A museum! Seriously?
Not just any museum. There are four heritage houses, all housed under Doha’s newest urban development, located downtown. They’re actually pretty interesting.
What part, exactly?
Well, for starters, they have the Bin Jelmood House that celebrates the abolition of the global slave trade.
Wow. Sounds impressive.
Quite. There’s an inspirational message from Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser saying: “Freedom is not an attribute specific to just one civilisation, but it is a human value, one that I believe is the driving force behind the making of human history.”
Moving on... What else is there?
There’s the Radwani House – it shows visitors how family life actually evolved in Qatar. It’s a restored house that preserves local tradition. You can also see how family life was affected when oil was first discovered here, and when electricity arrived.
You said there were four...
Yes, the other two are Company House and Mohammed Bin Jassim House. The Company House is an actual company. It used to be the headquarters of Qatar’s first oil company. Mohammed Bin Jassim House is equally interesting – it takes you on a journey through the Msheireb district and shows how it has evolved over the years.
So, what was it like before?
You can find out for yourself. Discover how narrow sikkas (which is Arabic for “alleyways”) and houses converged onto a baraha, or an open-air town square. Oh, and did you know, for example, that Msheireb was home to Qatar’s first hotel, bank, pharmacy and café?
Okay, that’s news to me. But what else can I do here?
Well, they also have occasional cultural activities, including exhibitions and classes planned. And then, of course, you can walk for five minutes and reach Doha’s liveliest cultural hub, buzzing with people, food and art.
Why, Souq Waqif of course! But that’s another great bit of Doha for another issue...
To book a guided tour, complete the form on www.msheireb.com/museums. Open Mon-Thu 9am-5pm, Fri 3pm-9pm, Sat 9am-9pm. Msheireb Downtown Doha (800 3642).