January 25, 2024

Malls, Mosques, Museums and Meals - Education City

Welcome to the second in our series of Malls, Mosques, Museums and Meals, where we shine a light on, as the title suggests, a mall, a mosque, a museum, and a top-notch place to grab a meal all within one area. So, if you are looking for activities that will fill up a day while minimising travel distances, read on…

Education City is home to nine Universities, a state-of-the-art women's and children's hospital, a host of sporting venues, including a 33-hole golf club, a world-class equestrian centre and one of Qatar's FIFA 2022 World Cup stadiums, some of the most awe-inspiring buildings in Qatar, an Instagram-worthy ceremonial court, beautiful green parks, a farmer's market, and some fantastic public art, including a series of 14 monumental bronze sculptures by Damien Hurst. Indeed there are plenty of attractions to entice you to visit Education City. But for now, let's explore the city's awe-inspiring mosque, its museum of modern art, a delightful mall and a nearby eatery…

Al Hazm Mall

Image: PhilipLange/Shutterstock.com

There is no mall within the Education City limits. However, within a short Metro ride, drive or taxi ride, there are a plethora of shopping havens. The Mall of Qatar, to the west of Education City and one Metro stop away, offers an array of shops, restaurants and cafes, and a myriad of entertainment escapes, including kids' theme and action parks, a 19-screen cinema, a bowling alley, an aviator lounge with Boeing simulator, and a theatre troupe. The Q Mall, Ezdan Mall, Gulf Mall and Landmark Mall to the east are all clustered around the C-Ring Road at Al Gharrafa and similarly offer an array of shops and dining experiences. Tawar Mall, a bit further east on Al Markhiya Street, is home to a traditional-style Arabian market and a host of modern outlets and eateries. The mall also offers a cinema, an amusement park, a trampoline park and a musical fountain. However, our favourite mall within the area surrounding Education City is Al Hazm Mall.

Al Hazm Mall, also located on Al Markhiya Street, is one of Qatar's most beautiful and opulent. Lavish Tuscan marble floors run through the mall, inside and out. Towering Roman-style columns line halls and plazas. Elegant Greek and Roman features adorn the interior, and a colossal glass dome sits above the central atrium, all marking this venue as a luxury destination. A temperature-controlled outdoor plaza dotted with green gardens, Italian and Spanish olive trees and stone water fountains, patios and terraces that cafes and restaurants spill out onto, and strings of twinkling lights hanging overhead make a perfect venue, day or night, to sit and admire the view and watch the world. And the shops and eateries that ring the central plaza: the definition of luxury - exclusive fashion houses and boutiques selling clothing, accessories, jewellery, perfume and beauty products, a McLaren showroom, cafes and restaurants offering 5-star, gourmet and nouvelle cuisine, create an ambience of grandeur. There is even an ornate library, styled like a bygone era and full of rare and valuable works to lose yourself in for a couple of hours.

Al Hazm is a place full of wonders and delights; it's worth a visit just to wander the foyers, halls and plazas admiring the grand, extravagant Italian-style architecture and interiors. If you can afford to treat yourself to luxury purchases or gastronomic food, all the better!

Getting There and Away, Costs and Opening Hours:

The mall is open every day from 9 am to 12 am, except on Friday when it opens at 10 am. The best time to visit is the evening when the glass domes are lit and fairy lights twinkle across the plaza.

The venue is easily reached via car or taxi; just follow Al Markhiya Street northwest out of the city. There is plenty of underground parking on site.

Contact Details:

Tel: +974 4411 1444

Web: https://www.alhazm.com

Education City Mosque

Image: Sirio Carnevalino/Shutterstock.com

Education City Mosque, one of Education City's most iconic landmarks, is a delight for art lovers, architects, those interested in Islam, or those just curious about such a beautiful building. Indeed, the mosque is open to visitors of all cultures and faiths and is well worth a visit. 

The mosque, opened in 2015, is a marvellous blend of modern abstract architecture and religious features. Most traditional mosques have a basic square or rectangular base, follow simple lines, feature conventional lighthouse-shaped minarets, and have, more often than not, rooftop domes. However, the Education City Mosque, which also houses an Islamic Studies school, is an undulating building that wraps itself around a central courtyard and four gardens before flowing up into sky-high minarets. Its two distinctive, contemporary steel minarets soar 90 metres into the sky and can be seen from miles around, a beacon for first-time visitors and worshipers. 

Built on five squat columns, said to represent the five pillars of Islam, the structure has many more unique elements. The facade is made up of small white interlocking geometric panels, adding to its abstract appearance; plus, the building's facade, including the minarets, is covered with embossed and steel calligraphic verses from the Qur'an. The effect is similar to a modern-day art sculpture. The main prayer hall entrance has a built-in waterfall, and inside, the cavernous white ceilings are dotted with thousands of diodes, giving the impression of the night sky lit with stars. 

The mosque's design was influenced by the Qur'an's emphasis on the significance of knowledge to achieve enlightenment. And, since the building which houses the Education City Mosque also houses HBKU's College of Islamic Studies, the mosque was designed to symbolise the link between the two. As such, all learning spaces within the building eventually lead to the Mosque. Practically, the mosque's main prayer hall and outdoor grounds can accommodate 1,800 people.

Getting There and Away, Costs and Opening Hours:

The mosque is open every day from 12 am to 11:30 pm. Mosque tours can be arranged in advance (call +974 4454 6600), and on a Friday, sermons are translated into various languages should you wish to listen.

Take a taxi or jump on the Metro to get to the mosque. The nearest Metro stations are the Al Shaqab or the Education City stations on the Green Line. You can walk to the mosque from either station or hop on a tram and alight at the Education City Mosque stop.

By car, head west out of the city and join Al Luqta Street on the other side of the C-Ring Road. At the junction between Al Luqta Street, Al Gharrafa Street, Huwar Street and Dukhan Road, you can find plenty of car parking options, the majority of which also link to the tram system.

Contact Details:

Tel: +974 4454 6600

Web: https://www.qf.org.qa/community/education-city-mosque

Mathaf - Arab Museum of Modern Art

Image: benbryant/Shutterstock.com

Mathaf Museum of Modern Art is a great place to visit whether you love culture and art or would just like to experience something of the modern Arab world.

The museum, housed in a former school building reimagined by French architect Jean-François Bodin, incorporates seven galleries of paintings, sculptures and other art forms that capture and represent the story of modern Arab art spanning the last two hundred years. Alongside the comprehensive permanent collection, the museum also houses five galleries dedicated to temporary exhibitions that showcase the works of renowned and up-and-coming Arab artists.

The museum, which opened in 2010, was originally conceived by Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed bin Ali Al Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family. The Sheikh, who studied modern art in the 1980s, became aware of a lack of information about or institutions dedicated to contemporary Arab art…so he started his own collection. Then, in 1994, Al Thani established his own museum and artists' residency before donating his collection to today's co-owners, Qatar Museums and Qatar Foundation.

Today, the museum has a multi-billion-dollar collection of over 9,000 artworks. The collection includes unique pieces from across North Africa, the Middle East and other places geographically linked to Qatar, dating from the 1840s to the current era. It is the most extensive collection of modern Arab art in the Middle East and the most extensive, specialised collection of its kind worldwide. 

The museum also has a library, a cafe and a gift shop and offers various creative programmes and workshops for children, families, and artists.

Getting There and Away, Costs and Opening Hours:

Mathaf Museum is free to visit, open from Saturday to Thursday, 9 am – 7 pm and Fridays, 1.30 pm – 7 pm, and is accessible by car, bus, Metro and tram. 

By car, visitors need to enter via Gate 14 off of La Luqta/Dukhan Street - though there are limited car parking spaces. 

The Mathaf Bus offers a free shuttle service between Mathaf and the Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar National Library, and the Fire Station: Artist in Residence, with buses running every hour during museum opening hours. 

The nearest Metro station is Education City on the Green Line. From the Metro stop, a public tram service is available to Mathaf - take the Blue Line from Stop 7 - Academy Green Spine to the Mathaf stop, Stop 2. The Mathaf stop is approximately 3 minutes walking from the Mathaf entrance.

Contact Details:

Tel: +974 4402 8830

Web: https://mathaf.org.qa/en/

Instagram: @mathafmodern

Qatar National Library Cafe and Restaurant

Image: Sirio Carnevalino/Shutterstock.com

If you’re feeling peckish while sightseeing in Education City, why not combine the sights with satisfying those hunger pangs? The Qatar National Library is an immense structure and well worth a visit even if you're not in the market for reading material...they also have a great cafe and restaurant on site!

From the outside, the library is an unusual horizontal, elongated 3D diamond shape. Inside is a cavernous main hall with modern individually lit display cabinets set on ascending steps that create an amphitheatre-type effect. Alongside around one million books, the main hall floor is strewn with bean bags, comfy chairs and board games, creating a fabulously relaxed atmosphere. A small cafe at the centre boasts hanging bubble chairs that add to the peaceful ambience that pervades the building. The cafe serves sandwiches, salads, cakes and pastries, soft drinks and coffee and is the perfect place to sit back and relax while you swing contentedly in a bubble chair. And tucked away behind the main bookshelves is a bright, airy restaurant serving soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, shawarma and desserts, and an array of main courses. Our favourites are the Chicken Biryani and the Vegetable Curry. Both the cafe and restaurant are designed to provide healthy, reasonably priced meals and refreshments to fuel inquisitive minds.

Aside from the books and refreshments, the library accommodates a Heritage Library full of rare and valuable books and artefacts, an amphitheatre, which regularly hosts the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, and a children's library with its own crafts and activities area. The library is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat, relax and soak up more of Qatar's great sites. 

Getting There and Away, Costs and Opening Hours:

The library is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm, except on Fridays when it opens at 4 pm. It is easy to reach the library via car, taxi and the Metro.

By car, visitors need to enter via Gate 14 off of La Luqta/Dukhan Street - though there are limited car parking spaces. You can leave your vehicle at Oxygen Park or the Education City Mosque parking lots and take the tram to the library instead.

The nearest Metro station is the QNL station on the Green Line.

Contact Details:

Tel: +974 4454 0100

Website: https://qnl.qa/en

Instagram: @qatarnationallibrary

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not have a flick through one of the others in the Malls, Mosques, Museums and Meals series? There are some great places to visit in Doha City:

Main image: EQRoy/Shutterstock.com

Published: November 17, 2022
Last updated: January 25, 2024
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