Msheireb Enrichment Centre
It’s in a ship, docked at the Corniche near Sheraton. You can take a peek at Qatar’s glorious past here with the display of historic artefacts, antique work tools and a treasure of information on Qatar’s unprecedented growth. There are beautiful images, architectural highlights and several interactive displays.
Sheraton Park, Al Corniche (4404 0222).
Museum of Islamic Art
This I. M. Pei-designed architectural marvel is more than just a museum, it’s a cultural hub. The main atrium offers spectacular West Bay views through three-storey high windows and the museum’s permanent exhibitions display beautiful objects from across the Islamic world – everything from metalwork, ceramics and textiles to manuscripts – that date as far back as the 9th Century. Take advantage of one of the free tours.
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha Corniche, www.mia.org.qa (4422 4444).
Shaikh Faisal Museum
Not only is this museum unique, it’s very interesting. H.E. Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani’s collection of antiques and art must be one of the most enviable in the world. Since the 1960s, H. E. Sheikh Faisal has curated a staggering collection of art, ceramics, cars, religious texts and more, and there’s somewhere around 3,000 objects on display over five huge halls in his museum at Al Samriya. You’ll come across mannequins dressed in traditional bridal outfits, 18th century Yemeni douqas (a type of amulet worn around the neck with a handwritten religious citation), 17th century Iranian swords, rusty bicycles, vintage cars, and lots more. Perhaps most impressive are the fossils, including the head and neck of a Plesiosaurus found in the depths of the Sahara desert, dating back approximately 120 million years.
Busy, bustling and vibrant, the souq is one of the best places to experience local culture. There are spices to bargain for, souvenirs to take home, perfume shops lined in the alleyways, art centres and of course, loads of amazing restaurants.
Al Souq (4433 6444).
You can spend an entire day experiencing the culture in this part of town. This historic fort and the surrounding area are recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fort itself was built in 1938 and used by the armed forces until around 30 years ago. Now, it is a museum housing pottery and archaeology exhibits. The building itself is the main attraction, though, as are the striking views from the battlements. Drive around it to find ancient settlements. Explore the fort or attend a cultural workshop.
GPS: 25.976929, 51.045496.
We’ve carefully picked the best spots to visit if you’re a culture vulture
Msheireb Enrichment Centre