The restoration comes as part of Qatar’s vision of preserving the country’s identity and traditional values.
Qatar Museum’s (QM) Department of Architectural Conservation has finalised the restoration project of the historic fort in the northeast are of Qatar called Al-Rekayat.
Al-Rekayat is one of the few forts that was renovated in the 1980s. The restoration process was done under extreme cautiousness so that the fort is not completely stripped off of its original structure. The remnants of its original form can still be seen in the courtyard, according to QM.
Historical sources date the origin of the fort between the 17th and 19th century, according to reports. As its build-up embodies the traditional and local feature, the Al-Rekayat (“well” in Arabic) fort signifies a unique architecture found in the deserts of Qatar.
Adel Abdullatif Al-Moslamani, Director of Cultural Heritage Conservation at QM said, “as part of a concerted effort to safeguard our past for future generations, we set out to restore one of our country’s principal heritage sites to its former glory. Al-Rekayat fort is a breathtaking relic of Qatar’s rich history where our forefathers guarded valuable water resources for nearby coastal villages. With respect for the century-old structure, our team worked carefully to preserve and reinforce the original fort, allowing it to carry on the story of our past for decades to come,” he added.
Following the initial attempts at restoring the fort in 1988, the historical site experienced damages as a result of an environmental toll on its infrastructure. QM’s vision of restoring and uncovering ancient sites in Qatar follows blueprints of global conservation standards and restoration techniques. Through the use of “traditional and authentic building materials,” QM’s restoration project focused on “the main structural components of the building, including plaster, flooring, installation of a wooden ceiling, doors, and treatment against pests.”
According to QM, the fort was built to protect the sources of water in the area. The presence of a “freshwater well in the fort itself and the scattered remains of a village close to the fort support this assumption.” The fort was also a safe haven for the immediate region’s population “in case of potential conflicts between tribes,” QM added.
Cultural preservations is an integral part of Qatar’s aim at developing economic, human, social and environmental sectors. Through uncovering historical architecture and preservation of traditional sites, the country’s distinctive Arab and Islamic values and identity is further emboldened.
Al-Rekayat fort “now stands as an enduring landmark of Qatar’s cultural identity, giving forthcoming generations an important insight into the defence architectural,” according to the report.
QM’s efforts in transforming Qatar’s cultural developments
Qatar’s cultural developments is also highlighted through QM’s plan to transform the country’s landscape into a large open space “art museum experience” in commemoration of Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022, according to reports.
Beginning in November last year, QM’s plan will pursue the implementation of more than 40 new and commissioned public artworks throughout Qatar until the country’s grand World Cup event.
Following its “commitment to preserve, restore and expand the country’s ancient architectural identity, the Architectural Conservation team at Qatar Museums has helped realise a critical aspect of Qatar’s National Vision 2030,” the report noted.