Inside "Film City," Qatar

Longtime Boing Boing reader Jethro Stamps, a freelance photographer based in the middle east, shares a wonderful set of photographs he shot in Qatar at Film City, an old abandoned film set in the heart of the desert. "It's a very odd place indeed," he says, "made stranger by the fact no-one seems to know what any of it was ever used for."

More images and Jethro's story about the visit, below.

FILM CITY / Jethro Stamps.

Out on the deserted west coast of Qatar, well away from the construction and gridlock of the capital Doha, the scenery quickly turns bleak.

Over the course of two trips we planned to find and explore the fabled Film City, an old abandoned film set in the heart of the desert.

On the first trip we got lost and found nothing but some rocky outcrops, hewn into unlikely shapes by the coastal elements, along with a glorious sky (the final five shots in this set).

Our second trip saw us slightly better prepared and we found the lost set a mere five minute drive from our previous trip. It was significantly less interesting than we'd imagined.

So spotting a hut in the distance we drove to the next valley where most of these pictures where taken.

Old, abandoned round huts, solidly built, haphazardly scattered around the valley, one of which perched precariously on a seemingly inaccessible mound.

The only signs of life being a pair of abandoned boots, the occasional cairn and a skull and crossbones sprayed on one of the buildings.

There was a desert fox too, but it ran away. We have no idea what the huts were used for. Part of the film set perhaps?

All photos taken with a Canon 60D and a 17-40 f.4 L. The majority are HDRs taken using the excellent (and free!) Magic Lantern custom firmware tool.

All photos by Jethro Stamps. He's at, if any assigning editors want to hire him for work!

(via BB Flickr Pool)


  1. Having lived in qatar for a number of years and visited the set countless times (its on the Dhurkan peninsular) it was for the filming of a soap opera that used to air in the 80s and 90s on QatarTV

    1. Those structures weren’t built by noobs; they were built by experienced stoneworkers. That’s why they’re so nice and straight and even.

      Go back and look at the first photo again. See how there are rows of rocks that all lean diagonally? That’s opus spicatum: an old and potentially sophisticated masonry technique. It looks more striking if you use stones that are significantly longer than they are wide, but it works just fine with river cobbles.

      A stonemason who throws gratuitous opus spicatum into a construction is not a novice.

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