July 06, 2023

Discovering Qatar’s World Cup Stadiums Post 2022

If you didn't know already, having been asleep for the last two decades, Qatar has been steadily growing its profile as an international sports host. From major regional sports events such as the Asian Games in 2006 and regional championships in athletics, basketball, fencing, football, handball, sailing, shooting and wrestling to world championships in amateur boxing, cycling, gymnastics, table tennis, volleyball, water sports and weight lifting, Qatar's portfolio as sports host is pretty extensive. 

Indeed, Qatar also plays host to numerous sporting events on an annual basis - the IAAF Diamond League (athletics), the Qatar Masters (golf), the IHF Super Globe (handball), the MotoGP and the FIM Moto (motor racing), the Qatar Open and the WTA Tour (tennis), and the FIVB Club World Championships (volleyball). More recently, they have hosted the FIFA Club World Cup, the FIFA Arab Cup and the F1 Qatar Grand Prix (with a contract to host the racing event for the next ten years). Then there is the FIFA 2022 Football World Cup, the biggest sports event in the world, with the hosting rights awarded to Qatar in 2010. Having this event in their portfolio has boosted Qatar's credentials as a major international sports host sky-high!

For such a small country hosting so many competitions and tournaments, the biggest question is, where do they host them? With a population of just under three million and a landmass of just under 5,000 square miles, does Qatar have the facilities to host? Well, the answer is yes. Qatar has a myriad of sporting venues available, from world-class golf courses, motor racing circuits and sporting complexes with multipurpose arenas and Olympic-sized pools to medium-sized stadiums and arenas for football, handball, volleyball, tennis, etc. And the piece de resistance is the eight stadiums built for the 2022 World Cup.

Constructed specifically for the tournament, Qatar's World Cup stadiums (seven new and one extensively refurbished) are a wonder to behold and a reflection of the nation that has worked so hard to become a global hub for sports. Stadiums shaped as traditional tents, regional headwear and crafts, those that resemble traditional sailing boats or sand dunes, and those created to embody sustainability rise from the horizon as beacons of the country Qatar has become and aspires to be. 

If you were to visit nothing else in Qatar, the stadiums would be well worth the trouble; they are architecturally astounding, each representing Qatar's history and culture, filled with state-of-the-art SMART technologies, and surrounded by beautifully landscaped precincts and some of Qatar's sightseeing highlights. Each arena was also designed to leave a legacy following the 2022 event that will benefit not only citizens of Qatar, but those of the wider world. Besides, Qatar is the only country in the world to date where one can visit all of the host's World Cup stadiums in one day - a great challenge to tick off the bucket list!

Visiting Qatar's World Cup Stadiums

Read on to find out what to expect when you visit, how to get to each stadium and what is in store for each venue now that the 2022 World Cup is over:

Al Bayt Stadium

Image: qatar2022.qa

Visible from miles away, Al Bayt Stadium was designed to resemble a typical Bedouin tent - the bayt al sha'ar. These tents were used by the nomadic tribes that used to roam throughout Qatar. Traditionally handmade from goat, sheep or camel hair, the tents were designed to keep the inside cool by allowing air to circulate freely. Inside, the stadium is kept cool via modern, solar-powered cooling technologies. Cool, palatial walkways lead guests around the centre pitch and multiple seating areas are adorned with sculptures and models of traditional objects used when camping. Outside, visitors can take in Al Bayt Stadium Park, which surrounds the arena. The park boasts vast green spaces, a man-made lake for boating, water features, kids' play areas, exercise stations, courts and pitches for football, tennis, volleyball and basketball, horse and camel stables and paddocks, and a multitude of restaurants and cafes.

Built in the coastal city of Al Khor, the (currently) 60,000-capacity venue is quick and easy to reach via:

  • Car or taxi on the Al Khor Coastal Road - plentiful parking space and drop-off and pick-up points are provided.

Following on from the 2022 World Cup, the upper tier of the Al Bayt Stadium will be removed, reducing the stadium's capacity to 32,000 seats. The removed stands will be donated to developing countries with little or no stadium infrastructure. The remaining arena will be converted into a modern, vibrant recreational venue for tourists and the local community. Amenities will include a five-star hotel and a shopping centre with a food court, gym and multipurpose hall. Thankfully, the beautiful stadium park will remain for all visitors to enjoy.

Al Janoub Stadium

Image: Fauzan Fitria/Shutterstock.com

Inspired by the bygone days of Qatari life on the coast - pearl diving and fishing - the stadium was designed to resemble the sails of traditional Dhow boats from the outside and the hull of a ship on the inside. The sleek curved lines of the arena's facade that glint in the sun's heat belie the cool interior. An innovative, specially designed cooling system helps to keep guests cool regardless of the outside temperature. However, on cooler days, visitors can walk the surrounding precinct complete with gardens, lawns, picnic areas, children's parks, tracks for horse riding, running and cycling, and numerous restaurants, or visit the nearby Al Wakrah Souq (a traditional-style market with many cafes and restaurants) or the beach.

Located 24 km from Doha, south of the bustling town of Al Wakrah, Al Janoub Stadium can currently accommodate up to 40,000 football fans and can be reached via:

  • The Metro Red Line to Al Wakrah Metro Station, followed by a Metrolink bus (No. M132 - Al Wukair South) to the stadium.
  • Car or taxi on the Doha Express Highway or the Al Wakrah Road - ample parking space and drop-off and pick-up points are provided.

Now the final whistle of the 2022 World Cup tournament has blown, Al Janoub Stadium is home to the local football team, Al Wakrah Football Club - though capacity will be reduced to 20,000 seats and the removed components from the stadium used for social and sporting development projects. A new retail complex, sports facilities and parkland, restaurants and cafes, a new mosque, a wedding hall and a market will be incorporated into the stadium's surrounding area.

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium

Image: qatar2022.qa

The proximity of Ahmad bin Ali Stadium to the desert heavily influenced its design and that of the surrounding complex. The stadium, with an undulating facade that wraps around the building, and many of the surrounding structures and landscape emulate the flow of sand dunes. However, the facade panelling uses geometric patterns, often found in traditional Islamic architecture, to symbolise important aspects of life for the people of Qatar. The facade, more practically, contains photovoltaic panels used to capture solar energy. Solar energy is used to power the cooling system designed specifically for the stadium. Guests visiting the stadium can also take in the delights of the Mall of Qatar while in the area. The Mall, the nation’s largest with an array of shops and boutiques, hosts year-round, free live theatre performances, has a substantial entertainment complex, and an abundance of eateries.

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, which currently boasts 40,000 seats, is located 23 km west of Doha city centre and is easily accessible using local and private transport, specifically:

  • The Metro Green Line and alighting at Al Riffa Metro Station.
  • Car or taxi on the Dukhan Highway - parking spaces are abundant and drop-off and pick-up points are provided.

Now the World Cup tournament has ended, the stadium is home to the Al Rayyan Football Club. The stadium's capacity will be reduced to 20,000 seats, with the removed facilities donated to the developing world. The local community will also benefit from the amenities in the complex surrounding the stadium. Sport and leisure facilities, such as pitches for football, cricket and hockey, tennis courts, tracks for cycling, walking, running and athletics, and an aquatics centre, have been provided to promote healthy lifestyles for all.

Al Thumama Stadium

Image: SanjayJS/Shutterstock.com

Al Thumama Stadium's striking circular, patterned facade is designed on the 'gahfiya' - a woven cap. The gahfiya is worn by boys and men in Qatar and throughout the Arab world. Young boys may wear the Ghafiya cap on their own. However, when boys reach adulthood and independence, the cap is worn as a base for the 'gutra', a loose headdress held in place by a black rope called an 'agal'. The gahfiya, therefore, is a symbol of independence and is part of a culture and tradition that spans the Arab world. However, the stadium is a truly modern arena, designed and operated using innovative sustainable technologies that guests can admire as they walk through its cool, calming interior.

At only 18 km from the heart of Doha city and a short drive from Hamad International Airport, Al Thumama Stadium, currently with 40,000 seats, is one of the easiest stadiums for visitors to reach via:

  • Car or taxi via the Doha Express Highway - multiple parking spaces and drop-off and pick-up points are provided.

Now the World Cup has moved on, Al Thumama Stadium and the surrounding complex will continue to inspire visitors and the local community to follow and participate in sports. The arena, reduced to a capacity of 20,000 seats, will continue to host football matches on a local and national level, as well as other sporting events. The surrounding complex, with running, cycling and walking tracks, courts for a variety of ball sports and facilities for swimming, will be a local sports hub. For visitors who want to get a closer look at the award-winning stadium or who fancy something novel, a boutique hotel will be built in the upper stands overlooking the pitch.

Education City Stadium

Image: qatar2022.qa

Education City Stadium’s design, inspired by Islamic architecture and made up of interlocking geometric panels, creates diamond-like patterns on the surface. The stadium patterns shimmer from a distance and change colour as the sun passes overhead thanks to the highly reflective cladding panels used during its construction - an effect that has earned the venue the moniker ‘Diamond in the Desert’! Surrounding the stadium, visitors can already make use of many green spaces, including a 33-hole golf course, the beautifully landscaped Olympic Park, some of Qatar’s most fascinating and awe-inspiring buildings, such as the Education City Mosque and the National Library, the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, and a world-class equestrian centre - all definitely worth visiting.

The stadium, currently with boasting 40,000 seats, is just 13 km from Doha city centre in Al Rayyan and is accessible via:

  • The Metro Green Line, alighting at the Education City Metro Station, followed by a battery-powered trams (Blue Line) to the stadium.
  • Car or taxi via Dukhan Road - plenty of parking spaces and drop-off and pick-up points are provided.

Now that the visiting 2022 World Cup supporters have left Qatar, work will begin on the transformation of the stadium and the surrounding precinct. The arena will be converted into a venue for local, regional and international sporting events, and the adjoining sports hub will serve the local community living, working and studying in Education City. The upper tiers of the stadium will be disassembled, and 20,000 seats will be donated to sports development projects abroad.

Khalifa International Stadium

Image: qatarliving.com

Khalifa International Stadium, one of Qatar's oldest sporting landmarks, was the only World Cup 2022 stadium redeveloped rather than newly constructed. Alongside an expansion in capacity to 40,000, the stadium facade was remodelled to give it an ultra-modern and sleek look. Above the stadium, two giant, 120m tall arches tower above the pitch and a canopy curve upwards from the stands to provide shade and protection from the sun. Inside the stadium, an energy-efficient, intelligent cooling system maintains stadium temperatures at 26oC. Around the stadium are a host of hospitality and VIP zones, retail space and the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum. Located in the Aspire Zone complex, Qatar's sporting centre of excellence, the stadium joins a multitude of state-of-the-art venues, including, Aspire Academy - a training and education centre for the development of world-class athletes, Aspire Dome - the largest indoor multi-sport facility in the world, Hamad Aquatic Centre, and a multitude of leisure facilities for the public - Aspire Park, Villaggio Mall and Hyatt Plaza Mall.

Lying 14 km from Doha’s centre in Al Aziziyah, the stadium is accessible via:

  • The Metro Gold Line, alighting at the Sports City Metro Station
  • Car or taxi via the Al Waab Road - plenty of parking spaces and drop-off and pick-up points are provided.

With the football World Cup completed, Khalifa Stadium will remain Qatar's premier and largest international sporting and events venue.

Lusail Iconic Stadium

Image: Visitqatar.qa/

Lusail Stadium, with its state-of-the-art architecture and engineering, high-tech user services and sustainable design, is a perfect fit for the city in which it lies - the ultramodern city of Lusail. The stadium, designed to emulate a fusion of Arabian crafts, rises from the ground into a gently curving, traditional handmade bowl-shaped design and will delight all who arrive at its doors. During the daytime, the facade catches the sun on aged-metallic panels. During the evening, intricate patterns carved into the panels create openings through which a warm light glows, like the traditional 'fanar' (lantern). Nearby, visitors can walk to the Lusail Marina and Promenade, Crescent Park, the Place Vendome Mall and a host of eateries.

The (currently) mammoth 80,000-seat stadium, located in the heart of Lusail, is 16 km north of central Doha and accessible via:

  • The Metro Red Line and a 10-minute walk to the stadium. 
  • Car or taxi via the Al Khor Coastal Road - a generous number of parking spaces and drop-off and pick-up points are provided.

The last World Cup closing ceremony fireworks exploded on December 18th 2022; now, the stadium and surrounding complex will be redeveloped into a unique community hub. The stadium will be transformed into a vibrant edifice housing schools, shops, restaurants and cafes, accommodation, sporting facilities, health centres and other public spaces. The seating and infrastructure removed from the stadium will be donated to other sporting projects around the globe.

Stadium 974

Image: qatar2022.qa

Stadium 974 is one of Qatar's most unique and exciting World Cup arenas. The 40,000-seat stadium, rather than using traditional building materials, was built using coloured shipping containers. The bright, colourful structure is an aesthetic marvel, but this smart building solution paves the way for future sustainable stadium construction. The clever use of containers and other prefabricated and modular components required fewer building materials and produced less waste than traditional stadium construction. Using modular components also helped reduce construction duration, saving time and costs. By its design, the stadium can be deconstructed after use, giving it an entirely temporary nature. Once dismantled, the containers, seats, roof and other prefabricated and modular components are recyclable. The carbon footprint of this type of stadium is significantly reduced compared to traditional design solutions. And, to top it off, situated alongside the beautiful Persian Gulf with views of some of Doha's best-known landmarks, the panorama from the stadium complex is the most spectacular of all eight World Cup 2022 stadiums.

Perfectly positioned only 1.5 km from Hamad International Airport and only 10 km from Doha city centre, the stadium is easily accessible via:

  • The Metro Gold Line, alighting at the Ras Abu Aboud Metro Station and walking 10 minutes to the stadium.
  • Car or taxi via the Ras Abu Aboud Expressway - parking spaces are plentiful and drop-off and pick-up points are provided.

With the 2022 World Cup football tournament all boxed off and the stadium to be dismantled, the remaining complex will be redesigned as a waterfront venue. A host of shops, restaurants, cafes and green spaces will be provided for visitors and locals to enjoy in a stunning location on the water's edge.

If you visit the World Cup stadiums, you can make the most of your trip by visiting various other attractions near each arena. Plus, you never need to go hungry during your explorations; the areas around each stadium have plenty of options for keeping you fed and watered and your energy levels up. Check out the following articles for recommended sights, attractions, cafes and restaurants in and around Qatar's awe-inspiring and delightful World Cup venues:

974 Stadium:

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium:

Al Bayt Stadium:

Al Janoub Stadium:

Education City Stadium:

Khalifa International Stadium:

Lusail Stadium:

Al Thumama Stadium:

And if you’re a lover of all things Instagrammable, check out the following article:

Main image: qatar2022.qa

Published: June 25, 2022
Last updated: July 06, 2023
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