Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, The Emir of Qatar, Katara’s 3rd Traditional Dhow Festival, which is one of the largest festivals in the region and the world specialized in maritime heritage, was announced today. In cooperation with Qatar Museum Authority, the festival will take place from November 19th until 23rd this year. Moreover, the launch of the Fath Al Khair journey, which is one of this unique festival’s most important events, was announced as well. This journey aims at reviving and preserving the cultural heritage of our ancestors’ travels and transportation across the world using dhows, as well as teaching the young generations about this kind of travel via dhows and promoting Qatari history. In the age of modern transportation, this is considered the first trip of its kind in the region due to the unavailability of dhows that have the capacity for such journeys and the lack of experienced youth in that field.
The Fath Al Khair journey has been launched to revive the cultural heritage once again and promote Qatari history to the world while also educating and sharing Qatar’s legacy with the younger generation. .
The boat will set sail on the 22nd of November at Katara beach for a journey of 27 days, making its first stop in Bahrain. After Bahrain, Fath Al Khair will make its way to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) then sail to Kuwait. The journey will then continue to the shores of Oman ,then making its way to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Fath Al Khair will depart from UAE for its final stop in Qatar, arriving on National Holiday, December 18.
Dr. Khalid Ibrahim Al-Sulaiti, General Manager of Katara, said: “We are proud to announce the Fath Al Khair journey which will revive and bring back our strong cultural heritage. This voyage will provide us with an excellent opportunity to showcase Qatari history to the world and educate our Qatari generation on this very unique field of sea navigation, whereby young Qatari sailors can meet their GCC counterparts to exchange expertise. Katara is committed to nurturing and educating the generation of today by providing them with the opportunity to learn and discover different fields of art, culture, and science.”
Fath El Kheir is a 45-metre-plus traditional sailboat built exclusively for the Emir of Qatar, Al Thani in 1983 by Amireya workshop in Qatar. Initially made to promote tourism trips for the Ministry of Information and Tourism, Fath El Kheir is now part of the cultural and heritage initiatives of Qatar Museums Authority.
Mr. Rida Mousa -Representative from Qatar Museums Authority said: “Qatar Museums Authority is keen on reviving and preserving Qatari heritage, especially the maritime legacy as the QMA’s collection of sailboats is considered one of the most important Arab traditional dhow collections in the GCC region.”
Qatar Museums Authority places a high importance on the heritage when it comes to preserving national identity, thus has prepared, in cooperation with Katara Cultural Village, one of its biggest traditional dhows to set sail on a journey across the GCC states.
Hasan Al Kaabi, Dhow Captain, said: “I am very proud to lead this amazing journey and showcase Qatar’s heritage and history to the millions living in this region. The sea played a huge role in our past, it was the bridge of exchange between different cultures and societies in Qatar and the rest of the region, and we are here to bring this back to life once again with the support of our young generation.”
GCC citizens who have expertise in the field of sea navigation as well as Qatari youths who have a desire to learn about this kind of travel and adventure will have the opportunity to take part in this trip.
Mr. Saleh Youssef Al Kuwari, Dhow Crew Member, said: “The launch of the Fath Al Khair trip is the best way to connect the Qatari youth with their past customs and tradition as well as shed light on the importance of learning and exploring the field of sea navigation.”