An England football fan exploring ‘hidden Qatar’ has found ‘creepy abandoned apartment blocks’ where the workers who built the stadium supposedly lived.
Rob Dawley, 21, was visiting the country to support England in the World Cup and decided on a whim to visit areas off the beaten track.
During his day out, he came across “a migrant camp”, to which he was denied access, and was then taken by his taxi driver to Mesaieed city centre.
Early on, Rob came across no entry signs throughout the downtown area, which was made up of several abandoned apartment buildings.
By chance, the lucky England fan bumped into some friendly security guards, who gave him a private tour of the apartments, as “they were going to be demolished in a few months anyway”.
Rob, a former butcher, from Grimsby, Lincolnshire, said: ‘I came to watch the football with my friend, but decided between days on Thursday that I wanted to explore.
“I texted my friend that his father lived in Qatar and asked him to recommend a place he wouldn’t go – he gave me a list and Mesaieed was there.
“I got on the local metro in Qatar and met someone named Hassan at the bus stop, he told me he was a migrant doctor and lived in a nearby field, so I followed him.
“They wouldn’t let me into the field, so I took a taxi to Messaieed city center and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
“I’m a sucker for an Eastern European tower block, and there were 25 to 30 completely abandoned, I just thought it was a bit me.
“But when I got on there were no entry signs anywhere, I could have easily jumped the fence but I thought it best I’m not in Qatar.
“Luckily, I saw a security car, so I walked over and talked to one of them in the car and he was like ‘You know what man, I’m going to give you a private tour – they’re tearing them down in a few months anyway.”
“His name was Sadiq and he was a real geek.”
Rob uploaded a TikTok video of his release, which has now racked up over two million views.
The video takes place inside one of the abandoned apartments, where security said those who helped build the world cup stadiums remained.
Rob said the accommodation was nice and “much better than my accommodation at university” but wasn’t sure how many people would stay in each apartment.
Rob caught the travel bug three years ago when he visited 12 countries in 12 months in 2019.
He has visited 23 countries in total and often asks the locals where not to go, so he actively seeks out to explore those areas.
He’s been on a mission to show people “the unseen side of Qatar,” which has led him to apartments.
He said: “I was personally amazed at how decent it was and how well everything was put together.
“The infrastructure was brilliant, there were two balconies in the apartment and one of the rooms had a private bathroom.
“Of course, it depends on how many people were staying in the apartment.
“If there were six or seven to a room it would be absolutely awful, but if you renovated that flat and put it in London it would be worth millions.
“I have to say it was very creepy, I don’t think TikTok quite captures that.”