Tag Archives: film city

Qatar’s Own Hollywood: Film City

Film city

With my recent trip to Qatar fast-approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about my previous travels to the region. About how they will look now, whether they are even still there, and anticipation of the new sites I will visit soon. One of the sites that stuck out for me than others was my trip to Film City; it had all the elements of an adventure. Crossing a beautiful but barren canyon, archaeological remnants, rare animals, and a beautiful city that lay hidden in the desert- what more could you ask for?  Find out more about my trip below, an excerpt from a feature I wrote for Vagabondish magazine:

California is not the only place to see film stars and movie sets these days. Qatar has its own piece of Hollywood set in the most unlikely of places. Deep in the desert of the Zekreet peninsula, hidden behind a canyon, lays Film City, one of Qatar’s truly bizarre sites!

As we travelled along a dirt path through a national park housing those elusive ostrich and oryx, the environment gently morphed into something altogether different. The brown pebbly surface of the desert transformed into a pale cream sand, with the waves of the Zekreet Peninsula shoreline twinkling in the backdrop. What was most remarkable however, were the series of ridges we now drove through, forming a miniature canyon.
Read more at http://www.vagabondish.com/qatars-own-hollywood-film-city/#15mY4lr5KjetbVpv.99

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Qatar’s Zubarah Site is Appointed UNESCO World Heritage List

Qatar is a country that holds a dear place in my heart. As a graduate I spent months driving all over the country to record and protect its heritage and eventually grew fond of its desert landscapes, and of its ability to spring archaeological sites upon visitors in the most unexpected of circumstances.  When I read that Qatar’s archaeological site Zubarah had been inscribed onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List, I felt this appointment was well-deserved. Having visited Zubarah several times and learnt about its history in relation to the rest of the world, the rarity of sites like this meant it urgently needed further investigation and preservation for the posterity of history. I was fortunate enough to visit Zubarah back in 2011, and you can read about my experiences visiting the site at Vagabondish magazine.

A two hour drive north from Qatar’s capital city Doha brings you into a region known as Al Shamal, where the clay-hued fort of Zubarah suddenly rises out of the horizon against the backdrop of the flat desert landscape. Once a central role in the pearl-diving industry from 1811 to the early 19th century, Zubarah faced a steady decline following the introduction of the Japanese pearling industry and the discovery of oil off of Qatar’s coast until the site was eventually abandoned in the early 1900s. Today archaeologists are excavating a small portion of the Zubarah town, and have already discovered an expansive complex of houses, streets, and mosques that denote a thriving trade industry. Over the decades a natural blanket of sand blown from the coastal winds has perfectly preserved this area, allowing archaeologists and historians alike a rare archaeological glimpse into the everyday life of the Bedouin who called Zubarah home. The fort however continues to stand resolute against time and weather erosion, a testament to Qatar’s early trade links stretching across the Indian Ocean, Western Asia, and Arabia.

With Zubarah making it onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup in 2022, this country’s tourism is set to rocket in the next few years. Now is a better time than ever to beat the crowds and explore the country’s heritage for yourself while it is still quiet. Zubarah is only one of Qatar’s treasures, there are still several listed below waiting to be explored…



Qatar's Own Hollywood: Film City

Qatar’s Own Hollywood: Film City


Al Jassasiya Rock Carvings

Al Jassasiya Rock Carvings



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