All photos by Doha News
The multi-billion riyal, Italian-inspired Al Hazm complex in Al Markhiya has finally opened its doors to the public, drawing thousands of curious visitors over the weekend.
The shopping center quietly soft-launched on May 1. Currently, only a few cafes are open inside the luxury development.
And for now, the mostly open-air Al Hazm is open daily from 5pm to midnight – “to avoid the heat,” a member of staff said.
More outlets will be opening in the coming months, and the entire development should hopefully be up and running by year-end, the staffer added.
Over the past few days, the venue has attracted significant interest from people keen to see its opulence up close.
Al Hazm, which means “the natural hill” in the Qatari dialect, is situated on a hill near Lejbailat signal.
The venue has been under construction for eight years, and has missed several previous opening dates, including in 2015 and 2016.
The project has been a big undertaking. Some 2,500 engineers, thousands of construction workers and more than a dozen architects worked on the development, whose offerings cater to the very wealthy.
The complex was built using more than 41,000 tons of marble and stone, which was specially shipped to Qatar from Jerusalem and Tuscany in Italy.
And specialist stone masons were brought to Qatar from Rajastan to carve intricate designs throughout the buildings.
Even the inside of the elevators are clad in multi-hued marble.
Many of Al Hazm’s features mirror those of Italy’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. It is housed in a 19th century double arcade in Milan, among other different Italian buildings.
Plans for the Qatar project were overseen by Mohamed A.K. Al Emadi, the company’s CEO.
His long-held fascination with Italy led to the creation of Al Hazm, the project’s creative director Georges Bou Ibrahim previously told Doha News.
More than 40 cafes, restaurants and shops are already signed up to open premises on the site, and workers could be seen putting the finishing touches on many of these.
Unlike Qatar’s other main malls, most of the retailers are not household names or popular franchises. Instead, they have been “hand-picked” from other countries.
Across five main blocks, there will be around 16 restaurants, including a Butcha Steakhouse, Asian eatery called Umami and a Big Smoke Burger joint, according to an Al Hazm brochure.
Cafes include the Belgian chocolatier Guylian Café and a Turkish ice cream parlor.
Seating for these eateries is mostly in a central grass-landscaped area, surrounded by more than two dozen olive trees imported from Italy and Spain, some of which are up to 600 years old.
Two broad walkways run the length of the avenue, using marble similar to the ones in Mecca, which aim to keep floor temperatures at 20C despite the surrounding heat.
Meanwhile, numerous wide piazzas and terraces throughout the complex allow plenty of space for strolling and people-watching.
Beauty salons, designer fashion outlets, perfumers and a bank are also slated to open there.
Additionally, an in-house library is planned as part of Al Hazm’s mission to promote art, culture and luxury.
This will house rare and valuable manuscripts and encyclopedias, reading rooms and books in Arabic and English related to art, architecture, culture and the Islamic world.
The showpiece of the complex is the Galleria – a stone and marble arcade with a soaring ceiling, topped with a 40m glass dome.
Its entrance features intricately detailed blue, gold and cream mosaics, which is replicated inside.
However, the Galleria is currently closed to the public, and staff could not say when it would open.
Previously, it was expected to house exclusive boutiques and jewelers.
However, no further details about these stores have been released, and one staff member said it may now be used as a venue for weddings and events instead.
Other facilities previously planned for Al Hazm include a ladies’ club, a children’s entertainment center and a 3,000 square meter underground auction and gallery space in the VVIP section by the glass pyramid.
Parking is underground, and can be accessed from the side and the rear of the complex. There are also drop-off and valet services at the front of the mall on Al Markhiya St.
Scooters, bikes, roller skates and hoverboards are not allowed in the development, and smoking and pets are also prohibited.
Have you checked it out yet? Thoughts?