The second day of the 10th Katara Traditional Dhow Festival witnessed a number of VIP guests from the country’s diplomatic community, as Red Crescent volunteers continue to ensure that visitors adhere to safety measures following the guidelines of the Ministry of Public Health to prevent the spread of COVID-19.   

The festival, which features a number of heritage pavilions from participating countries – Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq, India and Tanzania – will continue to receive visitors this Thursday and Saturday, from 10 am to 10 pm, and on Friday, from 1 pm to 11 pm.

Sea Culture

Qatar’s extensive sea culture and methods are displayed in different ways each year at the decade-old festival. Each year is uniquely highlighted for younger generations.


This time, Qatar’s pavilion Bayt Al Ezwa has been divided into two parts: the diving section and the traditional fishing methods section including Al Tawash and Al Nakhudah. Six other types of traditional boats used in Qatar for deep sea diving, which are smaller than ships, called the Sanbuk and Gilboot, are also on display. Details of Qatari ships used for sea travel in olden times, including the owl and Al Bateel, are also depicted.

Further exploring the deep sea diving culture in Qatar, Qatar Museums also have a display of boat models used in the olden times.

Reda Moussa Al Hajj, supervisor of the Heritage Boats Department at Qatar Museums, said they consider themselves participants and contributors of the festival since they joined the very first edition.

Every year we display historic old boats but this year, we have restricted ourselves to some valuable heritage models which have ceased to exist now.

The boats were used in the olden days for diving and old trade, in addition to some original models, which were also made in Qatar. Al Hajj said that these boats have been in existence from the time of the opening of the old museum and have been preserved as they are and are very rare.

Old DhowKuwait also brought a model of the ‘water ship’ used in Kuwait during the last century. In Kuwait, like the rest of the Gulf countries, water was scarce and they carried Shatt al Arab (water reservoir) on the ship, which the children of the current generation do not know.

Kuwait representative Mubarak Al Khashdi, their pavilion includes most of the old crafts used by Kuwaiti sailors to make ships. In terms of public response, he said that this year has a very good visitor turn out.

The Tanzania tent is showcasing handicrafts and spices from their country. Zamzam Hran, who manages the pavilion, said they have documentary images from Zanzibar and from a number of traditional ports and connections with a number of Gulf countries that had trade relations with Zanzibar. They also have Zanzibar spices and handicrafts that show their common history with the region.

Qatar Fine Arts SocietyAlso a stand out at the festival is the presence of artists painting the sea, boats and the live imagery featuring various activities by the sea – a boat sailing, a jet boat speeding in the waters or a child playing by the beach, and even an abstract image.

Russian artist Kristina Aladwan, a member of Qatar Fine Arts Society, is attempting a 3D art painting of a large traditional dhow. Even as a number of her work is on display inside a gallery, Kristina is painting in the open and keeps attracting onlookers and curious enquiries.

Back here (in Qatar) and painting, I feel very good because things have started to get back to real life following the pandemic.

According to Kristina, it’s been five years since she painted the traditional Qatari boats, her favourite subject. She hopes to complete a special painting before the end of the festival.

Similarly attracting a lot of attention is Qatari artist Fouz Saif, a former member of Qatar Fine Arts Society. Fouz said a lot of visitors like her paintings and some even ask her to make similar paintings for them.

Meanwhile, the first of the competitions – Hadaq Al Syf, a solo fishing competition in the sea – already saw a number of registered competitors. The biggest catch will be judged on the final day of the festival on Saturday, 5 December.

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