NATIONAL MUSEUM OF QATAR
This Jean Nouvel-designed museum is a stunning fusion of past and present and a representation of Qatar’s dynamic history. Located in the Doha Corniche, the 40,000 square-meter structure features overlapping, massive discs that resemble a “desert rose”, a selenite stone cluster that is common in the deserts of Qatar. The museum includes 11 galleries that focus on Qatari past, present and future. A stroll through all galleries is a 1.5 kilometer journey amongst cultural and archaeological artifacts, rare artwork and historical documents.
KATARA CULTURAL VILLAGE
Anchored by a huge 5,000 person amphitheatre, the Katara Cultural Village complex houses a large number of restaurants, galleries, two stunning mosques and concert halls. With the objective of embracing a variety of world cultures, Katara regularly hosts festivals, performances and exhibitions that champion such artistic mediums as literature, music and theatre.
MUSEUM OF ISLAMIC ART
An architectural gem in its own right, the I.M. Pei designed Museum of Islamic Art houses Islamic secular and spiritual masterpieces ranging from the 7th century to the 19th century. Located on the waters of the Corniche, the museum’s grounds include the MIA Park, which often features exhibits, seasonal activities, film screenings and culturally significant sculptures like 7 By Richard Serra. A stroll around the park affords amazing views of the Doha skyline.
QATAR STATE MOSQUE
Qatar’s national mosque, also known as the Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-WahhabMosque, has the capacity for a congregation of30,000 people and is the largest in the country. The mosque combines modern and traditional Arabic architecture. Visitation is permitted only outside of prayer times.
Doha’s oldest standing market is a labyrinth of stores selling everything from spices, perfume, traditional food and intricate handicrafts. Spend a morning or afternoon getting lost in the souq’s endless maze of corridors to get a glimpse of an authentic and energy-filledQatari marketplace. While exploring, be sure to visit the Falcon Souq where you’ll gain an understanding of the importance of falconry in Qatari culture.
Aspire Park is the largest park in Doha. A virtual oasis of lush manicured lawns, trees, ducks, geese and other waterfowl, it provides a stunning and cooling contrast to the deserts that surround Doha and features the city’s only lake. Whether you’re up for a quick stroll or a quick bite to eat at one of the park’s several restaurants, Aspire Park is a nice escape from shopping at nearby Villaggio and Hyatt Plazamalls or from a day of exploring Doha.
Doha’s man-made island, The Pearl, is affectionately known as the “Arabian Riveria.”Mediterranean-styled elegance emanates from street-side restaurants, luxury shopping, hotels, pedestrian-friendly walkways and a yacht-lined marina. You’ll be dazzled by the elegance of this unique, outdoor atmosphere while in the company of tourists and locals alike.
Doha Fort, also known as Al Koot Fort, is a former police fortress built in the 1920s. Converted into a museum, the fort now houses local glasswork, paintings, ornaments and ceramic handicrafts. The structure is a window into Qatari architecture style in the early 20th century. Located near Souq Waqif and the Cornich, this historic site is conveniently located for a quick visit.
ABDULLA BIN ZAID AL MAHMOUD ISLAMIC CULTURAL CENTER
Formerly known as the Fanar Islamic Cultural Center, this cultural organization features prominent landmarks that include the tallest mosque in Qatar and the FANAR, a building with a distinctive spiral shape. The cultural center offers a variety of courses in local culture and the Arabic language. Visit the mosque, enjoy the free exhibition on Islam or attend a Friday sermon in English.
You can’t visit Qatar without experiencing the breathtaking beauty of the desert. Head out to the towering sand dunes and explore them with your experienced driver, followed by time to relax and enjoy the scenery at the tranquil and unspoiled Inland Sea. Explore true Bedouin culture by visiting with camel handlers and sharing coffee and traditional snacks.