We spent our last 3-day weekend of the year in the host city for the 2022 FIFA World Cup: Doha, Qatar. Doha is very similar to other GCC cities but they all have new things to offer.
Doha is home to the Museum of Islamic Art, which is the largest museum for Islamic art and showcases over 1400 years of art. The artifacts displayed originated in Spain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, India, and Central Asia.
The architecture is beautiful, as is the landscaping of the large park surrounding the museum grounds. On Saturday evening the park was full of picnicking families and a small farmer’s market. The museum was built right on the water and provides a beautiful view of the Doha skyline.
Inside the museum, you’ll find 5 floors of art work. Every piece was stunning. Even now, up to 1400 years later, the vibrant colors and intricate patters carefully crafted into the carpets, pottery, and even door ways, are nothing less than stunning.
The museum also has a large collection of daggers, jewelry, and perfume bottles, all very impressively crafted. The history here is certainly not to be missed.
A lovely walk along the water takes you to the end of the pier park where the ‘7’ Sculpture resides. The structure celebrates the spiritual and scientific significance of the number 7 in Islamic culture and was inspired by a minaret in Afghanistan. This is a fantastic location to watch the sun set, although when we were there it was quite windy.
After the museum we walked along the Corniche, past all of the taxi/party boats that were brightly lit up and waiting for the sun to set. We stopped for a picture of the pearl statue, which pays tribute to the history of the Persian Gulf being full of pearls.
Just past the statue there is a walkway over to the Souq Waqif. The exterior of the souq has been recently renovated so it looks more modern than I expected. We went into the Falcon Souq and looked all of the birds – falcons are regularly used for hunting in Qatar. Falcon’s are so much a part of the culture that Qatar Airways even allows up to 6 falcons to travel in the cabins of their aircrafts. Only one per person though.
Camels and horses can also be purchased from the souq. If you’re in the market for smaller animals, they also have a large variety of birds and parrots, bunnies, cats, dogs, and sugar gliders. Of course, they also have food, clothing, souvenirs, and all of the other “normal” souq things. We decided on a carpet and a magnet.
A beautiful site just outside of the souq is the Spiral Mosque, especially at night. Definitely a must see.
Other than visiting one of the larger malls, we pretty much spent the rest of our trip at the pool, which I was very happy to do. I was definitely missing some sun tanning and we had amazing weather. Absolutely perfect for lounging poolside, so we couldn’t waste it.
We left plenty to see for our next trip, including the Corniche boat rides and the Villaggio Mall. We did find Doha quite expensive, but I’m sure we’ll be back there soon. And we’ll also return for the FIFA World Cup in 2022.