mosque is one of the massive fort’s most interesting features, mostly due to what it is missing: walls and a roof. Since the mosque was often used by prisoners, its plan had to be modified so guards could keep a watchful eye on them, even during prayers. Despite the lack of physical structure, the “mehrab” still faces the “Kaaba” in Mecca. Al-Koot fort has a square courtyard surrounded on all sides by a high wall. Circular towers are found in three corners and a rectangular one in the fourth. The towers are crowned with traditional Qatari-style battlements and triangular-based ledges with slits called machicolations that guards used to shoot at enemies. Around the courtyard, a number of doors lead to prison cells. One significantly larger door leads to a high-security, windowless cell that was reserved for the most dangerous criminals. The north and south sides of the fort have wide “iwan”, which are porticos overlooking the courtyard through square arcades. In the southern portico there is a deep well that was used as a water supply for cleaning. External stairs on the corners of the courtyard lead to the first floor which consists of a wide promenade. The walls are peppered with groups of gunfire holes, each one angled in a different direction so that soldiers could shoot at enemies attacking from any side.
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HOUSE OF NASSER BIN ABDULLAH AL-MISSNED

Description This house in Al-Khor is where Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned was born and raised. Her Highness is one of the most active contributors to the educational development and worldwide visibility of The State of Qatar. A high wall, embellished with Qatari-style battlements on its top, protects the house. These unique decorations evoke traditional incense burners or stylized leaves and flowers. The house was built by her father Nasser bin Abdullah in the early second half of the 20th century. Its layout follows the traditional Qatari model for private residences. The family’s domestic life took place in several pavilions built around the perimeter of a central courtyard. Each pavilion had a specific purpose, and there were separate rooms for women. The external wall and each unique pavilion provide an absorbing insight into the traditional Qatari building technique. The thick walls, which helped to isolate the heat and keep the house cool, were built by overlapping raw pieces of coral rock and limestone, joining them with mud mortar and covering them with gypsum-based plaster. The roofs of the pavilions are made up of four layers: The first is a series of “danchal” wood poles, often protected by bitumen. The second is a layer of “basgijl”, which are woven bamboo strips. A close net of mangrove branches makes up the third layer, and the roof is topped with compressed mud that serves to protect the house from the sun during the hot seasons. One of the most interesting features of this technique is the building of architraves with poles of “danchal” wood held together with rope. This increases the adherence of the mud mortar and plaster. A visit to the fishermen’s villages in the northwest as well as the 3D model of the Qatari mosque clearly shows the features of this building technique. Qatari authorities are currently developing a detailed master plan that will best preserve the site. It will then be handed over to the Qatari youth, so that the heritage of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned will be remembered for years to come.
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AL-WSEL

Description Human presence as far back as the Stone Age is suggested at the large archeological site in Al-Wsel. Consisting of a variety of dwellings, towers and burial sites, the ruins can be found by the sea on an outcrop 100 meters inland. Slabs extracted from sedimentary rocks and arranged into circles in the sand are the most fascinating element of this site. Current thinking suggests these configurations may have been used to mark graves. The circles are of varying sizes, perhaps indicating that larger groups used the larger stones. In 1956, a Danish archaeological expedition discovered a number of flint stone axes, arrows and spear tips that would suggest the groups who inhabited the site enjoyed a relatively sophisticated level of development. Archaeological evidence also suggests that their economy was based on seafood, and that they may have traded with other communities along the coast. Similar flint stone tools were uncovered along the northern and western shores of the state, demonstrating that Qatar was widely inhabited in ancient times. In 1991 and 1992, Qatari authorities collaborated with Japanese teams to carry out a K14 radiocarbon-based analysis. They determined a chronology of the site based on three phases of development. The first and oldest one is the Stone Age period (7th century BC), the second is very late 3rd century BC (2100 BC), and the third dates back to the 1st century BC.
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ABU MANARATAIN MOSQUE

Description A huge tree that looms over the building distinguishes the Abu Manaratain mosque from all other mosques in Qatar. Located in Al-Wakra, one of the oldest cities in the state, this mosque was constructed in 1940. In addition to the tree that rests as its close neighbor, this mosque has several other eccentricities. First is its name. “Manaratain” means “two minarets” yet the mosque only has one. This and other clues may indicate that the building had a different shape at some point in its past. A second peculiarity is that the rectangular area were the mosque is built lacks the high walls that are typical of Qatari mosques. The “mothawaddah,” which is where ablutions take place, is situated in the southern end of the courtyard. It consists of a small pool accessible by a staircase. This pool used to be filled with water from the well in the courtyard. It is at the “mothawaddah” that Muslims perform the “wudu,” which is a long sequence of body cleaning steps completed before entering the mosque for prayer. Islamweb (link to the web page where the movie is found) features a movie explaining the sequence of steps. At the north end of the courtyard stands a 10-meter-tall minaret, made up of a squared base and a cylinder-shaped structure. Inside it, a narrow spiral staircase allowed the “muezzin” to climb to the top where he could call people to prayer through four small arched windows. Next to the minaret, a small room housed the “imam,” who is the religious authority in charge of leading the prayers. A third unusual aspect of this mosque is the prayer room. Unlike other mosques in Qatar, it does not have the typical portico overlooking the courtyard. Inside, there is a very simple “mehrab” showing the direction of the “Kaaba,” which is the Holy Stone at Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The thick walls of the mosque, which helped to isolate the heat and keep the space cool, were built by overlapping raw pieces of coral rock and limestone. The roof was finished with a layer of compressed mud, which helped shield the mosque and those praying from the heat of the sun.
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Qatar National Museum

Description Take a glimpse into local history and traditional architectural styles at the Qatar National Museum. Housed in one of the former Al-Thani residences, the museum is a notable example of eastern Arabian architecture. Built in 1901 during the reign of Sheikh Adbullah bin Jassim Al-Thani, the home was transformed into a museum in the 1970s to display traditions and archaeological findings uncovered in Qatar. The three-year restoration was so meticulous that the museum won the first Agha Khan Award for Renovation Excellence. The palace consists of a number of “majlis,” used to receive guests, and individual pavilions linked with a beautiful garden and surrounded by high walls. Beyond the walls surrounding the palace and in the direction the Arabian Gulf lies a lagoon that was part of the sea until the Corniche was built. The lagoon will contain “dhows,” which are traditional wooden boats used for pearl diving and fishing. The museum’s lovely garden is highlighted by a reproduction of a traditional Bedouin tent. Authentically made from exquisite wool cloth, the tent is decorated with customary patterns and furnished with typical Qatari furniture. The main “majlis” offers a complete archaeological collection that reveals the history of Qatar’s first pioneering residents. Another pavilion features a display on the Qatari marine ecosystem, which was the way of life for Qataris before the discovery of oil. A special collection of the ruling family’s array of military decorations is displayed in its own pavilion. The location and access to the “majlis” rooms were carefully thought out to balance the welcoming character of Qataris with the privacy of their family. In the palace, the “majlis” can be accessed either by the courtyard or through a dedicated entrance near the lagoon where guests could be received at any time without disrupting the privacy of the family. The pavilions were constructed with the traditional Qatari technique of using thick walls to isolate the heat and keep the palace cool. A framed edifice of pillars and beams was carefully finished off with a layer of plaster. The pillars were constructed from coral rock blocks joined with mud mortar and covered by gypsum plaster. While the beams were reinforced with a layer of “danchal” wood poles bound tightly with ropes and covered with stones. A visit to the fishermen’s villages in the northwest as well as the 3D model of the Qatari mosque clearly shows the features of this building technique. Wooden windows and highly decorative panels would normally fill the space between pillars and beams of the palace. However, in some instances “badjeer,” or traditional Qatari air traps, were used to provide the house with a natural air conditioning system. The system is based on the construction of two parallel walls. One wall has an opening from the floor to halfway up the wall and the second has an opening from the ceiling to halfway down the wall. The walls overlap by 10 cm, leaving a bit of breathing room in between. Although this method shelters the room from the external view, it allows wind to enter the house without bringing in sediment. When necessary, the space between the two wall panels could be closed with a wooden shutter. The artistic use of wood throughout the palace adds to its architectural appeal. The ceilings of the “majlis” are covered by a wooden layer of slats that are artistically painted with bright colors and intricate geometric patterns. Charming decorative panels can be seen both inside and outside the rooms. “Farsh,” or coral rock slabs, were laid out on the building, covered with gypsum and patiently carved with a metal tool used for creating the “naqsh,” a typical elaborate symmetric pattern. Moreover, beside the old palace, the museum has an extension in a modern building, with sections on the geological origin and natural history of Qatar, exhibits of archaeology, Islamic art, sciences, traditional games, falconry, Bedouin life, and contemporary history. Currently, these sections are temporarily closed for restoration.
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Museum of Islamic Art

The Museum of Islamic Art will house a world class collection of Islamic objects and artifacts coming from Spain to India. In the 3,000 square meters exhibition area, visitors will enjoy collections of ceramics, metalwork, jewelry, woodwork, glass and artifacts of ivory and silk. This five floor building was designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei and will include a library, an auditorium, a restaurant, and a shop.
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Al-Areesh

FISHERMEN’S VILLAGES Description Several settlements in the northwest of Qatar give a glimpse of how difficult life outside of the main cities was before the discovery of oil. These small villages had economies based largely on fishery, and lacked facilities or road access. Three of the sites, Al-Areesh, Al-Khuwair and Al-Jemail, are completely abandoned today, yet still vividly tell the story of those who once called them home. All three settlements were built at the beginning of the 19th century and their names have intriguing origins. Al-Areesh comes from the Arabic “areesh,” meaning shelter made by date palm fronds, while Al-Kuwair comes from “kuwair,” meaning small seawater canal. These villages were first abandoned in 1937, but daily life resumed in 1945 and continued well into the 1970s when the residents once again picked up and left. Traditional Qatari mosques rest at the heart of the villages and are surrounded by a few old fishermen’s houses. This layout reflects how the social structure of Qatari communities was - and still is - centered around faith and religion. The mosques have a typical plan, fenced in by high walls and open to an internal courtyard. There is a “mothawaddah,” a separate room in the courtyard for the “wudu,” or ablutions. In one corner is a minaret, which is a circular shaft with a simple rounded top and a small arched door that opens to a narrow spiral staircase. On the top of the minaret, a small room opens to the surroundings with four little windows that were used by the “muezzin” to call people to pray. The prayer area of the mosques is split into two spaces: an “iwan,” or outer prayer room consisting of a portico overlooking the courtyard, and an indoor prayer area where the “mehrab” is directed towards the “Kaaba” at Mecca. Walls inside these mosques are often decorated with Quranic quotations, drawings made by fishermen and various other symbols. Visiting these villages gives an idea of the traditional Qatari building technique. The thick walls, which helped to isolate the heat and keep buildings cool, were built by overlapping raw pieces of coral rock and limestone, joining them with mud mortar and covering them with gypsum-based plaster. The roof is made of four layers. The first consists of a series of “danchal” wood poles, often protected by bitumen. The second is a layer of “basgijl,” which are woven bamboo strips. A close net of mangrove branches makes up the third layer, and the roof is then finished with a layer of compressed mud, which provided protection from the sun during the hot seasons. One of the most interesting features of this technique is the building of architraves using poles of “danchal” wood held together with a rope. This increases the adherence of the mud mortar and plaster.
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Al-Jemail

FISHERMEN’S VILLAGES Description Several settlements in the northwest of Qatar give a glimpse of how difficult life outside of the main cities was before the discovery of oil. These small villages had economies based largely on fishery, and lacked facilities or road access. Three of the sites, Al-Areesh, Al-Khuwair and Al-Jemail, are completely abandoned today, yet still vividly tell the story of those who once called them home. All three settlements were built at the beginning of the 19th century and their names have intriguing origins. Al-Areesh comes from the Arabic “areesh,” meaning shelter made by date palm fronds, while Al-Kuwair comes from “kuwair,” meaning small seawater canal. These villages were first abandoned in 1937, but daily life resumed in 1945 and continued well into the 1970s when the residents once again picked up and left. Traditional Qatari mosques rest at the heart of the villages and are surrounded by a few old fishermen’s houses. This layout reflects how the social structure of Qatari communities was - and still is - centered around faith and religion. The mosques have a typical plan, fenced in by high walls and open to an internal courtyard. There is a “mothawaddah,” a separate room in the courtyard for the “wudu,” or ablutions. In one corner is a minaret, which is a circular shaft with a simple rounded top and a small arched door that opens to a narrow spiral staircase. On the top of the minaret, a small room opens to the surroundings with four little windows that were used by the “muezzin” to call people to pray. The prayer area of the mosques is split into two spaces: an “iwan,” or outer prayer room consisting of a portico overlooking the courtyard, and an indoor prayer area where the “mehrab” is directed towards the “Kaaba” at Mecca. Walls inside these mosques are often decorated with Quranic quotations, drawings made by fishermen and various other symbols. Visiting these villages gives an idea of the traditional Qatari building technique. The thick walls, which helped to isolate the heat and keep buildings cool, were built by overlapping raw pieces of coral rock and limestone, joining them with mud mortar and covering them with gypsum-based plaster. The roof is made of four layers. The first consists of a series of “danchal” wood poles, often protected by bitumen. The second is a layer of “basgijl,” which are woven bamboo strips. A close net of mangrove branches makes up the third layer, and the roof is then finished with a layer of compressed mud, which provided protection from the sun during the hot seasons. One of the most interesting features of this technique is the building of architraves using poles of “danchal” wood held together with a rope. This increases the adherence of the mud mortar and plaster.
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Barzan Towers

Stretching into the Arabian sky, the Barzan towers loom above the surrounding landscape and provide the perfect place to gaze out to sea. They have been used as a platform to keep a watchful eye on pearl divers, as a look-out for approaching ships and as an observatory to scrutinise the moon’s phases. The name Barzan comes from the Arabic for “high place,” quite appropriate for towers measuring 16 meters in height. Built in 1910 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Jassim Al-Thani, they are located at the southern side of the defensive system established in the late 19th/early 20th century to protect the “raudah,” the valley where precious rainwater collects from adjacent higher ground. They link with two other fortified buildings towards the west and another tower towards the north. Keeping track of the moon was essential. The “Hejry” calendar which is used in Islamic countries is based on the moon’s phases, with each month starting when the crescent appears after the new moon. Ramadan is the most important of these months, marking the time when the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon Him). To ensure accuracy, two observers would climb to the top of the towers, viewing the new moon and agreeing when the crescent appeared. The towers were built for strength. The walls are one meter thick at the base and further strengthened by buttresses. These were constructed as cones in one tower and as massive staircases in the other. Besides the two Barzan towers there is a “majlis,” a room to receive guests, built as an L- shaped pavilion with small windows for ventilation. Moreover, there is a mosque containing a simple prayer room which was also used as a “madrassa,” a school for teaching the Holy Quran to children. On the top of the “majlis,” and the mosque, traditional “marazims” protect the walls’ surfaces. These wooden channels stretch out from the roof to drain rainwater away during the desert’s rare but heavy storms. The pavilion provides an excellent example of traditional Qatari building methods and techniques. Thick walls helped to keep the buildings cool. They were constructed by first overlapping raw pieces of coral-rock with limestone and cementing the two with mud mortar. Once dry, this was subsequently covered with a gypsum-based plaster. The roof was built in four layers, starting with a series of “danchal” wood poles. These were sometimes painted with bitumen for protection. The “danchal” wood poles were then covered by a layer of “basgijl,” woven bamboo strips. A closely constructed net of mangrove branches was added followed by a layer of compressed mud to protect the buildings from the sun during the hot seasons. Another interesting feature of this technique is the use of poles of “danchal” wood held together with a rope in the construction of architraves. This increased the adherence of the mud mortar and plaster.
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2009 01 - Qnorth-20090101 - 01 - Barzan Towers


 
 
Date : 01/01/2009 13:06:51

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Date : 01/01/2009 13:20:36

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2009 01 - Qnorth-20090101-103-


 
 
Date : 01/01/2009 13:19:27

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