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Al Khor cinema

Via Al Khor Mall

Al Khor cinema

After nearly a year of delays, Al Khor’s first cinema will finally open to the public today with screenings of Batman Vs Superman and Bollywood film Rocky Handsome.

The theater is located inside Al Khor Mall and can accommodate some 500 people across three screens.

In a statement, operator Qatar Bahrain Cinema Co. said that the show times will be as follows for the weekend:

  • Batman Vs Superman: noon, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm and midnight;
  • Batman Vs Superman (3D): 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8pm and 11pm; and
  • Rocky Handsome: 12:30pm; 3:15 pm; 6pm; 8:45pm and 11:30pm.

The cinema was originally expected to open last April, and then in the fall.

Speaking to Doha News last year, Al Khor Mall’s manager said that plans fell behind schedule while waiting government approvals.

The expansion of recreational offerings in Al Khor comes as authorities work to cater to residents outside of the crowded capital city of Doha.

Batman Vs Superman

Elsewhere in Qatar, the much-hyped face-off between superheroes Batman and Superman is being played by Novo Cinemas at the Pearl-Qatar and 01 Mall in Abu Hamour (where the big Mega Mart is).

Batman Vs Superman

Batman Vs Superman/Facebook

Batman Vs Superman

For information on screening times at these venues and to buy tickets to the two-and-a-half hour film, see Novo’s website.

The PG-15 film, which so far has gotten tepid reviews from critics, is also playing at Villaggio and City Center malls. See show timings and buy tickets online at Q-tickets.

Who’s going? Thoughts?

With reporting from Riham Sheble/All photos courtesy of MME

One of Qatar’s oldest and largest parks will reopen to the public this weekend after being closed for renovations since 2010.

The 240,000 square meter Al Khor park lies west of Al Khor municipality, and has undergone a QR250 million renovation.

It is being inaugurated today by the minister of the newly formed Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME).

The park now includes an aviary, a waterfall, a miniature golf course and a battery-operated train that can hold 36 people, according to a statement from the MME.

There is also a children’s play area, a basketball court, amphitheater, skating area and a museum (though it remains unclear what’s inside).

In terms of facilities, there are small cafeterias, water fountains, a restaurant, a mosque, 26 bathrooms and a parking lot with 700 spaces.

The park was scheduled to reopen in 2014, but its launch was reportedly delayed to ensure the facility was equipped with proper safety and security features – including installing a fence around a hill that overlooks the children’s play area.

A video of the space that the ministry posted on YouTube shows a well-manicured green space with flowers, trees and shaded areas.

The park is open to families from 8am to 10pm daily. On Tuesdays, it is reserved solely for women and children.

Here’s a Google Map we put together to help you find it:

Do you plan to visit? Thoughts?

Purple Island

Kamran Hanif/Flickr

Purple Island

Though the vast majority of Qatar residents continue to choose to live in Doha and its immediate outskirts, the ongoing population growth has put the city under increasing pressure, resulting in high rental prices, traffic gridlock and long waiting lists for schools.

As a result, authorities have begun investing in the former fishing towns of Al Wakrah and Al Khor by improving their amenities to make them a more appealing location for residents.

Al Khor

Ricky Majit/Flickr

Al Khor

Al Wakrah is undergoing significant expansion, with a new general hospital, a recently-launched outpost of Souq Waqif and multiple international schools opening up in the vicinity that capitalize on the city’s proximity to Hamad International Airport and to Doha.

But Al Khor is coming up in the world.

This week, Qatar’s public works authority Ashghal has announced that new hospitals, health centers, schools, roads and other infrastructure worth billions of riyals are being planned for the northern town in the coming years.

Mosque at Al Khor

arwcheek/Flickr

Mosque at Al Khor

While further away from the capital than Al Wakrah, Al Khor is also in the midst of redevelopment aimed at benefiting not only those working in nearby Ras Laffan industrial city, but also at attracting others who may be keen to escape the bustle of Doha.

At a public meeting this week, Ashghal outlined details of more than two dozen construction and infrastructure projects that are underway or are in the planning for Al Khor and the surrounding area.

Here’s what coming up – along with some other reasons why it might be great to live in Al Khor.

Better healthcare

Initially billed as an extension to the town’s existing hospital, Ashghal has now said it is planning a new QR3.6 billion, 500-bed hospital. The structure is currently in the design phase and work is expected to begin by the summer of 2017.

Current Al Khor hospital

HMC

Current Al Khor hospital

International consultants KEO announced in October last year they won a contract to oversee design and implementation of the new building. Facilities are set to include new operating theaters, outpatient clinics and an upgraded emergency department.

Additionally, a new health center is planned for the town. Currently under tender, construction of that QR3.6 billion project is expected to begin early next year.

More schools

Three new schools and a kindergarten collectively priced at more than QR200 million are set to be built in the town’s surrounding area by next fall.

This will be in addition to existing state facilities as well as Al Khor International School, which provides separate English and Indian curriculum education to 4,000 children of RasGas and QatarGas employees.

Improved roads

Al Khor coast

Peter Valcarcel/Flickr

Al Khor coast

Both the local road network through Al Khor and the main roads connecting the town to Ras Laffan and Doha are being extensively upgraded.

The Al Huwaila Road, leading to the industrial city, has already been widened from one to four lanes in each direction with new intersections built, to help reduce congestion.

To improve connections with Doha via the Al Shamal Road, new interchanges are being built while existing junctions are upgraded, service roads are being added and a cycle route is planned, all slated for completion by the end of 2016, Ashghal said.

Al Khor’s artery Commercial Road is also being reconfigured, with the road widened and new signal-controlled intersections replacing roundabouts, aimed at improving traffic flow and reduce congestion.

Expanded entertainment

In addition to creating a venue for the World Cup in 2022, the under-construction QR3.11 billion Al Bayt Al Khor stadium complex will also provide community facilities including a mall, hospital, mosque, hotel, communal rooms, parks and landscapes for horse-riding, running and cycling.

Al Khor Al Bayt Stadium

Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy

Al Khor Al Bayt Stadium

The 70,000-seater stadium, which will have a surrounding area of around 200,000 square meters, will be completed by September 2018.

The northern town is also set to get its first three-screen movie theater.

It was due to open in time for Eid Al Adha last month, but has been delayed because of “technical difficulties,” mall management said. It is now set to welcome its first customers by the end of the year.

In Al Khor Mall, the cinema will be operated by Cineco, a Bahraini company that currently manages 27 screens in Qatar, including at City Center and Villaggio malls.

Two of Qatar’s main farmers’ markets are also nearby, at Al Khor/Al Dhakira and Al Mazrouah Yard near Umm Salal Stadium.

The markets operate in the cooler, winter months and usually open from November, selling locally-grown fruit and vegetables, home-reared poultry and eggs, honey and even camel milk.

Lots of nature

Al Khor’s Corniche and beach area have been earmarked for upgrades, with additional parking and amenities such as bathrooms and cafeterias to accommodate weekend visitors in the works, its municipal officials have said.

Purple Island

Osama Saeed/Flickr

Purple Island

Meanwhile, its park, which is one of the biggest and oldest in Qatar, has undergone a QR250 million renovation over the last five years. It was due to reopen to visitors in August, but works still appear to be ongoing.

Al Khor is also next to some of Qatar’s best outdoor escapes, making it easy to explore nearby Purple Island and the Al Thakira mangroves, as well as the wild beaches of the state’s northern coast.

Would you consider moving to Al Khor? Thoughts?