The emirate of Qatar, located in the northeast of the Arabian Peninsula, is a rarely chosen travel destination and leads to a relatively original, often highly contradicting country. Although Qatar is working on expanding the tourist infrastructure, it is also liberal and modern – but the emirate is also very traditional in many ways. Examples of these contrasts can be found above all in the capital Doha. Founded in the 19th century, the city is now home to around half of Qatar’s population. Here visitors can certainly encounter everyday culture… between several hundred mosques, the most famous of which are the Great Mosque and the Abu-Bakir-al-Siddiq Mosque. Also worth seeing is the National Museum, In which one can learn something about the history of the emirate based on archaeological finds, in which there is also a marine department, the Museum of Islamic Arts and the National Library, the architecture of which is modeled on a floating spaceship.
Museum of Islamic Art in Doha
This house in Doha, the capital of the Emirate of Qatar, is more than just a museum. It is a treasure house on an artificial island on the Persian Gulf – a gigantic collection of the art of Islam. But above all it is the masterpiece of a genius, the American-based Chinese Ieoh Ming Pei. The Grand Seigneur among the best architects in the world was already 91 years old when he spent six months looking for models in the Arab world and thus found inspiration for the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. With its 260,000 square meters, the building is monumental, but its basic architectural structure seems rather lively.
A journey through history
The way to the portal of the museum leads over a promenade lined with palm trees and through a park. Ieoh Ming Pei attached great importance to this location because he wanted to avoid his work having to compete with other buildings in the neighborhood. There is something sublime about this unique position on an island and whoever enters the five-story sandstone museum gets an idea of the treasures inside. The exhibitions see themselves as a journey through time through history and through the world of Islam. The oldest exhibits in the collection date from the 6th century.
Documents, ceramics and weapons
The highly decorated star architect Ieoh Ming Pei, to whom Paris also owes the glass pyramid at the Louvre, resorted to various Islamic architectural styles when designing the interiors. This created a great harmony with the pieces in the exhibition with historical documents, ceramics, textiles and weapons. On the north side of the museum, a 45 meter high glass front offers a view of Doha Bay. Visiting the museum after dark, when the skyline of the metropolis “lights up” in a sea of lights, is fascinating. A gourmet restaurant with French-Mediterranean cuisine and Islamic dishes completes the museum complex.
Sheikh Faisal Museum in Qatar
According to topschoolsintheusa, the glamor and glory of an Arab ruling family are revealed in an extraordinary house – the Sheikh Faisal Museum in the west of Doha, the capital of the Emirate of Qatar. This is the largest private collection in the world – and it is open to the public. Many visitors to the city combine a visit to the museum with a trip to the legendary and neighboring camel racing track of Al Shahanya. The owner of the museum, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, is a member of the wealthy dynasty that has ruled Qatar since 1822. The Sheikh brought exhibits back from his various business trips from all over the world, which can now be admired in his museum.
15,000 exhibits on 17,000 square meters
Every now and then, the Sheikh Faisal Museum, located twenty kilometers west of Doha, serves as a site for state visits. It was designed in a desert-like setting true to traditional Arab architecture and displays extensive collections of weapons, fossils, books, documents and artifacts in three buildings. In total, the museum, which opened in 1998, comprises no less than 15,000 exhibits in 18 halls on a total area of 17,000 square meters. The complex is a reflection of the Arab culture and provides intensive insights into the life of the Bedouins.
Free entry to the classic cars too
At the opening of his museum, the sheikh decreed that admission should be free for all times and that he would always welcome his guests from all over the world. In addition to the cultural heirlooms from the family estate, the collection of vintage cars and motorcycles in his impressive house is well worth seeing. In the sheik’s halls, which have been converted into garages, more than a hundred crown jewels of the motorized world are presented and cared for by employees every day. This accumulation of vintage cars is one of the largest of all Arab states. Oryx antelopes are kept in some of the enclosures flanking the museum.