Mohammed Bin Jassim House: Designing the Future City

Left side of Mohammed Bin Jassim House.

Museum Staff : “Hello, how many part of museums which you have visited, Sir?”

Me : “Just two….Company House and Bin Jelmood House, Ms”.

Museum Staff : “Oh, you’re on the right step. Now you are in Mohammed Bin Jassim House. It will tell you about old Msheireb and the modern one”.

Me: “Sounds pretty good”.

Museum Staff : “Is that your own camera? Are you professional? “

Me: “Yes, my camera. I’m a travel blogger. Is it okay to bring inside?”

Museum Staff : “Oh sure. Enjoy your visitation, Sir”.

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This gallery was dedicated to Msheireb natives. Collections depicted everyday life in Msheireb that can be remembered by Qatari youth as well as foreign workers working in the oil-rich country.

Clay as a building material of old building.

In the early days of Qatari civilization, people used desert to raise livestock, but over time they created a special area for housing. History began when residents from Al-Jassra established a settlement in Msheireb. The construction of their houses initially used stone and clay before introducing gypsum and bricks.

Religious Events and Celebrations Session

Past dining utensils.

In the early days of Msheireb, residents often celebrated religious holidays, such as Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. Festivals were held to celebrate it, restaurants would be open until well past midnight and houses would open their doors.

Residents used drums to wake people up for sahur in the morning and used them to sing religious music at night. Then, Eid was determined by the crescent moon seen in Saudi Arabia. At that time Saudi Arabia did not have radio and television broadcasts. News would be obtained by Qatari citizens from Bahrain.

During Eid, residents will dance Tanbora, Laywa, Fajery, and Haban. There were so many traditional dances at that time.

Electricity” Session

Street signage and some mid-1950s electrical equipment.

Doha’s first electric generator was installed at the Company House in the late 1930s. Then in the mid-1950s, a power station was built in the city and underground power lines began to be laid. The path which was through by underground cable line was then given the name Al-Kahraba Street (“Al-Kahraba” itself means “electricity”).

Then Al-Kahraba Street was bustling with shops selling electric tools.

It was said that Doha citizens neatly sat in their chairs when their Emir Sheikh Salman cut a pipe to inaugurate their first power plant.

Al-Kahraba Street was Qatar lifeblood. Throughout the day and night during Ramadan month, the street was fully light. And Al-Rayyan people came here just to see the street.

It was narrated by a resident named Hassan Rasheed that the first television he bought came from Al-Kahraba street with the brand “Andrea”, it was shaped like a small cupboard, the cupboard had to be opened first to see the screen.

Shopping and Eating” Session

Shops signage and other service businesses, including the equipment which was used.

Between 1950-1990, the Msheireb District flourished and was teeming with commercial buildings. Many new and first-time businesses appeared there such as the first hotel, the first bank, the first pharmacy, the first coffee shop and the first cold drink place. Residents could buy supplies and equipment, television, saris and shoes here. Tailors, barbershops, opticians, butchers, doctors, dentists, chicken shops and cafes greatly contributed to enliven Msheireb.

A resident said that the streets of Msheireb were very lively, there was the Al-Nasr Fountain, a pharmacy owned by Hussain Al-Kazim, Lebanese shops and restaurants, the Al-Tilmeethe library and bookstore owned by Abdullah Naima. At the corner of street there was a tailor who specializes in suits. The first bank in Doha was The Ottoman Bank and the main landmark at that time was The Bismillah Hotel.

Resident Abdullatif Al-Nadaf said: “If you need something that isn’t in Doha then you will find it on Al-Kahraba Street”.

Schools, Healthcare and Security” Session

School learning equipment and medical equipment.

To ensure Qatari children could contribute to the development of Qatar’s oil industry and the nation’s economic growth, in September 1947 the first modern school named Al Islah Al Mohamadia was established. The Bin Jelmood House was used as a Qatar police station in the 1950s. The legendary hospital in Qatar was Rumaillah Hospotal which had been in operation since 1956, opened with 200 beds with ambulance services and outpatient facilities.

Msheireb Downtown Doha” Session

Modern design at MDD.

Next, a session on Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD) was described as a Sustainable City Regeneration Project in the Msheireb Region.

Under the leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Msheireb Properties which was a subsidiary of Qatar Foundation was building urban districts where Qatari citizens and expatriates would live, work and socialize.

In this MDD session we would learn how patrons, planners, architects and engineers carefully reinterpreted Msheireb’s original architecture, sustainable construction with community traditions, commercialization and innovation to create a modern area but still firmly rooted in history and created a sense of place.

Old Msheireb was very popular with business activities. Shops and restaurants were built along the main road. Making this district a popular place to live and for anyone to visited. Since the first shops opened in the early 1950s, Doha had played an important role, not only for Qatar’s economic growth but even for the global economy. Doha was currently a promising business destination and tourist destination for travelers around the world. And Msheireb Downtown Doha would play an important role in maintaining the city’s commercial prominence.

At the southern end of Al-Kahraba Street had become a new business district with offices, banks, restaurants and cafes. And within this business district, Doha Metro would take passengers to West Bay and Hamad International Airport.

It was estimated that when the Msheireb Downtown Doha development project was completed, more than 2,000 residents would occupy an area of ​​31 hectares. Residents would mingle with thousands of workers, commercial consumers and tourists.

Although the scale of MDD was very broad, it would evoke the intimacy of Old Msheireb. The pedestrian path would be drectly connected to Souq Waqif. The entire MDD would be connected to a network of underground roads and underground parking which would make the street area very friendly-pedestrian.

MDD’s tradition of innovation also provided solutions to Old Msheireb’s three challenges, namely traffic congestion, waste management and water conservation. MDD would have 12,000 underground parking slots which would clear congestion and create a pedestrian-friendly environment. The state-of-the-art waste disposal system would recycle waste from the source and would be disposed of via underground pipes. Around six million liters of recycled water would be used daily to flush toilets, irrigate crops, and would cool buildings in MDD.

Corridor at Mohammed Bin Jassim House.

The same innovation would produce hot water and electricity through thousands of solar cells installed on each building’s roof.

There were seven steps that make buildings at MDD unique:

1. The continuity of the past, present and future through timeless urban design motifs.

2. Harmony and diversity through architectural language which was accepted by all.

3. Informal setting of buildings reflecting the original view of Msheireb

4. A living environment which provided privacy, security, indoor and outdoor areas, a family spirit and community care.

5. Creating a vibrant street life that could make pedestrians comfortable and provided shaded spaces.

6. Maximum comfort with minimum energy consumption through traditional and modern technology by utilizing energy and conserving natural resources.

7. The sustainability of Qatari design through a new architectural language that connected with past designs.

The design and layout of old Msheireb buildings respected the environment by minimizing the effects of the sun, maximizing ventilation and using local materials. These traditional practices were still being implemented in the development of MDD. The design and layout of MDD were made by utilizing the sun’s shade and the coastal breeze. Construction materials were taken from local sources. Renewable energy utilized solar panels on the roof of the building. Clean water would be saved by efficient use of every faucet and shower. The recycled water would be used for irrigation and other purposes.

MDD would reduce people’s dependence on vehicles. For example, this district would be friendly to pedestrians, it would be easy, safe and comfortable when walking from one place to another in the shade of trees and interspersed with parks. The district would provide routes for cyclists and buses. Doha Metro would connect Msheireb with other regions. Centralized waste recycling would eliminate the need for garbage trucks entering the city.

Company House: The Beginning of Qatar’s Economic Success

Msheireb Downtown Doha Complex.

It turned out that not only me, all tourists were confused to find the entrance. That was what a male staff who came out to called me and directed me to entering the museum.

Welcome to Msheireb Museum, you should know that this museum consists of four parts. They are Company House which you are currently visiting. In west of this building is Bin Jelmood House, while in east there is Radwani House. Another one, across that street (pointing at Bin Jalmood Street), is Mohammed Bin Jassim House. To make it easier for understanding all stories inside the museum, please install the Msheireb Museums application. You can be guided by this application. Please write your identity in the guest book, and welcome to Msheireb Museums,  his memorization was smoothly conveyed.

“Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir. Where are you come from, sir?”, I briefly answered and then asked.

“Bangladesh”, he answered with a smile.

Yes, the learning began…..

If you want to know about….

How did Qatar’s economy rise from adversity……and how did they struggle to find oil……

This is where it is.

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So in the final episode of my adventure in Qatar, the content of this article will be very serious. Let’s learn about Qatar history!.

The history is begin……

First time, at the entrance of museum was the logo of a well-known oil company indicating that the establishment and financing of this museum was sponsored by Qatar Shell.

After passing the reception desk, it was explained in an article that this building was the home of Hussain Al-Naama, manager of Doha Port, built in 1920, then leased by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (a British company which holding an exclusive contract for oil exploration at Qatar) on 1935 and was used as its headquarters for two decades. Once upon a time, the search and exploration of Qatar’s oil started from this house.

This was the truck used to transport workers to the oil fields at west of Qatar.

It was said that these workers would back home one time in a month to received their salaries, then were allowed to back to their homes in just one day to meet their families, after that, they had to return to the oil fields to work. This museum was dedicated to these pioneers who interpret endurance, sacrifice and commitment to build Qatar.

Qatar’s oil industry journey was structurely explained with former oil pipelines.

Dating back to the 1920s, when Qatar was a country that depended on trade, fisheries and pearl fishing. And this country was already on the verge of economic collapse due to the First World War, the Great Depression of 1929 and ever since pearls have been cultivated in Japan.

The pipe was so original….I’m fascinated.

You needed to know that catching pearls was a risky job. In 1929, there was a hurricane that sank 80% of ships in Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar. This storm killed five thousand people.

Entering the 1940s, when the Second World War broke out, Qatar’s oil exploration efforts had stalled. This made all Qataris hopeless again, so they have thought of going back to sea and looking for pearls.

Luckily in 1946, a year after the end of Second World War, the British returned to Qatar to continue exploration. When they arrived, when was the tanker unable to dock in Zikrit Waters because it was shallow. So a new export terminal was built in Umm Said, south of Doha. Then continued with the construction of oil pipelines from Umm Said to Dukhan. The relentless effort finally made Qatar successful in exporting its first oil on December 31, 1949. In subsequent developments, oil production in Qatar sharply increased from what was originally under 50,000 Barrel/day in 1949 to more than 2,000,000 Barrel/day in 2010….Wow, that was cool.

The next important chapter, Qatar gained independence from Britain on September 3, 1971. Three years later, the Qatar General Petroleum Company was formed. And in 1977, Qatar General Petroleum Company and Shell Qatar Ltd. was nationalized to become Qatar Petroleum, so that since then oil and gas were fully controlled by the state.

Qatar was a lucky country. Shortly after independence, a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) field was discovered in the north of its territory. To explore this, the Qatar Gas Company was founded in 1984 and their first LNG export took place in 1996 to Japan.

Video room….Seeing the dedication of the pioneers in developing the country’s oil so that Qatar experienced rapid economic progress.
Biston power generator from England….This was the first electric generator in Qatar.

In the back room of the Company House, there was a room entitled “Open Storage” which displayed some of the equipment used by the oil company workers in the early days of its operation. There were tennis rackets, hockey sticks, rugby balls, radios, vehicle wheels, food baskets, typewriters, packaged pineapples with the “Marvel” brand and soft drinks with the “Namlite” brand.

Classic typewriter brand “ROYAL”.
Packaged pineapple fruit with the brand “Marvel”.

In the back room, a room entitled “The Courtyard: Life as a Worker” was designed, in which several white sculptures were built which visualize Qataris working for a British oil company.

Illustration of oil workers at that time.

Walking towards the exit, there was an “Interview” room where the Msheireb Museum team interviewed Qatari pioneers to collect useful information as references, research materials and exhibition materials in this museum.

Sofa in the interview room.
This was a full reference in Arabic…. Hahaha.

There was also a “Share Your Story” booth that displayed testimonials from pioneer family members about their hard work and life when they were employees of the oil company.

In the same room there was also a “Contemporary Voices” booth. This three-sided screen described the stories of pioneers in a documentary.

Sat back and listened to the stories of pioneer families….So touching.
Or watch the documentary of pioneers themselves….Goosebumps when watching it.

And at the end of museum, several profiles of pioneer oil workers awere displayed in the “Pioneers’ Stories” room. It was narrated that Muhammad bin Muhammad Muftah who worked as a telephone receiver and driver, Jasim bin Qroun as a rigger, Bu Abbas who was in charge of driving an international standard truck to carry geologists, Thamir Muftah who was in charge of handling electricity affairs, Jassim bin Muhammad Jaber Al- Naameh in charge of handling the generator, Ibrahim bin Saleh Bu Matar Al-Muhannadi who served as a houseboy, and finally Mansour bin Khalil Al-Hajiri who became the first employee at an oil company and served as a guide, because he was a person who understood everything very well. Qatar region and able to find the place you were looking for even in the dark or fog.

I slowly read each of their heroic stories.
Mr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Hitmi, firefighter at Qatar Petroleum Production Authority.

Finished exploring the Company House, I exited at back door. I had a chance to stop at Empirecof, a small coffee shop located in the courtyard of this museum.

Yuk nge-latte dulu….

After having coffee, I took the time to eat my lunch in the Company House yard. In this park there was a free water station which could be used to drink for free…. Wow, Qatar.

“Where is the museum gate, Sir?”, was the question which tourists often ask me during a break in the park.

My visit to the Company House was really over, it was time for me to head to another part of Msheireb Museum.

Come on, follow me again….

Souq Waqif….Biggest and Oldest

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Passing through gate number four, I returned out on the streets after exploring City Souq. The two-story office of an independent Qatari agency was the first building I passed. Five large Qatari flags can be seen displaying in headquarters of Central Municipal Council.

I turned left as soon as I passed Abdullah Bin Jassim Street. Two hundred meters later, I passed a four-story building which became the center of Islamic development in Qatar, namely Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zaid Al Mahmood Islamic Cultural Center. There was a black ontel bicycle leaning in a pole in front of it. Classic, just looked like an atmosphere in Europe.

Then began to see a wide and hot courtyard from a distance, located right at southwest corner of large intersection formed by an intersection of Banks Street and Abdullah Bin Jassim Street. A row of seven three-colored benches was accupied by three middle-aged men who seemed to be enjoying situation.

That Sunday afternoon, Souq Waqif which I visited to from east gate still looked deserted. I walked down corridor after corridor of the market. The floor was dark andesite, the walls weren’t smooth with beige color and at its top was laid whole long wood as a support for roof structure which was deliberately made flat.

The courtyard of east side of Souq Waqif.

I passed merchandise stalls which still closed, I myself didn’t know about type of hidden merchandises. I slightly opened a cover corner and I found the answer….It was spices.

When I arrived at market area which was slightly protruding into the middle, I found a block that sold animals, feed which had been packaged in large plastic uniform sizes, along with their cages. The area for selling animals was no longer covered in roofs, the hot sky was directly visible overhead.

Thank you “RICH” for being a partner on this trip.
Blocks for selling animals such as birds and rabbits.

SementarMeanwhile, some old men of simple shop owners were busy in preparing their stalls which have been equipped with refrigerators with well-known beverage brands. I still couldn’t imagine what this shop looked like when it was crowded. I just guessed it was a middle class tavern.

Still quiet….They got ready.

The slip of the sun prevented me from exploring the entire market. I have completed my exploration of eastern part. The western part?….Never mind, there was still time tomorrow. I suddenly created a travel option of my own. Left Souq Waqif soon and wanted to get relax in Doha Corniche until late afternoon. The Pearl Monument was the next destination.

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This was the single largest ancient traditional market in all of Qatar. Al Souq was a district which was lucky to have this market. It stood at the end of 18th century on the banks of Wadi Msheireb. Wadi itself refers to dry river paths which only fill with water when it rains heavily. A funny experience related to Wadi was when I visited Qatar’s neighboring country, Bahrain. It was so dry, the wadi there was usually used by residents to play cricket…. Funny wasn’t it.

Three days passed, made me miss Souq Waqif again.

Wednesday morning, I finally couldn’t stem my longing. I now entered it from its west side which looked more elegant because this side was bordered by Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD), a subtitutor city of Mushayrib District whose development was planned in detail.

West side courtyard.

I agreed….Especially when I heared the jargon that Souq Waqif is home to many restaurants and shisha lounges. That afternoon, I entered its west side to a welcome row of European-style restaurants along open corridors.

Restaurant.

This side was a place for Qatari citizens and tourists to just hang out, enjoying coffee and smoking sisha. It was said to be crowded on Thursday nights. As was custom in Middle East region, which made Friday night as the start of their weekend to welcome the next day’s holiday.

Souq Waqif had never changed the shape of its Qatari architecture.

Waqif means standing. Because during the pioneering period, not a single stall was built. This was due to the overflow of sea water from Doha coast which inundated the market. Even at the beginning of its establishment, the nomadic Bedouin Arab community and local residents met and transacted in this place. Buyers would come by boat or on camels to get around the inundation and sellers would stand around all day offering their wares.

Oh, the beauty of Souq Waqif.

As you entered the central area, situation of the market became very lively. Now I found an area which selling souvenirs. Watches, fridge magnets, key chains, wallets and other types of souvenirs were widely marketed in this area.

Souvenir corridor.

Then out of the market through its south side, I found an area which selling dallah, shisha tubes in various shapes and sizes and various types of handicrafts

Handicrafts area.

Economic development of Qatar which had skyrocketed since discovering oil had a positive impact on this market condition. In 2006. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, renovated Souq Waqif as a world economic and tourism center. It was said that the Emir brought wood and bamboo which imported from several Asian countries for this major renovation activity.

So, what are you waiting for….Let’s go to Qatar….Hihihi.

Next Story—->

26 Tourist Attractions in Doha, Qatar

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Maybe, a person who was influencing me to go to Qatar was Valentino Rossi. Yes….The living legend of premium iron horse racing had indirectly influenced me to visit Losail International Circuit through television screen for a long time. During the years of watching MotoGP that too, the intention to visiting Qatar began to disturb my sleep at night.

That dream had became a beautiful reality when for five days I was able to explore Qatar in early 2020. Now is the time for me to tell you about its beauty. Here are a few of the memories which I got in the country which rich in “black gold”:

1. Hamad International Airport

It can be said that Hamad International Airport (HIA) is a perfector to Qatar’s tourism gateway. Since seven years ago, HIA had succeeded in replacing the role of Doha International Airport. You need to know that naming of this airport is taken from the name of Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

That sunny morning, I agreed with the splendor of this airport which was located on the shores of Persian Gulf. This is the airport which holds an asset of “Yellow Bear” worth 6.7 million US Dollar…Wowww.

2. Karwa Bus

As a person who adhered to backpacker ethic codes, I was only faced with two choices to get to downtown…..Train or bus?. That time, bus was my first choice.

Haven’t seen and boarded it yet, I already imagined that I would ride a modern-looking city bus when I left the airport.

Doha city buses are known as Karwa Buses and require a KARWA Smart Card to ride them. All Doha city buses are operated by the state transport company “Mowasalat”. The average one-way fare is also very affordable, which is around 2.5 Qatari Riyal.

3. Al Ghanim Bus Station

After checking in at Casper Hotel and putting all my equipments down, I started exploring Doha. The first place which I traced was Al Ghanim Bus Station as final destination for Karwa Bus number 12 which picked me up from hotel.

Located in Municipality Ad Dawhah, Al Ghanim Bus Station is an important landmark. This bus terminal certainly covers most of Karwa Bus routes in Qatar. Al Ghanim Bus Station takes on the role of a central terminal in Qatar as well as being the headquarters of Mowasalat. If you intend to explore Qatar tourism by bus, surely you will often visit this terminal.

4. Abdul Aziz Nasser Theater

This is a performance space for multidisciplinary arts which supports local and international artists. Located in Doha downtown with a capacity of almost a thousand seats. Even to facilitate the implementation of large events, this theater is directly connected to Al Mirqab Hotel which is located right on its west side.

5. Al Fanar Mosque

I visited this mosque after exploring Al Ghanim Bus Station. The location is only a kilometer in north of terminal. Al Fanar is a Qatar Islamic Cultural Center better known as Al Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zaid Al-Mahmood Islamic Cultural Center. Apart from introducing Qatari culture through Islam, the Fanar Cultural Center also organizes social and educational activities.

6. Souq Faleh

Souq Faleh and Al Fanar Masque are only separated by Al Tarbiya Street. It’s one of many old markets in Doha. If you are an Abaya lover, then this market is right place to hunt it, because the price which is offered is relatively cheaper than other markets.

7. Domes Mosque

While I was busy in visiting Souq Faleh, suddenly I heared the call to Dzuhur prayer. It seemed that I should end my exploration for a moment and heading to an old mosque in southeast. This mosque with many domes and pillars still proudly stands in the middle of modern city. The Dzuhur prayer was filled with worshipers who came from all over. And it was my first congregational prayer in Doha.

8. City Souq

Adjacent to Al Fanar Mosque in east, right at a corner of the intersection of Al Tarbiya Street and Al Bareed Street, is a modern shopping mall with a seven-story which then looks to dwarf the Central Municipal Center building in opposite. I entered it just to hunt for a fridge magnet and then took some photos of situation inside.

Known as City Souq, this mall provides clothes, garments, shoes, perfumes, children’s toys, stationery, blankets and abayas. Practice haggling before shopping at this place !.

9. Souq Waqif

More than two centuries old, doesn’t make Souq Waqif change its architectural form. Being the only ancient traditional market in all of Qatar.

Waqif means standing. Because during pioneering period, not a single stall was built. This was due to overflow of sea water from Doha coast which inundated market. Even at the beginning, buyers would come by boat or ride camels to get around inundation and sellers would stand around all day offering their goods.

10. The Pearl Monument

Leaving Souq Waqif for a moment for me to revisit on next day, I targeted The Pearl Monument at across of Al Corniche Street which provided underground crossing facility under it. I think, not only travelers, even all Qatari citizens should be obliged to visit this monument which in the form of gaping pearl shells. Through this monument, all visitors should know that prior to 1939, era before oil discovery in their earth belly, Qatar was a poor country whose income which was depended on catching pearl shells in Persian Gulf.

11. Corniche Promenade

Visiting The Pearl Monument made me happy beyond measure, in addition to exploring Qatar history, my eyes were spoiled by beautiful view of Doha Corniche. The seven-kilometer long promenade reveals the arch of Doha Bay which was crammed with skyscrapers at the end. Meanwhile, distribution of traditional dhow boats which are quietly anchored along the bay becomes a natural interior which makes situation more charming.

12. Museum of Islamic Art

Right at the eastern end of Doha Corniche, there is building which is erected like floating on the shores of sea. It’s the Museum of Islamic Art which exhibits the richness of Islamic culture from three continents which is more than 1,400 years old. This is Qatar’s flagship museum which is founded by the sister of their Emir, H. E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The existence of this museum has ordained Qatar as the cultural capital of Middle East region.

13. MIA Park

MIA in this park name stands for Museum of Islamic Art. As name implies, before visiting it, everyone can be sure to understand that this park is located right in front of Museum of Islamic Art. The park is often be the official state venue for national holiday celebrations, besides that, this park is often used as a venue for musical performances, bazaar activities or other regular concerts. Meanwhile, specifically on Tuesdays and starting at 17:00 hours, this park becomes a special public area for women who are usually led by personal trainers in cardio and fitness training.

14. Doha Hop On Hop Off Bus

For those of you who don’t want to bother exploring Doha. Qatar Tourism provides Hop On-Hop Off Sightseeing Tour. So you just sit down from the top of this bus and will be delivered to several tourist destinations in Doha. This bus spans thirty minutes in operation. Passing through Qatar’s main tourist destinations, namely Souq Waqif, Katara Cultural Village, The Pearl Qatar and the Museum of Islamic Art. To pamper travelers, this bus also stops at Marriott Hotel, Sharq Village and Spa, Sheraton and Hilton Hotel.

15. West Bay

Day Two….The air was very windy and cold of course. Boarding Karwa Bus number 12 and continuing with number 64, I headed for West Bay. The skyscraper complex seemed to be waving at me when I looked at it from the other side of Doha Corniche yesterday afternoon.

Now I was right in the middle of this business area on east coast of Doha. An area that covers three districts at once, namely Al Qassar, Al Dafna and West Bay Lagoon. Finally up close, I could enjoy the Burj Doha, the most iconic building in Qatar.

16. City Center Doha

Tracing every inch in Wes Bay streets, I came to one of the oldest shopping malls in Qatar. City Center Doha which is located in the business center but is targeted to serve customers from the middle economy class. Located right in the middle of West Bay area, this shopping mall is directly connected to three luxury hotels, namely Shangri La Hotel, Rotana Hotel and Merweb Hotel.

17. Doha Metro

For the first time I ride Doha Metro. Qatar’s newest mass transportation system which has been in operation since last year. The three-line MRT (Red Line, Green Line and Gold Line) owned by Hamad Group is ordained as the fastest driverless train in the world with a cruising speed of 100 km/hour.

This time, I enjoyed its luxurious facilities from DECC Station (Doha Exhibition & Convention Center) in Wet Bay to Katara Station which is the access to visit Katara Cultural Village.

18. Katara Cultural Village

Doha Metro dropped me off at Katara station. It only took a half kilometer walk to reach Katara Cultural Village, a cultural center in Qatar. Located on east coast between West Bay and The Pearl, this cultural village dates back ten years.

Katara itself was the name for Qatar before 18th century. The word “Catara” in the first century AD was pinned to naming Qatar Peninsula which is located in south of Persian Gulf.

19. Aspire Park

My third day of exploration in Qatar I started a little bit late. Waiting for the sun to rise, because I would play in an open area, namely Aspire Park. The name of this park is taken from the name of an area, namely Aspire Zone which is the well-known name of Doha Sports City in Baaya District.

Karwa Bus number 301 dropped me off at Villaggio Shelter Bus at exactly 11:44 am. I walked to the park which is located in the west of Qatar. Aspire Park is a beautiful and spacious park which is equipped with a playground, fountains, several coffee shops and even the only artificial lake in Qatar.

20. The Torch Doha

Still in Aspire Zone Complex, stepping a little to east, I was right under a 300 meter high hotel. Often referred to as Aspire Tower, although its official name is The Torch Doha.

The work of an architectural consultant from France, this building is currently the tallest building in Doha. This 36-floors hotel has contributed to Qatar as a focal point for the 15th Asian Games.

21. Khalifa International Stadium

Khalifa International Stadium is right next to The Torch Doha. Often called by the name National Stadium. Like their magnificent airport, this football arena also bears name of the Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. This is the official home of Qatar national football team with forty thousand seating capacity.

Owned by Qatar Football Association, this stadium was the witness where Australia was overthrown by “the blue samurai squad” with Tadanari Lee’s only goal in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup final.

22. Villaggio Mall

My visit to Doha Sports City, ended by entering Villaggio Mall. This mall in the outskirts of Al Waab Street was developed by Gondolania Entertainment, therefore the concept of gondola tourism in Venice was adopted in this one-story shopping center.

Designed in it’s 150 meter long indoor canal complete with gondola boat, reminds me when I visited The Venetian in Macau 4 years ago.

The main retailer at Villaggio Mall is Carrefour, but this shopping center also accommodates 200 stores selling well-known brands from America, England, Italy and Germany. Come on, those who like shopping, please stop by here!

23. Al Koot Fort

The fourth day, I intend to explore the MDD (Mshreib Downtown Doha) area, which is a replacement city for Mushayrib District whose its development is planned in detail.

But before entering MDD area, I took time to stop at the 93-year-old Al Koot Fort. It was the services of fourth Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani who built this fort with the aim of protecting Souq Waqif from notorious band of thieves at that time.

After stopping at Al Koot Fort or Doha Fort, then I stepped into the MDD area. Let’s see what’s in MDD?

24. Msheireb Museum

The main tourist spot which I visited in Mshreib Downtown Doha was Msheireb Museum which was developed by Msheireb Properties (Qatar National Real Estate Developer). I diligently traced four historic heritage homes which make up the main part of Msheireb Museum. Namely Bin Jelmood House which reveals the history of slave trade in that country, Company House which reveals the story of pioneers of Qatar’s oil industry workers, Mohammed Bin Jassim House which is a house built by son of the founder of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Jassim Al Thani and Radwani House which is a duplication of original Qatari house model.

If you go to Qatar, you have to come here…. Free ticket anyway.

25. Msheireb Tram

Riding the Msheireb Tram is an easy way to experience the beauty of MDD. This mass transportation was launched by Msheireb Properties with a two kilometer long loop track and is able to connect every spot on MDD in just eighteen minutes.

You have to feel the comfort of an American-made electric tram that uses a filtering glass panel which is said to be able to prevent sunlight from entering the tram cabin by up to 90%.

26. Doha Free Metrolink

Before leaving Qatar, on the last day I tried to try out Doha Metrolink which is a feeder bus network to connect anyone with Doha Metro Station within a radius of two to five kilometers.

There is no charge for using this feeder bus service. The Qatari government provides forty-two Doha Free Metrolink lines that operate from six in the morning to eleven at night.

If you want to travel cheaply in Qatar, look for a hotel which is passed by this bus route. Especially if the hotel is a bit far from the downtown, it will definitely save your pocket more…. Hihihi.

Hopefully this COVID-19 pandemic will end soon and you can immediately travel to Qatar….Amen.

Next Story—->

Mohammed Bin Jassim House: Merancang Kota Masa Depan

Sisi samping kiri Mohammed Bin Jassim House.

Staff Museum   :     “Hello, how many part of museums which you have visited, Sir?

AKu                       :     “Just two….Company House and Bin Jelmood House, Ms”.

Staff Museum   :     “Oh, you on right step. Now you are in Mohammed Bin Jassim House. It will tell you about old Msheireb and the modern one”.

Aku                        :     “Sounds pretty good”.

Staff Museum   :     “Is that your own camera? Are you professional?

Aku                        :     “Yes, my camera. I’m a travel blogger. Is it okay to bring inside?

Staff Museum   :     “Oh sure. Enjoy your visitation, Sir”.

—-****—-

Galeri ini didedikasikan untuk warga asli Msheireb. Koleksi di dalamnya menggambarkan kehidupan sehari-hari di Msheireb yang bisa dikenang oleh generasi muda Qatar dan juga para pekerja asing yang bekerja di negeri kaya minyak itu.

Tanah liat sebagai bahan konstruksi bangunan tempoe doeloe.

Pada masa awal peradaban Qatar, penduduk menggunakan gurun untuk beternak, tetapi lama kelamaan mereka membuat area khusus untuk perumahan. Sejarah dimulaiketika penduduk asal Al-Jassra mendirikan pemukiman di Msheireb. Konstruksi rumah mereka pada awalnya menggunakan batu dan tanah liat sebelum mengenal gypsum dan batu bata.

Sesi “Religious Events and Celebrations

Peralatan rumah makan masa lalu.

Pada masa awal Msheireb, penduduk sering merayakan hari raya keagamaan, seperti Ramadhan dan Hari Raya Idul Fitri. Festival diselenggarakan untuk memeriahkannya, restoran akan dibuka hingga lewat tengah malam dan rumah-rumah akan membuka pintunya.

Penduduk menggunakan drum untuk membangunkan masyarakat menjalankan sahur di pagi hari dan menggunakannya untuk bernyanyi musik religi di malam hari. Lalu, Idul Fitri ditetapkan dengan bulan sabit yang terlihat di Saudi Arabia. Saat itu Saudi Arabia belum memiliki siaran radio dan televeisi. Berita akan didapat warga Qatar dari Bahrain.

Saat Idul Fitri , warga akan menari Tanbora, Laywa, Fajery, dan Haban. Banyak sekali tarian tradisional kala itu.

Sesi  “Electricity

Papan nama jalan dan beberapa peralatan listrik pertengahan 1950-an.

Generator listrik pertama Doha di pasang di Company House pada akhir 1930-an. Lalu pada pertengahan 1950-an, pembangkit listrik dibangun di kota dan kabel listrik bawah tanah mulai dipasang. Jalur yang di lewati oleh kabel bawah tanah ini kemudian diberi nama Al-Kahraba Street (“Al-Kahraba” sendiri berarti “kelistrikan”). Kemudian Al-Kahraba Street ini ramai dengan pertokoan yang menjual alat-alat listrik.

Dikisahkan warga Doha rapi duduk di kursi ketika Emir mereka Sheikh Salman melakukan pemotongan pipa untuk meresmikan pembangkit listrik pertama mereka.

Al-Kahraba Street menjadi nadi kehidupan Qatar. Sepanjang siang dan malam selama bulan Ramadhan  jalan itu menjadi juaranya cahaya. Dan orang-orang dari Al-Rayyan sengaja datang hanya untuk melihat jalanan itu.

Dikisahkan oleh seorang warga bernama Hassan Rasheed bahwa televisi pertama yang dia beli berasal dari jalan Al-Kahraba bermerk “Andrea”, bentuknya seperti almari kecil, almari itu harus dibuka dahulu untuk melihat layarnya.

Sesi “Shopping and Eating

Papan nama toko dan usaha jasa lainnya, termasuk peralatan yang digunakan.

Antara tahun 1950-1990, Distrik Msheireb berkembang dan penuh sesak dengan bangunan komersial. Banyak usaha-usaha baru dan pertama kali muncul disana seperti hotel pertama, bank pertama, apotik pertama, kedai kopi pertama dan tempat menikmati minuman dingin pertama. Warga dapat membeli perlengkapan dan peralatan, televisi, kain sari dan sepatu di sini. Penjahit, tukang pangkas rambut, ahli optik, tukang daging, dokter, dokter gigi, kedai penjual ayam dan cafe-cafe sangat berkontribusi meramaikan Msheireb.

Salah satu warga mengatakan bahwa jalanan Msheireb sangat meriah, ada Al-Nasr Fountain, apotik milik Hussain Al-Kazim, toko-toko dan restoran-restoran Lebanon, perpusatakaan dan toko buku  Al-Tilmeethe yang dimiliki Abdullah Naima. Di pojok jalan ada penjahit khusus jas. Bank pertama di Doha adalah The Ottoman Bank dan landmark utama kala itu adalah The Bismillah Hotel.

Warga bernama Abdullatif Al-Nadaf berkata: “Jika kamu memerlukan sesuatu yang tidak ada di Doha maka kamu akan menemukannya di Al-Kahraba Street”.

Sesi “Schools, Healthcare and Security

Perlengkapan pembelajaran di sekolah dan peralatan medis.

Untuk memastikan anak-anak Qatar dapat berkontribusi dalam pengembangan industri perminyakan Qatar dan pertumbuhan ekonomi bangsa, pada September 1947 didirikan sekolah modern pertama bernama Al Islah Al Mohamadia. Sedangkan Bin Jelmood House dimanfaatkan sebagai kantor kepolisian Qatar pada tahun 1950an. Rumah sakit legendaris di Qatar adalah Rumaillah Hospotal yang dioperasikan sejak 1956, dibuka dengan 200 tempat tidur dengan layanan ambulan dan fasilitas rawat jalan.

Sesi “Msheireb Downtown Doha

Desain modern di MDD.

Selanjutnya dijelaskan sebuah sesi mengenai Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD) sebagai Proyek Regenerasi Kota Berkelanjutan  di Kawasan Msheireb.

Dibawah kepemimpinan Yang Mulia Sheikha Moza binti Nasser, Msheireb Properties yang merupakan anak perusahaan Qatar Foundation membangun distrik perkotaan dimana para warga negara Qatar dan ekspatriat akan tinggal, bekerja, dan bermasyarakat.

Di dalam sesi MDD inilah kita akan belajar bagaimana patron, perencana, arsitek dan insinyur secara hati-hati menginterpretasikan lagi arsitektur asli Msheireb, konstruksi yang berkesinambungan dengan tradisi masyarakat, komersialisasi dan inovasi untuk menciptakan kawasan modern tetapi tetap berakar kuat pada sejarah dan menciptakan sense of place.

Old Msheireb sangat popular dengan aktivitas bisnis. Toko-toko dan restoran dibangun di sepanjang jalan utama.  Membuat distrik ini populer untuk tinggal dan untuk dikunjungi siapa saja. Sejak pertokoan dibuka pertama kali pada awal 1950-an, Doha memainkan peran penting,  tidak hanya untuk pertumbuhan ekonomi Qatar tetapi bahkan untuk ekonomi global. Doha saat ini menjadi tujuan bisnis yang menjanjikan dan destinasi wisata bagi para pelancong di seluruh dunia.  Dan Msheireb Downtown Doha akan memainkan peranan penting dalam mempertahankan keunggulan komersial kota.

Di ujung selatan Al-Kahraba Street telah menjadi distrik bisnis baru  dengan perkantoran, bank, restoran dan cafe.  Dan di dalam distrik bisnis ini, Doha Metro akan mengambil penumpang menuju West Bay dan Hamad International Airport.

Diperkirakan jika proyek pembangunan Msheireb Downtown Doha selesai, lebih dari 2.000 warga akan menempati wilayah seluas 31 Ha. Warga akan berbaur dengan ribuan pekerja, konsumen komersial dan para wisatawan.

Meskipun skala MDD sangat luas, MDD akan membangkitkan keintiman Old Msheireb. Jalur pejalan kaki akan terkoneksi langsung dengan Souq Waqif. Keseluruhan MDD akan terhubung dengan jaringan jalan bawah tanah dan parkir bawah tanah yang akan membuat area jalanan sangar ramah buat para pejalan kaki.

Tradisi inovasi MDD juga memberikan solusi dari tiga tantangan Old Msheireb yaitu kemacetan lalu lintas, pengelolaan sampah dan konservasi air. MDD akan memiliki 12.000 slot parkir bawah tanah yang akan menghapus kemacetan dan menciptakan lingkungan yang ramah untuk para pejalan kaki. Sistem pembuangan sampah yang canggih akan mendaur ulang sampah dari sumbernya dan akan dibuang melalui pipa bawah tanah. Sekitar enam juta liter air daur ulang akan digunakan sehari-hari untuk menyiram toilet, mengairi tanaman, dan akan menjadi pendingin bangunan-bangunan di MDD.

Koridor di Mohammed Bin Jassim House.

Inovasi yang sama akan memproduksi air panas dan listrik melalui ribuan sel tenaga surya yang dipasang di setiap atap bangunan.

Ada tujuh langkah yang membuat bangunan-bangunan di MDD menjadi khas:

  1. Berkesinambungannya masa lalu, masa sekarang dan masa depan melalui motif desain kota yang abadi.
  2. Kehamonisan dan keberagaman melalui bahasa arsitektur yang diterima semua kalangan.
  3. Pengaturan bangunan informal yang mencerminkan pemandangan kota Msheireb yang orisinil
  4. Lingkungan tempat tinggal yang menyediakan privasi, keamanan, area indoor dan outdoor, semangat kekeluargaan dan kepedulian masyarakat.
  5. Membuat kehidupan jalanan yang bersemangat dan mampu membuat nyaman pejalan kaki dan menyediakan menyediakan ruang-ruang teduh.
  6. Kenyamanan maksimum dengan konsumsi energi minimum melalui teknologi tradisional dan modern dengan memanfaatkan energi dan melestarikan sumber daya alam.
  7. Kelestarian desain Qatar melalui bahasa arsitektur baru yang terhubung dengan desain masa lalu.

Desain dan layout bangunan-bangunan lama Msheireb sangat menghargai lingkungan dengan meminimalisir efek matahari, memaksimalkan ventilasi dan menggunakan material lokal. Praktek-praktek tradisional ini tetap diimplementasikan pada pengembangan MDD. Desain dan layout MDD dibuat dengan memanfaatkan naungan matahari  dan tiupan angin pantai. Material konstruksi diambil dari sumber-sumber lokal. Energi terbarukan memanfaatkan panel-panel surya di atap bangunan. Air bersih akan terselamatkan dengan penggunaan yang efisien di setiap keran dan shower. Sedangkan air daur ulang akan dimanfaatkan untuk irigasi dan keperluan lainnya.

MDD akan mengurangi ketergantungan masyarakat pada kendaraan. Sebagai contoh, distrik ini akan bersahabat untuk para pejalan kaki, akan mudah, aman dan nyaman ketika berjalan dari dari satu tempat ke tempat lain dalam naungan pepohonan dan diselingi taman. Distrik akan menyediakan rute buat pesepeda dan bus. Doha Metro akan menghubungkan Msheireb dengan wilayah lain. Daur ulang sampah yang tersentralisasi  akan menghilangkan kebutuhan akan truk-truk sampah yang memasuki kota.

Company House: Awal Mula Kejayaan Ekonomi Qatar

Kompleks Msheireb Downtown Doha.

Ternyata tak hanya aku, semua turis dibuat kebingungan untuk menemukan pintu masuk. Kata itulah yang diucapkan seorang staff pria yang keluar memanggilku dan mengarahkanku memasuki museum.

Welcome to Msheireb Museum, you should know that this museum consists of four parts. They are Company House which you are currently visiting. In west of this building is Bin Jelmood House, while in east there is Radwani House. Another one, across that street (pointing at Bin Jalmood Street), is Mohammed Bin Jassim House. To make it easier for understanding all stories inside the museum, please install Msheireb Museums application. You can be guided by this application. Please write your identity in guest book, and welcome to Msheireb Museums“, hafalannya tersampaikan dengan lancar.

Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir. Where are you come from, Sir?”, singkat aku menjawab dan bertanya.

Bangladesh”, jawabnya dengan penuh senyum.

Yes, belajar dimulai…..

Jika kamu ingin mengetahui perihal….

Bagaimana ekonomi Qatar bangkit dari keterpurukan……dan bagaimana perjuangan mereka menemukan minyak bumi……

Disinilah tempatnya.

—-****—-

Jadi di episode akhir petualanganku di Qatar, isi tulisan ini akan sangat serius. Tak ada majas….Tak ada sastra….Tak ada puisi….yuk, balik ke bangku sekolahan.

The history is begin……

Pertama kali, di pintu masuk museum terdapat logo perusahaan minyak terkenal yang menunjukkan bahwa pendirian dan pembiayaan museum ini disponsori oleh Qatar Shell.

Setelah melewati reception desk dijelaskan dalam sebuah tulisan bahwa bangunan ini adalah rumah dari Hussain Al-Naama, manager Doha Port, dibangun pada tahun 1920, lalu di sewa oleh Anglo-Persian Oil Company (Perusahaan Inggris pemegang kontrak eksklusif untuk eksplorasi minyak di Qatar) pada tahun 1935 dan digunakan sebagai kantor pusatnya selama  dua dekade. Alkisah, pencarian dan eksplorasi minyak Qatar dimulai dari rumah ini.

Inilah truk yang digunakan untuk mengangkut pekerja ke ladang minyak di sebelah barat Qatar.

Diceritakan para pekerja ini akan pulang dalam satu bulan untuk mengambil gaji, lalu diizinkan pulang ke rumah mereka dalam sehari saja untuk bertemu keluarga, setelah itu mereka harus kembali ke ladang minyak kembali untuk bekerja. Museum ini didedikasikan untuk para pioneer tersebut yang memaknai endurance, pengorbanan dan komitmen untuk membangun Qatar….#airmatamulaimeleleh

Perjalanan industri minyak Qatar disusun dengan bekas pipa-pipa minyak.

Kembali ke tahun 1920-an, saat itu Qatar adalah negara yang bergantung pada perdagangan, perikanan dan hasil tangkap mutiara. Dan negara ini sudah diambang kehancuran ekonomi karena Perang Dunia Pertama, Great Depression 1929 dan semenjak mutiara bisa dibudidayakan di Jepang.

Original banget ya pipanya….Aku terpesona.

Perlu kamu ketahui bahwa penangkapan mutiara adalah pekerjaan penuh resiko. Pada tahun 1929, pernah terjadi badai yang menenggelamkan 80% kapal di Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman dan Qatar. Badai ini menewaskan lima ribu jiwa.

Masuk ke tahun 1940-an, terjadi Perang Dunia Kedua, usaha eksplorasi minyak Qatar sempat terhenti. Hal ini membuat seluruh warga Qatar kembali tidak memiliki harapan, karenanya mereka telah berfikir untuk kembali melaut mencari mutiara.

Beruntung pada tahun 1946, setahun setelah selesainya Perang Dunia Kedua, Inggris kembali ke Qatar untuk melanjutkan eksplorasi. Saat mereka tiba, kapan tanker tidak bisa  berlabuh di Perairan Zikrit karena dangkal. Maka dibuatlah terminal ekspor baru di Umm Said, selatan Doha. Lalu berlanjut dengan dibangunnya pipa-pipa minyak dari Umm Said ke Dukhan. Usaha yang tak kenal menyerah, pada akhirnya membuat Qatar berhasil melakukan ekspor minyak bumi pertamanya pada 31 Desember 1949. Dalam perkembangan selanjutnya, produksi minyak di Qatar meningkat tajam dari yang semula dibawah 50.000 Barrel/hari pada tahun 1949 menjadi lebih dari 2.000.000 Barrel/hari pada tahun 2010….Wah keren yaaaa.

Babak penting berikutnya, Qatar mendapatkan kemerdekaan dari Inggris pada 3 September 1971. Tiga tahun setelahnya dibentuklah Qatar General Petroleum Company. Dan pada tahun 1977, Qatar General Petroleum Company dan Shell Qatar Ltd. dinasionalisasi menjadi Qatar Petroleum, sehingga sejak saat itu minyak dan gas bumi di kuasai negara seutuhnya.

Qatar memang negara yang beruntung. Tak lama setelah kemerdekaan, ditemukan ladang Liquid Natural Gass (LNG) di utara wilayahnya. Untuk mengeksplorenya, didirikanlah Perusahaan Gas Qatar pada tahun 1984 dan ekspor LNG pertama mereka terjadi pada tahun 1996 ke Jepang.

Video room….Melihat pengabdian para pionerr dalam membangun minyak negara hingga Qatar mengalami kemajuan ekonomi yang pesat.
Generator listrik Biston dari Inggris….Inilah generator listrik pertama di Qatar.

Di ruangan belakang Company House, disediakan sebuah ruangan bartajuk “Open Storage” yang menampilkan beberapa peralatan para pekerja perusahaan minyak di awal-awal beroperasinya. Tampak raket tenis, stick hoki, bola rugby, radio, velg kendaraan, rantang makanan, mesin ketik, buah nanas kemasan dengan merk “Marvel” dan sofdrink bermerk “Namlite”.

Mesin ketik klasik merk “ROYAL”.
Buah nanas kemasan dengan merk “Marvel

Di ruang paling belakang didesain ruang bertajuk “The Courtyard: Life as a Worker”, di dalamnya dibangun beberapa sculpture putih yang memvisualisasikan para Qataris sedang bekerja di perusahaan minyak Inggris.

Ilustrasi para pekerja minyak kala itu.

Berjalan ke arah pintu keluar, tertampil sebuah ruang “Interview” dimana tim Msheireb Museum mewawancara para pioneer asli Qatar untuk mengumpulkan informasi yang berguna sebagai referensi, bahan penelitian dan bahan pameran di museum ini.

Sofa di ruangan wawancara.
Nah ini, referensi full dalam bahasa Arab….Hahaha.

Terdapat juga juga booth “Share Your Story” yang menampilkan testimoni para anggota keluarga pioneer perihal kerja keras dan kehidupan mereka semasa menjadi karyawan perusahaan minyak itu.

Dalam ruangan yang sama terdapat juga booth “Contemporary Voices”. Layar tiga sisi ini mendeskripsikan kisah-kisah para pioneer dalam sebuah film dokumenter.

Duduk dan dengarkan kisah yang terucap dari keluarga para pioneer….Mengharukan.
Atau tontonlah film dokumenter para pioneer itu sendiri….Merinding menontonnya.

Dan di bagian akhir museum ditampilkan beberapa profil pioneer pekerja minyak dalam ruang “Pioneers’ Stories”. Dikisahkan Muhammad bin Muhammad Muftah yang bekerja sebagai penerima telepon dan pengemudi, Jasim bin Qroun sebagai rigger (Juru Ikat), Bu Abbas yang bertugas mengendarai truk standard internasional untuk membawa para geologist, Thamir Muftah yang bertanggung menangani urusan listrik, Jassim bin Muhammad Jaber Al-Naameh yang bertugas menangani generator, Ibrahim bin Saleh Bu Matar Al-Muhannadi yang bertugas sebagai houseboy, dan terakhir adalah Mansour bin Khalil Al-Hajiri yang menjadi karyawan pertama di perusahaan minyak dan bertugas sebagai guide (pemandu), karena beliau orang yang sangat memahami seluruh wilayah Qatar dan mampu menemukan tempat yang dicari dalam gelap atau kabut sekalipun.

Kubaca pelan setiap kisah kepahlawanan mereka.
Mr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Hitmi, pemadam kebakaran di Qatar Petroleum Production Authority.

Selesai menjelajah Company House, aku keluar dari dari pintu belakang. Kusempatkan singgah di Empirecof, sebuah coffee shop mungil yang terletak di pelataran museum ini.

Yuk nge-latte dulu….

Selesai berkopi ria, aku menyempatkan diri memakan bekal makan siangku di halaman Company House. Di taman ini disediakan free water station yang bisa dimanfaatkan untuk minum secara gratis….Wah mantab Qatar.

Where is the museum gate, Sir?”, pertanyaan turis yang sering diutarakan padaku saat istirahat di taman.

Kunjunganku di Company House telah benar-benar usai, saatnya aku pergi menuju bagian Msheireb Museum yang lain.

Yukkk ikut aku lagiii……..

Souq Waqif….Terbesar dan Tertua.

Melewari gate bernomor  empat, aku kembali keluar di jalanan pasca menjelajah dalaman City Souq. Kantor dua lantai milik badan independen Qatar menjadi bangunan pertama yang kulewati. Tampak lima bendera Qatar berukuran besar mempergagah markas Central Municipal Council.

Aku menikung ke kiri begitu berpapasan dengan Abdullah Bin Jassim Street. Dua ratus meter kemudian, aku melewati bangunan berlantai empat yang menjadi pusat pengembangan Islam di Qatar yaitu Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zaid Al Mahmood Islamic Cultural Center. Tampak sebuah sepeda ontel hitam tersandar pada tiang rambu di depannya. Klasik, macam suasana di Eropa saja.

Lalu mulai tampak pelataran luas nan panas dari kejauhan, letaknya tepat di pojok barat daya perempatan besar yang terbentuk dari persilangan Banks Street dan Abdullah Bin Jassim Street. Deretan tujuh bangku panjang tiga warna terduduki tiga pria setengah baya yang tampak menikmati suasana.

Minggu siang kala itu, Souq Waqif yang kudatangi dari gerbang timur masih tampak sepi. Aku menyusuri koridor demi koridor pasar. Berlantai andesit gelap, berdinding tak mulus dengan warna krem dan dibagian atas diletakkan kayu-kayu utuh memanjang sebagai penyangga struktur atapnya yang sengaja dibuat rata.

Pelataran sisi timur Souq Waqif.

Kulewati kios-kios dengan barang dagangan yang masih tertutup, aku sendiri tak menahu tentang jenis barang dagangan tersembunyi itu. Kusingkap sedikit ujung kain penutup dan kutemukan jawabnya….Itu rempah-rempah.

Ketika sampai di area pasar yang sedikit menjorok ke tengah, aku menemukan sebuah blok yang menjual satwa, pakan yang sudah dipacking dalam plastik besar ukuran seragam, beserta kandangnya. Area berjualan satwa ini sudah tak lagi beratap, langit nan panaslah yang tampak tepat di atas kepala.

Terimakasih “RICH” yang menjadi partner dalam perjalanan kali ini.
Blok untuk berjualan satwa seperti burung dan kelinci.

Sementara beberapa orang tua pemilik kedai sederhana tengah sibuk mempersiapkan lapaknya yang telah dilengkapi lemari-lemari pendingin dengan merk minuman ternama. Aku masih belum bisa membayangkan bagaimana rupa kedai ini ketika ramai. Aku hanya menebaknya sebagai kedai kaum menengah.

Masih sepi….Mereka bersiap diri.

Tergelincirnya matahari mengurungkan niatku untuk menelusuri seisi pasar. Eksplorasi bagian timur sudah kuselesaikan. Bagian barat?….Sudahlah, besok masih ada waktu. Aku mendadak menciptkan sebuah opsi perjalanan sendiri. Meninggalkan Souq Waqif segera dan ingin bersantai di Doha Corniche hingga sore. The Pearl Monument adalah tujuan berikutnya.

—-****—-

Inilah satu-satunya pasar tradisional kuno terbesar di seluruh Qatar. Al Souq menjadi distrik yang beruntung atas kepemilikan pasar ini. Berdiri pada akhir abad ke-18 di tepian Wadi Msheireb. Wadi sendiri merujuk pada jalur sungai kering yang hanya terisi air saat hujan lebat saja. Pengalaman menggelikan terkait Wadi adalah ketika mengunjungi negeri tetangga Qatar yaitu Bahrain. Saking keringnya, wadi di sana biasa digunakan warga untuk bermain cricket….Lucu kan.

Tiga hari berlalu, membuatku kembali merindukan Souq Waqif.

Rabu pagi, aku akhirnya tak kuasa membendung rindu itu. Aku kini memasukinya dari sisi barat yang tampak lebih elegan karena sisi ini memang berbatasan dengan Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD), sebuah kota subtitutor Distrik Mushayrib yang pengembangannya direncanakan detail.

Pelataran sisi barat.

Aku mengamini….Terutama ketika mendengar sebuah jargon bahwa Souq Waqid adalah rumah bagi banyak restoran dan shisha lounges. Siang itu, aku memasuki sisi barat dengan sambutan deretan restoran bergaya Eropa di sepanjang koridor terbuka.

Restoran.

Sisi inilah yang menjadi tempat bagi warga Qatar dan para turis untuk sekedar nongkrong, menikmati kopi dan menghisap sisha. Konon akan ramai di Kamis malam. Seperti kebiasaan di kawasan Timur Tengah, yang menjadikan malam Jum’at sebagai permulaan weekend mereka untuk menyambut libur di keesokan hari.

Souq Waqif tak pernah merubah bentuk  arsitektur khas Qatarnya.

Waqif berarti berdiri. Karena pada masa perintisan pasar, tidak ada satupun kios yang dibangun. Hal ini disebabkan karena meluapnya air laut dari pantai Doha yang menggenangi pasar. Bahkan diawal berdirinya, masyarakat Arab Badui yang nomaden dan penduduk setempat bertemu dan bertransaksi di tempat ini. Para pembeli akan datang menggunakan perahu atau menaiki onta untuk mensiasati genangan tersebut dan penjual akan berdiri sepanjang hari untuk menawarkan dagangannya.

Duh cantiknya Souq Waqif.

Semakin memasuki area tengah, atmosfer pasar menjadi sangat ramai. Kini aku menemukan area penjual souvenir. Jam tangan, fridge magnet, gantungan kunci, dompet serta souvenir jenis lain ramai dipasarkan di area ini.

Koridor souvenir.

Kemudian keluar pasar melalui sisi selatan, aku menemukan area berjualan dallah, tabung shisha beragam bentuk dan ukuran seta berbagai jenis handicrafts

Area handicrafts.

Perkembangan ekonomi negara Qatar yang sangat melejit semenjak menemukan minyak bumi berimbas positif pada kondisi pasar ini. Pada tahun 2006. Emir Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani merenovasi besar-besaran Souq Waqif sebagai pusat ekonomi dan pariwisata dunia. Konon sang Emir mendatangkan  kayu dan bambu yang diimpor dari beberapa negara Asia untuk kegiatan renovasi besar ini.

Nah, tunggu apa lagi….Yuk ke Qatar….Hihihi.

26 Destinasi Wisata di Doha, Qatar

Mungkin sosok yang berjasa membawaku ke Qatar adalah Valentino Rossi. Ya….Legenda hidup balapan kuda besi premium itu telah sekian lama memaksaku menyambangi Losail International Circuit melalui layar televisi. Selama bertahun-tahun menonton MotoGP itu pula, niat untuk mengunjungi Qatar mulai mengganggu tidur malamku.

Mimpi itu telah menjadi sebuah kenyataan indah ketika selama lima hari aku bisa menjelajah Qatar di awal tahun 2020. Kini saatnya bagiku untuk menceritakan kepada kalian tentang keelokannya. Berikut sedikit banyak kenangan yang kudapatkan di negeri kaya “emas hitam” itu:

1. Hamad International Airport

Bisa ditasbihkan bahwa Hamad International Airport (HIA) adalah penyempurna gerbang pariwisata Qatar. Sejak heksa warsa lalu, HIA sukses menggantikan peran Doha International Airport.  Perlu kamu ketahui bahwa penamaan bandara ini di catut dari nama Emir Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Pagi yang cerah kala itu, aku mengamini kemegahan bandara yang terletak di tepian Teluk Persia ini. Inilah bandara yang menyimpan aset “Beruang Kuning” senilai 91 milyar Rupiah….Wowww.

2. Karwa Bus

Sebagai seorang yang taat dengan kode etik kaum backpacker, aku hanya dihadapkan pada dua pilihan untuk menuju pusat kota…..Kereta atau bus?. Kali ini bus menjadi pilihan pertamaku.

Belum juga melihat dan menaikinya, sudah terbayang bahwa aku akan menaiki bus kota berpenampilan modern ketika nanti meninggalkan bandara.

Bus kota Doha dikenal dengan nama Karwa Bus dan dibutuhkan KARWA Smart Card untuk mengunggangnya. Seluruh bus kota Doha dioperasikan oleh perusahaan transportasi negara yaitu Mowasalat. Rerata tarif sekali jalan juga sangat terjangkau yaitu sekitar Rp. 10.000.

3. Al Ghanim Bus Station

Setelah check-in di Casper Hotel dan menaruh semua perlengkapan, aku mulai mengeksplorasi kota Doha. Tempat pertama yang kujejak adalah Al Ghanim Bus Station sebagai tujuan akhir Karwa Bus bernomor 12 yang mengangkutku dari sebelah hotel.

Terletak di Municipality Ad Dawhah, Al Ghanim Bus Station adalah landmark penting. Terminal bus ini tentu mengcover sebagian besar rute Karwa Bus di Qatar. Al Ghanim Bus Station mengambil peran sebagai terminal sentral di Qatar sekaligus menjadi kantor pusat Mowasalat. Jika kamu berniat menjelajah wisata Qatar menggunakan bus, pasti kamu akan sering menyambangi terminal ini.

4. Abdul Aziz Nasser Theater

Inilah ruang pertunjukan untuk multidisiplin seni yang mensupport seniman lokal dan internasional. Terletak di pusat kota Doha dengan kapasitas hampir seribu tempat duduk. Bahkan untuk mempermudah pelaksanaan event-event besar, teater ini dikoneksikan secara langsung dengan Al Mirqab Hotel yang terletak tepat di sisi baratnya.

5. Al Fanar Mosque

Aku mengunjungi masjid ini setelah mengeksplore Al Ghanim Bus Station. Lokasinya hanya berjarak satu kilometer di utara terminal. Al Fanar adalah Pusat Kebudayaan Islam Qatar yang lebih dikenal dengan nama Al Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zaid Al-Mahmood Islamic Cultural Center. Selain mengenalkan budaya Qatar melalui Islam, Fanar Cultural Center ini juga  menyelenggarakan kegiatan sosial dan pendidikan.

6. Souq Faleh

Souq Faleh dan Al Fanar Masque hanya dipisahkan oleh Al Tarbiya Street. Merupakan salah satu dari sekian banyak pasar-pasar tua di Doha. Jika kamu penggemar Abaya, maka pasar ini menjadi tempat yang tepat untuk memburunya, karena harga yang ditawarkan tergolong lebih murah dari pasar-pasar yang lain.

7. Domes Mosque

Sedang asyik berkunjung ke Souq Faleh, tiba-tiba suara adzan Dzhuhur memanggil. Tampaknya aku harus segera mengakhiri eksplorasiku sejenak dan menuju ke sebuah masjid tua di tenggara. Masjid dengan banyak kubah dan tiang ini masih berdiri gagah di tengah modernnya kota. Shalat Dzuhur siang itu dipenuhi jama’ah yang datang dari segenap penjuru. Dan itu adalah shalat berjama’ahku pertama kali di Doha.

8. City Souq

Bersebelahan dengan Al Fanar Mosque di sebelah timur, tepat di salah satu sudut perempatan Al Tarbiya Street dan Al Bareed Street terdapatlah shopping mall modern dengan julangan tujuh lantai yang kemudian tampak mengkerdilkan bangunan Central Municipal Center di seberangnya. Aku memasukinya hanya untuk sekedar berburu fridge magnet lalu mencuri foto suasana di dalam.

Dikenal dengan nama City Souq, mall ini menyediakan pakaian, garmen, sepatu, parfum, mainan anak-anak, stationery, selimut dan abaya. Berlatihlah menawar sebelum berbelanja di tempat ini.

9. Souq Waqif

Berusia lebih dari dua abad, tak membuat Souq Waqif merubah bentuk arsitekturnya. Menjadi satu-satunya pasar tradisional kuno di seluruh Qatar.

Waqif berarti berdiri. Karena pada masa perintisan pasar, tidak ada satupun kios yang dibangun. Hal ini disebabkan karena meluapnya air laut dari pantai Doha yang menggenangi pasar. Bahkan diawal berdirinya, para pembeli akan datang menggunakan perahu atau menaiki onta untuk mensiasati genangan tersebut dan penjual akan berdiri sepanjang hari untuk menawarkan dagangannya.

10. The Pearl Monument

Meninggalkan sejenak Souq Waqif untuk kemudian kutengok ulang esok hari, aku menyasar The Pearl Monument di seberang Al Corniche Street yang menyediakan fasilitas penyeberangan bawah tanah di kolongnya. Kurasa tak hanya traveler, bahkan seluruh warga negara Qatar hendaknya wajib mengunjungi monumen berwujud kerang mutiara menganga ini. Melalui monumen ini, semua khalayak harus tahu bahwa sebelum tahun 1939 yaitu era sebelum ditemukannya minyak di perut bumi mereka, Qatar adalah negara miskin yang pendapatannya bergantung pada hasil tangkap kerang mutiara di Teluk Persia.

11. Corniche Promenade

Mengunjungi The Pearl Monument membuatku bahagia tak terkira, selain mendalami sejarah Qatar, mata dimanjakan dengan indahnya pemandangan Doha Corniche. Promenade sepanjang tujuh kilometer ini menampakkan lengkungan Teluk Doha yang dijejali gedung pencakar langit di ujungnya. Sementara sebaran traditional dhow boat yang diam terjangkar di sepanjang teluk menjadi interior alam yang mengelokkan suasana.

12. Museum of Islamic Art

Tepat di ujung timur Doha Corniche terdapat bangunan yang didirikan layaknya mengambang di tepian laut. Adalah Museum of Islamic Art yang didalamnya dipamerkan kekayaan budaya Islam dari tiga benua yang telah berusia lebih dari 1.400 tahun lamanya. Inilah museum andalan Qatar yang didirikan oleh saudara perempuan dari Emir mereka yaitu H. E Sheikha Al Mayassa binti Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Keberadaan museum ini telah mentasbihkan Qatar sebagai ibu kota budaya kawasan Timur Tengah.

13. MIA Park

MIA dalam nama taman ini adalah singkatan dari Museum of Islamic Art. Sesuai namanya, sebelum mendatanginya, semua orang sudah bisa dipastikan faham bahwa taman ini terletak tepat di depan Museum of Islamic Art. Taman yang sering menjadi venue resmi negara pada perayaan hari libur nasional, selain itu taman ini sering dipakai sebagai tempat berlangsungnya pertunjukan musik, kegiatan bazaar ataupun konser-konser regular lainnya. Sedangkan khusus di hari Selasa dan dimulai pada pukul 17:00, taman ini menjadi area publik khusus kaum Hawa yang biasanya dipimpin oleh personal trainer dalam latihan kardio dan senam kebugaran.

14. Doha Hop On Hop Off Bus

Buat kamu yang tidak mau repot menjelajah Doha. Pariwisata Qatar menyediakan Hop On-Hop Off Sightseeing Tour. Jadi kamu cukup duduk manis dari atas bus dan akan diantarkan ke beberapa destinasi wisata di Doha. Bus ini berentang waktu tiga puluh menit dalam pengoperasiannya. Melewati destinasi wisata utama Qatar yaitu Souq Waqif, Katara Cultural Village, The Pearl Qatar dan Museum of Islamic Art. Untuk memanjakan para traveler, bus ini juga berhenti di Hotel Marriott, Sharq Village and Spa, Sheraton dan Hilton Hotel.

15. West Bay

Hari Kedua….Udara sangat berangin dan dingin tentunya. Menaiki Karwa Bus bernomor 12 dan bersambung dengan nomor 64, aku menuju West Bay. Kompleks bangunan pencakar langit itu seakan melambai-lambaikan tangannya kepadaku ketika kupandangi dari sisi lain Doha Corniche sore kemarin.

Kini aku tepat berada di tengah area bisnis di pantai timur Doha ini. Sebuah area yang mengcover tiga distrik sekaligus, yaitu Al Qassar, Al Dafna dan West Bay Lagoon. Akhirnya dari dekat, aku bisa menikmati Burj Doha, bangunan paling ikonik di Qatar itu.

16. City Center Doha

Menelusuri setiap inchi jalanan di West Bay, aku sampai juga di salah satu shopping mall tertua di Qatar. City Center Doha yang diletakkan di pusat bisnis tetapi ditargetkan melayani para pelanggan dari kelas ekonomi menengah. Tepat berloksi di tengah area West Bay, shopping mall ini terkoneksi secara langsung dengan tiga hotel mewah yaitu Shangri La Hotel, Rotana Hotel dan Merweb Hotel.

17. Doha Metro

Untuk pertama kalinya aku menaiki Doha Metro. Sistem tranportasi masal teranyar milik Qatar yang dioperasikan sejak setahun lalu. MRT tiga jalur (Red Line, Green Line dan Gold Line) yang dimiliki oleh Hamad Group ini ditasbihkan sebagai kereta tanpa pengemudi tercepat di dunia dengan kecepatan jelajah mencapai 100 km/jam.

Kali ini aku menikmati fasilitas mewahnya dari Stasiun DECC (Doha Exhibition & Convention Center) di Wet Bay menuju Stasiun Katara yang merupakan akses mengunjungi Katara Cultural Village.

18. Katara Cultural Village

Doha Metro menurunkanku di stasiun Katara. Hanya perlu berjalan kaki sejauh setengah kilometer untuk sampai di Katara Cultural Village, sebuah pusat budaya di Qatar. Terletak di pantai timur antara West Bay dan The Pearl, perkampungan budaya ini telah berdiri sejak sepuluh tahun lalu.

Katara sendiri adalah nama untuk Qatar sebelum Abad ke-18. Kata “Catara” pada seratus tahun pertama Masehi disematkan untuk menamai Semenanjung Qatar yang terletak di selatan Teluk Persia.

19. Aspire Park

Eksplorasi hari ketigaku di Qatar kumulai sedikit siang. Menunggu matahari meninggi, karena aku akan bermain di area terbuka, yaitu Aspire Park. Nama taman yang diambil dari nama sebuah area, yaitu Aspire Zone yang merupakan nama beken dari Doha Sports City di Distrik Baaya.

Karwa Bus bernomor 301 menurunkanku di Villaggio Shelter Bus tepat jam 11:44. Aku berjalan kaki menuju taman yang terletak di barat Qatar itu. Aspire Park adalah taman indah nan luas yang melengkapi diri dengan playground, air mancur, beberapa coffee shop bahkan menciptakan satu-satunya danau di Qatar.

20. The Torch Doha

Masih di Aspire Zone Complex, melangkah sedikit ke timur, aku tepat berada di bawah sebuah hotel setinggi 300 meter. Sering disebut dengan panggilan Aspire Tower, walaupun nama resminya adalah The Torch Doha.

Adalah buah karya konsultan arsitektur dari Perancis, inilah bangunan yang saat ini masih menjadi yang tertinggi di Doha. Hotel 36 lantai ini telah menyumbang jasanya untuk Qatar sebagai focal point (titik fokus) pada perhelatan Asian Games ke-15.

21. Khalifa International Stadium

Khalifa International Stadium disandingkan tepat di sebelah The Torch Doha. Sering dipanggil dengan nama National Stadium. Seperti bandara megah mereka, gelanggang sepakbola ini juga mencatut nama Emir Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Inilah kandang resmi tim nasional sepakbola Qatar dengan empat puluh ribu kapasitas tempat duduk.

Di empui oleh Qatar Football Association, stadion ini adalah saksi dimana Australia dijungkalkan oleh pasukan samurai biru dengan gol tunggal Tadanari Lee pada perhelatan final AFC Asian Cup 2011.

22. Villaggio Mall

Kunjungan di Doha Sports City, kuakhiri dengan memasuki Villaggio Mall. Mall di pinggiran Al Waab Street ini dikembangkan oleh Gondolania Entertainment, oleh karenanya konsep wisata gondola di kota Venice di adopsi di pusat perbelanjaan satu lantai ini.

Didesain di dalamnya canal indoor sepanjang 150 meter lengkap dengan perahu gondola, mengingatkanku ketika mengunjungi The Venetian di Macau 3 tahun silam.

Retailer utama di Villaggio Mall adalah Carrefour, akan tetapi pusat perbelanjaan ini juga mengakomodasi 200 toko yang menjual brand-brand ternama asal Amerika, Inggris, Italia dan Jerman. Yuk, yang hobby belanja, silahkan mampir ke sini !

23. Al Koot Fort

Hari keempat, aku berniat menelusuri area MDD (Mshreib Downtown Doha) yaitu sebuah kota pengganti Distrik Mushayrib yang pengembangannya direncanakan dengan detail.

Tetapi sebelum memasuki area MDD, aku sempatkan mampir di Al Koot Fort yang telah berusia 93 tahun. Adalah jasa dari Emir keempat Qatar, Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani yang membangun benteng ini dengan tujuan melindungi  Souq Waqif dari kelompok pencuri terkenal pada waktu itu.

Setelah mampir di Al Koot Fort atau Doha Fort ini, barulah aku melangkah memasuki area MDD. Yuk lihat ada apa saja di MDD ?

24. Msheireb Museum

Tempat wisata utama yang kukunjungi di Mshreib Downtown Doha adalah Msheireb Museum yang dikembangkan oleh Msheireb Properties (Pengembang Real Estate Nasional Qatar).  Aku dengan tekunnya menelusuri empat rumah warisan bersejarah yang menjadi bagian utama dari Msheireb Museum. Yaitu Bin Jelmood House yang mengungkap sejarah perdagangan budak di negeri itu, Company House yang mengungkap kisah para pioneer pekerja industri minyak Qatar, Mohammed Bin Jassim House yang merupakan rumah yang dibangun oleh putra pendiri Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Jassim Al Thani serta Radwani House yang merupakan duplikasi model rumah asli Qatar.

Kalau kalian ke Qatar, wajib datang ke sini ya….Free ticket kok, santuy….

25. Msheireb Tram

Menaiki Msheireb Tram adalah cara mudah untuk menikmati keindahan MDD. Transportasi massal ini diluncurkan oleh Msheireb Properties dengan loop track sepanjang dua kilometer dan mampu menghubungkan setiap spot di MDD dalam waktu delapan belas menit saja.

Kamu harus merasakan nyamannya tram listrik buatan Amerika yang menggunakan filtering glass panel yang katanya mampu mencegah masuknya sinar matahari ke dalam ruangan tram hingga 90%.

26. Doha Free Metrolink

Sebelum meninggalkan Qatar, di hari  terakhir aku mencoba menjajal Doha Metrolink yang merupkan jaringan feeder bus untuk mengkoneksi  siapapun dengan Doha Metro Station dalam radius dua hingga lima kilometer.

Tidak dipungut biaya dalam memanfaatkan jasa feeder bus ini. Pemerintah Qatar menyediakan empat puluh dua jalur Doha Free Metrolink yang beroperasi dari jam enam pagi hingga jam sebelas malam.

Jika kalian mau berwisata hemat di Qatar, carilah hotel yang dilalui oleh rute bus ini. Apalagi kalau hotelnya agak jauh dari pusat kota, pasti akan lebih menghemat kantongmu….Hihihi.

Semoga pandemi COVID-19 ini segera berakhi dan kamu bisa segera melancong ke Qatar….Amin.