Dhow boat festival: Qatar’s long-rooted history of sailing seas – Doha News


Visitors can experience a distinctive ambiance that showcase the authentic maritime traditions inspired by Qatar’s past ancestors.

Calling all heritage lovers! The 11th edition of the Katara International Dhow Festival is in full swing with unique festivities and cultural shows, raking in a spectacular turnout from the community.

Held in Katara, the festival will run until Qatar’s National Day on 18 December and will feature vessels and displays from various countries, including Qatar, Kuwait, India, and Greece.

The festival is open from 9am to 12 noon and from 3pm to 10pm on weekdays and until 11pm on the weekend. On Fridays, the festival will open at 3pm.

Katara Dhow Festival 2015

Visitors can experience unique competitions, see traditional marine performances and take part in several cultural activities and events that reflect the heritage of Qatar’s ancestors.

Hosting the popular dhow festival allows the Gulf state to shed light on the relationship between modern-day Qatar and its history to highlight how essential the boats are in shaping the country’s identity and culture.

This, in addition to several other events, allows Qatar to revive and preserve its centuries-old maritime heritage.

For this year, over 85 crafts from Qatar will be displayed, and about 100 from the Sultanate of Oman, all of which are traditional vessels drawn from the maritime heritage of both Gulf countries.

“We would like to show the world the heritage of Qatar, and also what our neighbors have during the Dhow festival. Walking around you will see the old life of Qataris, how did they share their lives with others and how they lived in that period of time,” General Manager, Prof Dr. Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulait, told The Peninsula.

Around 40 events will take place during the festival, and several heritage collections from the countries participating, in addition to unique pavilions for traditional handicrafts, will be on display.

But what is the significance of dhows? 

The wooden dhow boats are deeply rooted in Qatar’s history and traditional sailing heritage. The boats have been cruising the waters of the Arabian sea for centuries, providing Qatari citizens with an essential lifeline to trade fresh water, fruits, and merchandise.

The dhows were used by Qataris to fish and dive for pearls, which played a huge role in Qatar’s history before the discovery of oil and gas led to a boom in its wealth.

More than a decade ago, Qatar launched an event that celebrated this history of its boats, which birthed the first edition of the Katara International Dhow Festival.

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