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Last Saturday there was a trip to the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site in the north of Qatar, for Honorary Cultural Ambassadors. And on this occasion some of us took family with us as well. So Vic came along for the ride and an excellent guided tour of the site too.  A once thriving trading post for Qatar, Al Zubarah was home for between 5,000 and 9,000 residents at it’s peak.

Al Zubarah

Because I am lazy, I am just going to copy paste an extract from the Qatar Museums website

A WORLD HERITAGE SITE

Once a thriving port bustling with fishermen and merchants, the town of Al Zubarah was designated a protected area in 2009. Since then, Qatar Museums has led teams of archaeologists and scientists to investigate the site. Through their research and engagement with local communities, they are documenting and shedding light on the rise and fall of this unique area.

In 2013 the World Heritage Committee inscribed Al Zubarah Archaeological Site into the UNESCO World Heritage List. The site includes three major features, the largest of which are the archaeological remains of the town, dating back to the 1760s. Connected to it is the settlement of Qal’at Murair, which was fortified to protect the city’s inland wells. Al Zubarah Fort was built in 1938 and is the youngest, most prominent feature at the site.

 

Al Zubarah
A photo of Vic posing in front of Al Zubarah Fort I took back in 2012

If time allows, any visitor to Qatar should take a drive up north to experience Al Zubarah. It took me around 1 hour 30 minuets to comfortably drive the distance including a refreshment break.

Al Zubarah

 

Last night was the second training session for becoming an Honorary Cultural Ambassador for Qatar Museums. This time we covered Mathaf, Archaeological sites in Qatar, art in public spaces and HCA Communication skills. Once again a very interesting evening with excellent presentations from extremely knowledgeable people who really know their subjects.

Honorary Cultural Ambassadors Training Day 2

We have also been put into groups for our final assessment which will be sometime in January next year. This is when it will be our turn to make the presentations and prove we have been paying attention during the training sessions and visits.

Honorary Cultural Ambassadors Training Day 2

Honorary Cultural Ambassadors Training Day 2

I can’t remember the last time I went to an art gallery, but I think it was a school trip a German Encounters Exhibitionlong, long time ago. I had mixed feelings about attending this German Encounters exhibition because I’m not much of an artie, and I wasn’t sure if I would find a German exhibition particularly interesting. However after just 45 minuets of walking around the exhibits I was a total convert. A lot of the abstract paintings didn’t float my boat because well it’s just not my thing. But the photography was really, really outstanding and inspiring.

I enjoyed this guided tour as a part of the Honorary Cultural Ambassador training program so much, that I will be returning to the Fire Station independently next Thursday for the once a year Open Studio Night.

Open Studio Night at The Fire Station

There are 20 studios containing 20 different artists of varying types within the Fire Station. And on just one night a year they have an open evening where you can visit the artists in their studios to see what they are up to and have a chat with them.

Just being in the Fire Station itself, without even seeing an exhibition is a lovely way to spend time. It’s a peaceful place with much to see. If you like taking photo’s this is a fabulous place for you to get some quality snaps.

All the images posted in this article were taken on my Galaxy S7 Edge. I will need to go back with my Sony a7 to get some better photos in and around the Fire Station soon.

Yesterday evening was the first training session for the newly appointed Honorary Cultural Ambassadors, which I was lucky enough to have been selected for. Training took place in the cinema of the Fire Station Art Gallery and lasted for 3 hours.

There were four presentations covering the Museum of Islamic Art, the soon to open Qatar National Museum, the Fire Station and lastly the Olympic and Sports Museum due to open in 2019.

There was a lot to take in, and I started taking notes too late. But here are a couple of things I didn’t know and found interesting.

  • The architect of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) insisted that the building should be where it is, because he didn’t want it in a location where there was any risk of any new development ever overshadowing this amazing building. And because water has a calming effect for museums, galleries and such like.
  • The Qatar National Museum will open in 2018.
  • The Fire Station Artist in Residence Program had over 170 applicants this year. But the judges panel of 5 experts had to select only 20 artists. Each successful artist was given one of the 20 studios located in the Fire Station, financial assistance for materials and also mentoring. Old unused school buildings around Qatar are to be converted into studios to allow more artists to expand and develop their skills.
  • The Olympic and Sports Museum is under development at The new Khalifa International Stadium located in Aspire, and will open in 2019.

Honestly there was a lot of information, and I hope to be able to tell you more about each of the 4 museums in the coming weeks as I get more hands on with them. Starting with the Fire Station, which we are visiting tomorrow to have a tour of the current exhibition showing there.

The first training session for Honorary Cultural Ambassadors held at the Fire Station Art Galary