The Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture Wednesday presented a celebration of culture through the CultuRide friendship cycling ride, a Qatar Museums (QM) statement said.
A group of 100 cyclists, including athletes, enthusiasts and prominent public figures from Qatar and Indonesia, rode 93km through a part of Indonesia filled with important historic monuments that are testaments to the country’s history of cultural diversity and religious tolerance, it was explained.
CultuRide participants were treated to a history-laden route that passed through the Mataram Drainage system, a 30.8km long waterway initiated by Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX, which plays a significant role in irrigating 15,734 hectares of rice fields in Yogyakarta.
Cyclists also passed through the Borobudur Temple and the Prambanan Temple, which exemplify the beauty of religious tolerance that has existed in Indonesia for centuries. Riders were also greeted with traditional dance performances from the local Sekar Kinanti dance company, including the Jogja Special Dance at the start line and a special “Pearls from the Desert” dance at the finish line.
The Qatari delegation leader HE the Minister of State Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari, appreciated Indonesia's initiative in incorporating many of the 12 pillars of the Years of Culture approach to cross-cultural engagement.
"One of the meanings behind an event like the CultuRide is the beauty of living in a country that celebrates cultural and religious diversity. This is also what encouraged us in choosing Indonesia as the first country in Southeast Asia to partner on the Years of Culture initiative," he said.

"Geographically we may be far, but in our hearts we’re very close with Indonesia. We believe strongly that this year is going to be just the beginning in our relations across many aspects, which is why the Years of Culture initiative serves as a launchpad for ongoing cooperation," he added.

Bagus Hendraning Kobarsyih, director of Middle East Directorate General Asia Pacific and Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia, appreciated the enthusiasm of cyclists from both Qatar and Indonesia, as well as the impressive work of the Years of Culture organisers.

“This is the beginning of an important moment in deeper cooperation between Qatar and Indonesia. We will now progress towards other forms of concrete cooperation not only from a cultural perspective, but also in the sectors of tourism, trade and investment," he explained.

Sharing his thoughts on the event, Dr Mohamed Jaham al-Kuwari, president of the Qatar Cycling and Triathlon Federation, said: “The CultuRide event exemplifies was cultural exchange is all about. What better way is there to spur cultural dialogue and understanding than to get into the streets on bikes.”

“I can honestly say I made lifelong friends during this CultuRide event. When strangers become friends is precisely where sports meets culture. My cycling peers and I will host our new friends with big hearts in our homes when they come visit us in Qatar,” said Ali bin Towar al-Kuwari, Years of Culture Ambassador, professional athlete, social media influencer and cycling enthusiast.

The CultuRide also saw participation from Thani Khalifa Al-Zarra, general secretary of Qatar Cycling Federation; Lolwa al-Marri, first Qatari woman to complete Ironman and member of national triathlon team; Nour Salem al-Jaber, member of national team bicycle racing, Abdulrahman Mohd al-Nuaimi, Abdelrahman Mekdad, Fahad Ali al-Adba, Ahmad bin Hamad al-Thani, Mohamed al-Nagm, Fahad al-Hadfa, Ali Mehanna al-Kuwari, Dr Mehsin al-Yafei, Hadeel Reyad, Hamad al-Marzouqi, Khalifa Jassim al-Kuwari, Yousef Mohd al-Kuwari, Saleh Akkila and other athletes, communities and influencers from Indonesia, the QM statement added.
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