July 06, 2023
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Exceptional Attractions Close To Education City Stadium

Education City Stadium view from Education City Golf Club

When the FIFA World Cup Qatar kicked off in November 2022, hundreds of thousands of visitors and fans began traversing the Arab nation to watch their chosen matches at the eight tournament stadiums. Travelling by car, taxi, bus or Metro, World Cup fans found themselves in various areas they may not have visited before or outside of the tournament. And while football was the main priority during the competition, many will have taken the opportunity to explore the sights and sounds of somewhere new.

The World Cup tournament may be over, but visitors will still flock to the now iconic 2022 tournament arenas as historical and architectural wonders. As such, many will also gather around the fantastic sights and attractions in the vicinity of each stadium. So, if you have some downtime, why not join them and see what else Qatar has to offer?

In this article, we'll give you a helping hand to discover these new diversions. We will be introducing you to Education City Stadium and the sights and attractions in the neighbourhood that are worth exploring:

Education City Stadium

The Education City Stadium is located in the Ar-Rayyan district of Qatar, less than 15 km northwest of Doha. The World Cup venue is easily accessible by road or via the Metro Green Line and has the added advantage of being served by battery-powered trams. The trams operate to and from the Education City Metro Station, car parking facilities, and the 2022 tournament venue.

The stadium, nicknamed the 'Diamond in the Desert', incorporates geometric diamond-shaped patterns inspired by Islamic architecture across its facade. It has highly reflective cladding panels underneath, creating a shimmering, colour-changing effect as the sun passes over the stadium. And at night, thousands of tiny diodes illuminate the same panels. Hence, the aptly given diamond in the desert reference. Day or night, this stadium is breathtaking and a great place to get some Instagramable pictures.

Though the celebrated structure will remain a prominent landmark in Education City, with the 2022 World Cup all wrapped up, the stadium and the surrounding complex will be redeveloped. 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 - all the more reason to pay a visit. 

Alongside the stadium sit nine Universities, a host of sporting venues, a 33-hole golf club, a world-class equestrian centre, and some of the most awe-inspiring buildings in Qatar. Indeed there are plenty of attractions within walking distance of the stadium grounds. So, let's explore further…

Nearby Sights and Attractions

You can easily reach an array of exciting diversions from Education City Stadium, from museums to horse-riding stables. Our favourites include Education City Mosque, the Mathaf Museum of Modern Art, Oxygen Park, the Qatar National Library and the Education City Golf Club.

Education City Mosque

Image: No.8/Shutterstock.com

Education City Mosque is one of Education City's most iconic landmarks. Its two contemporary steel minarets soar 90 metres into the sky and can be seen from miles around, leaving first-time visitors wondering what type of building it could be. On closer inspection, it becomes evident that the building is a place of worship. Still, this modern mosque has many other distinctive features that separate it from traditional mosque design. Most mosques have a basic square or rectangular base, follow simple lines, feature conventional lighthouse-shaped minarets, and, 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 the sky-high minarets. 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 is encompassed by embossed and steel calligraphic verses from the Qur'an inside and out and flowing up both minarets, reminiscent of modern art sculptures. 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 up with stars. 

Open to visitors of all cultures and faiths; the mosque is a delight for art lovers, architects, those interested in Islam and those just curious about such a beautiful building. 

The mosque is located east of the stadium and can be easily reached on foot in half an hour, or for a quicker option, jump on the free tram service on the Yellow Line, alighting at the Education City Mosque stop. 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.

Mathaf Museum of Modern Art

Image: Qatar Living.com

Mathaf Museum of Modern Art, located a stone's throw from the football stadium, is a great place for culture vultures and anyone interested in modern art. 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, became aware of a lack of information about or institutions dedicated to contemporary Arab art…so he started his own collection. Today, the museum, co-owned by Qatar Museums and Qatar Foundation, has a multi-billion dollar collection of over 9,000 artworks, many of which were donated from the Sheikh's original collection. It is the most extensive collection of modern Arab art in the Middle East and the largest specialised collection of its kind in the world. 

Inside the museum, in permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, the collection includes contemporary works from the region, the wider Arab world and artists from countries linked to Qatar through culture and history. Local and international artists' works can be found in the galleries in various formats and media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, collage, digital art, photography, video art and installation art. The exhibitions cover various themes, many around cultural development in modern times, and deal with a raft of subject matter, from colonialism to the impact of the digital era. 

Regardless of your artistic or cultural affiliations, the Mathaf Museum is a fascinating place to visit with beautiful art and ideas to consider; if nothing else gives you a little window into the modern Arab world.

The museum, located west of the stadium, can be reached in 10 to 15 minutes on foot or in minutes via the Blue Line Tram. The museum is open Saturday to Thursday from 9 am -7 pm and on Fridays from 1:30 pm to 7 pm. Entrance is free, and there is a cafe on-site should you need refreshments. You can contact the venue at +971 4402 8855 or check them out online at mathaf.org.qa.

Oxygen Park

Image: Qatar Living.com

Oxygen Park, aptly described as the lungs of Education City, is a beautiful 130,000 sqm landscaped area amid the city's university campuses and next to the Education City Mosque. The park, designed to be an outdoor oasis for the campus community and other visitors to the area, manages to incorporate a little something for everyone into its grounds. The park is divided into two distinct areas - one two-level zone for sports and one zone for recreation. On the sports zone's lower level are three circular, multi-use sports pitches, volleyball courts and a running track, grassy banks and amphitheatre-style seating for watching sporting activities and events, and a horse-riding track and picnic area on the upper level. However, it is the semi-covered and air-conditioned pathway that runs around the edge of the lower-level sports pitches that always catches our attention. Perfect for strolling on a hot day, the waterfalls, which cascade from above, offer a refreshing spray of cold water as you pass by and a perfect Instagram shot opportunity! The recreation zone, which can be reached from the upper level of the sports area, encompasses plenty of grassy areas for picnics and leisure activities. It also offers a heritage area displaying traditional-style buildings, a children's playground, an amphitheatre with water features to dip toes in, individual gardens and a covered Qur'anic Botanic garden, which showcases and preserves plants referenced in the Qur'an, and Qatar's native flora.

So, if you have time after visiting the stadium and fancy a stroll somewhere cool, calm and tranquil, to sit and watch sports activities unfold or let the kids blow off steam, Oxygen Park is a definite contender. The park is open daily from 6 am to 9 pm and is easily reached from the stadium in less than half an hour by foot and in minutes on the tram on the Yellow Line to the Al Khater House stop.

Qatar National Library

Image: Sirio Carnevalino/Shutterstock.com

A library may not be your first choice of entertainment venue when visiting the Education City Stadium. However, the National Library of Qatar is an exceptional place to while away a tranquil few hours. Shaped like a horizontal, elongated 3D diamond, two entire lengths of the building are made of glass walling, adding light to an already bright white, cavernous library hall. Indeed, vertiginously high, glossy white ceilings, polished marble floors, bright lighting and modern, individually lit, white display cabinets, set on ascending steps up to the roof, gives the sense of entering a heavenly otherworld. Alongside around one million books adorning the brightly lit display cabinets, the main hall floor is strewn with bean bags, comfy chairs and board games, providing a thoroughly relaxing space for readers and visitors. A small cafe at the centre boasts hanging bubble chairs that add to the relaxed atmosphere that pervades the building. 

However, it's not all relaxation and tranquillity at the library. Tucked away behind the main bookshelves is a comfortable and secure children's library with over 100,000 kids' books, interactive learning areas, educational toys, crafts tables, and even a climbing wall and soft play area for the younger ones. Individual technology rooms can be hired hourly and are furnished with 3D printers, green screens, video and photography equipment, sound recording equipment, musical instruments, electronic and robotics equipment, and all relevant software. An amphitheatre in the main hall is often open to the public, with performances by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra a regular treat. There is also a Heritage Library on the Ground Floor to explore. It consists of rare and valuable books and artefacts relating to Arabic and Islamic civilisation. And, there is a restaurant providing healthy, reasonably priced meals and refreshments. 

The library is perfect for spending your downtime in a quiet, peaceful environment, reading, studying, discovering and enjoying this marvellous space. Open daily from 8 am to 8 pm, except on Fridays when the opening is at 4 pm, access is free, and the library is easy to get to from the stadium. You can walk door to door in half an hour or jump on the tram headed east on the Yellow Line and alight at the Multaqa stop. For more information about the library, visit their website, www.qnl.qa.

Education City Golf Club

Image: SLSK Photography/Shutterstock.com

With a stunning view of the FIFA World Cup Stadium, the city's university buildings, and world-class courses dotted with water features and mock desert terrain, the Education City Golf Club is a spectacular place to spend a few hours while you're in the area. The club boasts a first-class 18-hole championship course, a 6-hole championship course with various pars allowing for short format games (less than 90 minutes), and a floodlit 9-hole par three course for beginners, all designed by professional golfer Jose Maria Olazábal to USGA standards. The club is also blessed with a flagship Centre of Excellence training academy. It offers numerous training opportunities using some of the most sophisticated, innovative technologies to help golfers master their stroke, posture and many other skills. The academy incorporates a Trackman putting range, with an automatic PowerTee ball set up and a smartphone ball tracking application. As well as a Zen Putting Lab for stroke analysis, a 3D Gears Analysis Studio for analysing club and body movement, and a studio with an automated tilting floor for practising sloping lies. The club also offers a ladies-only practice studio, driving range and short-game practice facility. And with a top-notch clubhouse, what's not to like? 

The club opens daily from 6 am to 9:30 pm and is accessible to all ages, professionals to non-golfers, individuals to groups, families and kids. You can book a slot from one to four people on the 6 and 9-hole courses any day of the week. You can also take a 45-minute lesson from a professional coach (lady coaches are also available) for QAR 450 (just over 100 Euros, British Pounds or US Dollars) and practise your swing on the Trackman driving range, with a minimum of 5 buckets for 250 (QAR). For more information on booking, lessons and hiring equipment, contact the club at +974 7773 7973 or check out their website, www.ecgolf.com.

You can see the golf club from the World Cup stadium, but to get to the clubhouse, you need to walk a 30-minute circuitous route past the Mathaf Museum and round onto Al Rayyan Al Jadeed Street or grab a taxi!

Refreshments

If you need something to eat and drink while you explore the area, try the Chef's Garden at the Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre southeast of the stadium. This modern, light, airy award-winning restaurant, with a green lawned garden, sunlit terrace and pool, is the perfect oasis hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the city to grab an unhurried bite to eat. And the food is as fresh and tasty as the restaurant name suggests; seasonal cuisine with organic meats, locally produced vegetables, and herbs from the chef's own chef's garden.

You'll find the garden at Al Shaqab, Gate 6, open from 7 am to 9 pm, Saturday to Friday. If you want to check out the menu beforehand, look at the restaurant website, www.chefsgardendoha.com, or call them at +974 4409 5040.

Main image: Sanjay JS/Shutterstock.com

Published: November 05, 2022
Last updated: July 06, 2023
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