The unprecedented infrastructural development has been a hallmark of Qatar. The country has seen rapid development ranging from skyscrapers, roads to urban regeneration.
Major urban development works generally replace old buildings, shops and houses. Some structures of Doha’s Shara Al Asmakh, once a busy business hub in the downtown Doha, are set to become fond memories.
Some very old retail and food outlets have been an integral part of the neighbourhood over the years. They will give way for a major urban development and regeneration project.
Traffic congestion has long been a common feature of the area alongside the narrow road. The overcrowding has never discouraged the residents from visiting the place particularly during the evenings. People visit Shara Al Asmakh for different reasons ranging from going for traditional and tasty food to buying home appliances.
As the old buildings will pave way for the new ones, the residents of the locality have started taking pictures of their shops, houses and offices to continue cherishing their memories.
Ashraf T K, from the southern Indian state of Kerala, has been running a supermarket in the location for over 35 years. “It has been the best place to do business all these years. I have made very sweet memories in the locality and have my best friends living here. There used to live expatriates from different countries, mostly from India and Pakistan. The business was good and I had made significant fortune over the years.
“For the last few months, the business activity has dampened in the locality first due to the eviction notices and then because of the Covid-19 lockdown.”
Abdul Aziz is from Hyderabad in India. He works with a travel agency located in Al Asmakh area. “There used to live many families in the locality. It was a very busy area. The area used to be known for beautiful carpets and curtains. Qataris also used to visit the area.
“We love this area that is why we live here. I will miss many things. I have actually been taking photos of old buildings and famous shops of the area. I want to capture my memories.”
Mohamed Irfan is another expatriate from Kerala. He along with his uncle has been running a supermarket in the locality. “I joined my uncle 15 years ago. There used to be great hustle and bustle in the area. My uncle and I have been doing very well in the area. There used to live many families here but they moved away gradually.
“We will move our shop to Bin Omran. The government has already compensated the building and business owners.”
Mohamed Khalil, also an expatriate from Kerala, has been in Qatar for 42 years. He has been living close to Shara Al Asmakh area. “I have been living here for over six years now. It has long been the heart of Doha. I felt like living in my own country as majority of the residents was from India.”
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