Four large steel plates in the middle of the desert? Umm…
They’re more than just steel plates. Richard Serra’s iconic steel sculptures stand 49 feet tall in Zekreet – they are ten times a human’s height and all four of them are perfectly aligned.
Zekreet? That’s pretty far off.
It’s a 60km drive to the Brouq Nature Reserve to see this majestic, modern installation – East-West/ West-East. The plates are adjusted for topography, so they are all level with each other, and with the plateaus on either side, too.
That went above my head!
Well, this is no ordinary piece of art. In simpler terms, Serra has enhanced the desert landscape with his provocative and timeless artwork, amidst the stunning limestone cliff formations in Zekreet. The installation spans over a kilometre and as the sun rises and sets, you get to see shadows that are cast upon the surrounding sands.
Timeless? You mentioned it is a modern piece of art.
The structure is supposed to look timeless – something that might have been there for centuries and will continue to stand for centuries to come, watching the rise and fall of civilisations. The plates have been built in smooth steel, in Serra’s signature russet patina of rust on all four.
There’s another Richard Serra sculpture just like this one, no?
Not really. This one is located in the middle of the desert and Serra’s other sculpture – 7 – is at the Museum of Islamic Art. It comprises seven steel plates, each around 80 feet high and arranged in a heptagonal shape to resemble a tower.
Okay, I’m in. How do I get there?
You’ll need a four-wheel drive to brave the rocky terrain there. Navigate to Zekreet on GPS and when you’re in the vicinity, you won’t miss seeing the large steel plates. It is highly recommended to go here in daylight.
Sounds interesting. Is there anything else to do around here?
Lots! It’s a great campsite, or even makes for a fun day trip. You can roll out the barbecues, chill through the night and witness one of the most beautiful sunrises in Doha here. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, do not miss the sinkhole, where temperatures drop really low as soon as you descend. There’s also a kitesurfing beach nearby and Zubarah Fort about an hour away.
GPS coordinates: 25.5171° N, 50.8710° E. Brouq Nature Reserve, Zekreet (4452 5555).
Four other top places to visit nearby
Al Maha Sanctuary
This is the only breeding place in Qatar for the national animal – the oryx. Drive to here to see what you normally never would around town – animals prancing around freely.
Ancient town of Zubarah
You can find an inner and an earlier outer wall, a harbour, a sea canal and two screening walls in what once used to be an important city for trade and pearl fishing.
An abandoned film set? Yes, please! You’ll find traditional mud brick houses, a mosque, minarets, lots of doors and a place to just chill and take a break.
This remote, rocky and secluded beach is perfect for kite-surfers. Make sure to take an instructor with you if you are not an expert. That, or just barbecue by the beach.