Cultural Merge And Reproduction In Old Doha
Being in Doha, Qatar as an architect and researcher for a while, what took my attention the most in this city that is full of new architectural wonders was the old city centre with the narrow alleyways and traditional courtyard houses. Al Najada district that I had visited dates back to 1950s; developed and changed in time with the expansion of the city and addition of modern style buildings in time. What is also interesting in this neighbourhood is that the buildings on the periphery of the district are in early-modern and modern styles with more stories therefore they isolate the inner island of traditional buildings. Furthermore, the neighbourhood is not inhabited by its former residents today. Immigrant workers from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Iran are the current residents of the neighbourhood who has carried along their cultural background and merged it into their lifestyle in this neighbourhood. Especially on Fridays the neighbourhood becomes more lively since most of the residents are in the neighbourhood on their day-off for relaxing, cleaning and praying. Then these traditional style narrow streets and sikkats (alleyways) come to life in a different way. The washed working clothes can be seen hanging on the facades of the buildings as well as random couches and furnitures resting on the streets. Most of the houses have their doors open which contrasts with their original courtyard typology that ensures their privacy. The small shops and restaurants serving for the residents can be found int he neighbourhood, having karak tea is my favourite during my walks there. I find this neighbourhood significant for Doha due to its historical significance as one of the remaining older neighbourhoods in Qatar that reflects the changing architectural styles in the city since 1950s as well as due to the existing cultural production in the neighbourhood that reflects the mixture of the backgrounds of its current residents. The neighbourhood is also important since it is one of the oldest remaining urban piece that has not yet undergone the inevitable regeneration.
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