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All photos by Bosco Menezes (Big B Photography)

The ongoing Gulf crisis has resulted in a burst of nationalistic feelings in Qatar, among expats and locals alike.

Nowhere is this more visibly evident than on the Corniche, during the daily Ramadan car parades.

The annual tradition involves young people driving nice cars down Qatar’s main thoroughfare shortly before sunset. The activity helps pass the time before iftar and gives people a chance to socialize.

Bosco Menezes (Big B Photography)

Ramadan Car Parade 2017

But this year, it’s also offered a rare opportunity for residents to rally for Qatar’s leader, who is fending off calls from neighbors to change the country’s foreign policy.

Bringing people together

To show their support of Sheikh Tamim and Qatar, many motorists in the parade have adorned their cars with Qatari flags, as well as images of the Emir and Father Emir.

For those who haven’t yet had a chance to decorate their rides, some people could be seen passing out stickers on the Corniche.

Bosco Menezes (Big B Photography)

Ramadan car parade

According to photographer Bosco Menezes, who has lived in Qatar for almost 40 years, the Gulf disupute has changed things.

They “have brought us all living in Qatar together,” he said. “The kids saluting just warms your heart. Amazing.”

Thoughts?

All photos by Ray Toh

Windy weather notwithstanding, hundreds of people have been turning up to the state mosque before sunset to check out the Ramadan cannon there.

The cannon is part of an annual tradition in Qatar. It goes off each day during Ramadan to let Muslims know it’s time to break their fast.

According to photographer Ray Toh, the cannon was a big draw especially for families with small children.

Ray Toh

Ramadan cannon

Prior to it going off, kids are allowed to play in and around the cannon. They are then asked to step back for safety as soldiers fire it off (around 6:20pm).

Katara cannon

For those who plan to take their children to see the cannon, keep in mind that it makes a loud sound when it is fired, which can frighten some kids.

In addition to the state mosque, there’s also a cannon being fired daily at Katara Cultural Village.

Have you been to either this year? Thoughts?

All photos courtesy of SCDL

Qatar’s first World Cup stadium opened with a bang yesterday, wowing 40,000+ spectators with fireworks, cultural performances and a 20C pitch.

The venue’s launch comes five years before Qatar hosts the tournament and is seen by many as a huge step forward in 2022 preparations.

Last night’s match also saw Al Sadd clinch the Emir Cup after defeating Al Rayyan 2-1.

QNA

Qatar’s Emir at Khalifa International Stadium

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim awarded the winning team its trophy. And he also cut the ribbon to mark the inauguration of the stadium.

According to QNA, he “announced in the name of every Qatari and Arab citizen” that the venue is ready to host the 2022 World Cup.

Racing toward 2022

The game was also attended by several other sporting officials. These include FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Asian Football Confederation President Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.

FIFA will have the final say over whether the stadiums Qatar prepares to meet World Cup specifications.

SCDL

Al Bayt stadium progress, May 2017

It still has not decided on the number of venues Qatar needs to host the tournament. But it is expected to be around eight.

Organizers have set a 2020 deadline for all of the under-construction stadiums, but Khalifa International opened six months late.

Meanwhile, designs for three of the upcoming venues have yet to be released.

Amid pressure to complete all venues on time, Qatar also continues to be dogged by rights abuse concerns at stadium sites.

Innovative stadium

But the stress of the balancing act was put aside for at least one night during Khalifa Stadium’s reopening.

The venue has been lauded for its cooling technology, sleek design and upcoming sports museum.

SCDL

Sensory room at Khalifa International Stadium

It even has a “sensory room” for those who who want to watch matches without getting anxious or overstimulated.

In a statement about Khalifa International’s launch, Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SCDL), said:

“The completion of our first stadium more than five years before the Qatar World Cup begins is an important milestone that reflects our determination to deliver a tournament the entire Arab world is proud to be a part of.

As we promised in our bid, our innovative stadiums offer an unrivaled experience to fans and players alike. I’m proud we can show these off to the world and welcome fans with the hospitality this World Cup will be remembered for.”

Thoughts?