Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Heart of Doha – Disney Does Doha?

“No, it’s not DOHALAND!” I snapped at my friend. ‘It’s called the ‘Heart of Doha’ project.”

We were exploring the project in it’s first phase, the destruction phase, which is turning old haunts into several circles of hell – shopping hell, driving hell, parking hell, disorientation hell. And just as we were inching our way into a new diversion, I saw the big sign describing the future this funky area of Doha and telling us to go to ‘’

Oops. I apologized profusely and she very humbly pretended not to be gleeful that she was right and I was wrong. Well, actually, we are both right. It is both ‘Dohaland’ and ‘The Heart of Doha,’ but I shouldn’t have snapped at her over something so inconsequential. Blame it on the rain . . . umm . . . .err . . . the traffic.

Dohaland. I’m sorry, it sort of cracks me up. It’s just like Disney – JungleLand, FutureLand, etc.

I remember when the Suq al Waqif project first started, how outraged I felt, and how delighted I am to go down there now, where the shop-keepers have electricity that is reliable, even air-conditioning wafting out into the corridors, the appearance of ancient woven mats shading the twisting cobblestone street which no longer reaches out and grabs your heels, or changes levels unexpectedly. How can you be a successful curmudgeon when it turns out so positively? Even if it is a little bit Disney-does-Doha, it is so attractive!

What I love about what has been accomplished so far is how it has enhanced the experience for everyone. If you go down into the souks, you see more people. You used to see only a few westerners, now you see all kinds, even tourists, even your neighbors; you see every nationality down in the souks now, and people are actually buying things, not just killing time. There is a great variety of shops and restaurants, and even if the parking spots are tiny, there is parking.

Have you visited the website yet? I love the vision, although in one shot with people in suits crossing the streets, I want to shout “Hurry! Hurry! Or you’ll get run over!”

Here is what it is going to look like – and you can go to the Dohaland website and get a great big full screen map:


And here is what it looks like now:





These machines are like huge dentist’s drills, with points that pound down into the hard-packed Qatar soil to break it up so that foundations can be built:




It’s not unlike house-cleaning. When you pull everything out of the closets, out from under the beds, the drawers, those piles of things in the corner, for a while everything looks worse than it did before you started. Slowly, slowly, you create areas of organization and calm amidst the chaos, and slowly, slowly those areas expand, join, until the chaos is eliminated, you know where things are, and your living area is a calm and peaceful and organized oasis. I hope I get to see that day in Doha.

Update: Dohaland AKA Heart of Doha is now known as Musherib


October 22, 2009 - Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Building, Community, Doha, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Humor, Living Conditions, Photos, Qatar, Shopping, Social Issues


  1. I’ve only been through your airport but wish I could’ve seen more — not this, though

    Comment by davis | October 22, 2009 | Reply

  2. how long before phase one is ready for the public

    Comment by daggero | October 22, 2009 | Reply

  3. Picture 5, funny street name: “AL ASMAKH” street (Deaf man street)! hehehe

    Comment by Noura | October 22, 2009 | Reply

  4. Davis – Doha is worth a stop. 🙂

    Daggero, I don’t know. I was surprised at how quickly earlier phases were accomplished. And they seem to go ahead and open sections that are ready as they come ready, rather than wait to open an entire section. I am hoping to see some of it before we leave.

    No kidding, Noura? I had NO idea! Thank you for telling me that. There is also a Deaf Man Mall in Doha.

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 24, 2009 | Reply

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