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28 April 2008 08:54 am

Wakra to become a model city

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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With the Urban Planning Development Authority (UPDA) announcing its decision to develop Al Wakra as a model city, the heritage structures in this city is all set to get a facelift. The multi-billion dollar project has a special focus on the restoration of Wakra's historic core which, with its traditional architecture, retains a distinctive identity. Considering the city's heritage history, a separate area will be developed as a heritage zone. The master plan also proposes the restoration of Wakra's old forts and its famous cultural museum. It also proposes to set up a state of the art marine museum that would replicate the marine life of Wakra's yesteryears. The Al Wakra Museum, which was closed down recently, has a rich collection of artifacts that give a glimpse into the lives of people in the country in earlier days. Right up until the 1940's, the majority of the population in Qatar, in one way or the other, was involved in the pearling trade. More than a job, it was a way of life for them. Pearling dhows could be at sea for weeks. Qatar's modern history has it that Wakra had a fleet of 150 pearl fishing boats during the early 20th century. The proposed marine museum will depict the pre-oil era social life of Wakra. An overview of Al Wakra city and fishing boats moored at the port. Wakra is to be developed as a model city in a multi-billion project that promises to transform it into a vibrant urban centre. (ABDUL BASIT) The UPDA has plans to create a special zone for upmarket commercial complexes, exclusive zones for nationals, mixed residential areas for nationals and residents; and a special zone for single residents. The master plan has conceptualized special zones for educational institutions, public offices, commercial complexes and a marina. Wakra's new downtown regional centre will be divided into different segments. They include Wakra Gateway, Wakra South Square, Wakra Festival Bay, Wakra Sands, Wakra Residence, Wakra College and Wakra Trade Center. The Wakra Gateway will be an exclusive zone for major government and public offices. The South Square will be a mix of office complexes, residential apartments and middle and small retail outlets. The Festival Bay will be marked by resort hotels, business investment hotels, a maritime museum on the waterfront, and a marine, arts and cultural centre. The master plan envisages Wakra to be developed as a preferred waterfront destination and a vibrant city which people would really want to visit and stay over. The Peninsula