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Doha's Corniche

Doha's Corniche

Al Khor | Al Wakra | Corniche | Doha | Dukhan | Messaieed

A Walk Along Doha's Seafront

Easily the most attractive area of Doha is the Corniche. In the day, you can admire the incredible colour of the Doha's bay, in the evening you can appreciate one of the region's superb sunsets, and at night the city's blaze of light is reflected off the calm water.

Sheraton Hotel at the far end of the Corniche is one of Doha's most iconic buildings. A few years ago, this pyramid shaped hotel stood alone; now it is beginning to be overshadowed by the buildings shooting up all round it.

Next to the hotel is Sheraton Park. In addition to a childen's play area, and cool green lawns where you can sit back under the shade of palm trees, free wireless internet has now been made available here. Be careful to park in the marked bays here – otherwise you may return to your vehicle to find a parking ticket slapped the windscreen.

This car park is a popular posing place for Doha's ultra cool motorcycle crowd – you can sometimes admire the not-very-Muslim angel of death painted on one bike. These lads are part of the macho risk culture that exists among some of the younger Qataris here, and they often leave the parking area with an impressive wheely.

There is a popular little cafe here, where you can buy popcorn, snacks and drinks. Unfortunately, it is a little shabby, and does not match up to the rest of the Corniche. It also serves awful coffee - but its range of fresh juices are great. (Tip – you have to tell them if you don't want sugar in your juice.) In the car park opposite, drivers too lazy to walk the sparse few metres to the cafe sprawl in their land cruisers and blare their horns until waiters attend to them.

Further on you will come to Bal Hambar restaurant. This place sits right on the sea, so you can sit on cushions and enjoy traditional Arabic food as the waves lap below you.

Walk until the next roundabout, on the other side of the road, you will come to Al Bidda - also called Rumeila Park. This oasis of calm in the city is frequented by numerous species of birds, who are attracted by the grass, trees and water gardens. At one end of the park is a children's play area, where you can also buy refreshments. Beyond that is Doha's Heritage Village, which showcases traditional Qatari life during festivals and special events.

Continue along Doha's Corniche, and you pass an imposing concrete structure – this is the Emir's palace, though it is used more for receptions than as a place of residence.

The Islamic Musuem stands on its own artificial island.Nearly opposite is the parking place for a large number of traditional dhows. It is well worth a walk around, looking at the traditional fishing traps and admiring the wooden boats. This is also a popular place for fishing, which is forbidden around most of the Corniche. Rather than casting lines, most of these fisherman use long rods to get the bait to the small fish which they usually catch.

This used to be the location of the superb dhow restaurants, now sadly demolished. Look across from here and you will see the Museum of Islamic arts, which has been constructed on its own artificial island. Its opening has now been rescheduled towards the end of 2008.

On from the museum is a huge commercial harbour, and on the other side of this, fishing boats congregate, and sometimes you can buy fish fresh off the boats. There's also a little cafe where fisherman like to congregate to play dominoes, drink strong Turkish coffee and smoke shisha – flavoured tobacco placed on hot coals and pulled through long water pipes.

Boats come to the shore to sell their catch as the sun rises over Doha's Corniche.On the other side of the road is another park, barer than the other two but again with a children's playing area. This park backs into Qatar's National Museum – although this is under renovation, you can still walk around and look at the displays.

The restaurant Ras Al Nasa and Doha Club are at the very end of the Corniche and bring our walk to an end. Overall, the Corniche is clean, well maintained and popular, and offers a superb view of Doha's beautiful bay. If it only had a couple more cafes and some ice-creams parlours where we could rest our weary feet and soothe our parched throats, it would be perfect!

Doha's Corniche : Movie

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