Though the Covid-19 pandemic prevented most of Qatar residents from travelling abroad over the past year, they were able to explore the country’s hidden treasures during this period.
“It’s nice to find out more about a country that we’ve lived in for 19 years,” Scottish expatriate Elaine Potter told Gulf Times.
She described recent day trips with her husband to different destinations across the peninsula “a rediscovery of Qatar’s rich history and heritage.”
From Al Zubara – the country’s largest (60 hectare) heritage site – and the rock formations at Zekreet to the different pristine beaches and public parks, Potter said the journey was long overdue.
“We enjoyed getting off the city and we like the road trip. It is great while the weather is cool we advise the people to enjoy it,” she said, suggesting that people to bring their own food during the travel.
Going to Al Zubara, Potter said the roads are smooth – no hassles – as the fort is at the roadside and a couple of hundred metres is the entrance to the archeological site.
“It wasn’t too hot so it is nice to just walk around there, and it is a vast area, we were looking at the ruins and just enjoying the outdoors. There are some display boards with information about the history of the area,” she said.
In January, many Culture Pass members had the chance to visit Al Zubara through a Qatar Museums programme titled “Atharna”, which aims to introduce the wider community to Qatar’s archaeological history through curated tours.
This popular tourism destination, Qatar’s first Unesco World Heritage site, features a fort, an archaeological site, a fortified compound, a palatial compound and the City Wall, as well as the visitor centre and the temporary exhibition.
Like other travelers, Potter also points to Arsan Café, the former Al Old Police Station, as an ideal stop for those seeking to visit the places in the northern part of the country. Located 110kms from Msheireb Downtown Doha, it is listed as a heritage site under Qatar Museums.
Potter said the area offers stunning views and turquoise water, apart from the relaxing atmosphere while sipping a cup of coffee while at Arsan.
“It is just nice to go somewhere different, so many lovely beaches as well, and to have some time exploring, taking photos and reading out about the history of Qatar,” she said.
While visiting places like Al Khor to see the stadium and the various public parks such as Al Bidda, Oxygen, Aspire, and 5/6, among others, Potter said travelling across the country has become faster with the opening of new roads.
“They are amazing, we go in the morning it is very quiet on Friday and Saturday but Al Bidda park is so big, plenty of space to exercise, not too crowded,” she added.