Qatar Museums (QM) will launch a series of educational cultural activities at Al Zubarah Unesco World Heritage Site, offering participants hands on experience with traditional practices.
Al Zubarah is one of the best-preserved examples of an 18th century merchant town in the Gulf region, giving rise to the varied cultural workshops that will be open to the public.
Specially-designed practical and artistic workshops will take place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from November 17, and will run for the next four months until March 3. Every Thursday and Saturday, the event will run from 2pm to 8pm and from 10am to 8pm on every Friday.
QM said the workshops aim to educate the local community about the traditional crafts and materials that played a significant role in the country’s history. It will help participants appreciate their ancestors’ skills, wisdom and heritage.
During the weekend activities, a selection of traditional food and drinks will be offered to residents and visiting tourists.
In addition, visitors will get a unique opportunity to interact with craftsmen as they create fishing nets, get beautiful henna art done, and enjoy a range of traditional music.
This initiative comes as part of QM’s continued efforts to increase awareness of Qatar’s history, develop youth appreciation and respect for heritage, and put local communities, young and old, in touch with their past.
“The Al Zubarah heritage site is the perfect location to host workshops that educate the community about their ancestors’ lifestyles and traditions in a place steeped in our history,”
QM’s chief archaeology officer Ali al-Kubaisi said.
“Experts at QM have worked to develop activities that will take participants thousands of years into the past, introducing them to the traditional ways of making everything from the highly prized purple clothing dye to pottery,” he added.
For the first time in Qatar, one of the workshops will introduce participants to technically involved and complicated way craftsmen used to make purple dye by using traditional techniques to extract the dye from shellfish that were used in Qatar.
Participants will learn how a certain shellfish gland responsible for the purple colour was extracted and put directly on cloth under the heat of the sun to generate the colour of the Qatari flag.
As purple-dye production was known to the people of the Mediterranean region, Qatar’s own knowledge of the practice supports the theory that the Phoenicians settled first in the Arabian Peninsula before heading to the Mediterranean coast.
The second workshop will introduce participants to the Neolithic period through pottery practice, while the third workshop will look at Arabic coffee as a symbol of generosity by teaching children to make Arabic coffee and serve it to guests.
The last workshop will teach participants to install a part of a traditional ceiling, doorsill and window sill made of danshal — a type of tree that grows in Zanzibar and which has been traditionally used as timber in constructions.
The participants will get familiar with materials used in the conservation of historic buildings and have the opportunity to try their own hands at building and restoring structures.
Al Zubarah is a historical coastal town, situated approximately 100 km north-west of Doha. Founded in the mid-18th century, the town developed into a centre of pearling and international trade and rose to become the country’s largest and most important settlement.
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