Qatar's capital has grown immeasurably over the past few years, transforming itself from a fishing village into a global capital that's already prepping for the world's biggest football celebration in 2022. There's more to the city than sports, though – it's also making its mark on the world as a center for arts and culture. Since it was established almost ten years ago, the Qatar Museums Authority has been diligently working to foster the creative arts in Doha. All that hard work has paid off, and the city is now well on the way to realizing its cultural goals. The authority is responsible for leading eight excellent museums and galleries, so here are five of its finest:
The Museum of Islamic Art
Intricate mosaics and delicate glass sculptures line the walls and floors of the sprawling Museum of Islamic Art, which displays one of the most complete collections of Islamic artefacts in the world. Designed by celebrated architect I.M. Pei, the building's façade carves instantly recognizable elements of ancient Islamic architecture in polished limestone, set against the arresting scenery of the Persian Gulf. After your tour, soak up some sun in the park in front of swoon-worthy sea views, before grabbing a bite to eat at the onsite IDAM restaurant, headed by celebrity chef Alain Ducasse.
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
After your journey through Qatar's aesthetic history, find out what's going on in the contemporary world with a visit to the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art. Opened in 2010 with an exhibition of 20th century Arab art, the museum showcases paintings, sculptures and installations from notable creatives like multimedia artist Adel Abdessemed and Shirin Neshat. What's better is that the museum is only a short taxi ride away from our Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha, and the permanent collection is free to visit.
National Museum of Qatar
The recently opened National Museum of Qatar has been one of the most hotly anticipated addition to the Doha cultural scene. Designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel, the building is an ode to the desert rose, comprised of a series of interlocking discs that add a futuristic edge to the Doha skyline. Exhibitions are interactive, with walls morphing into cinematic screens and individual mobile devices providing running commentary for guests.
FANAR Qatar Islamic Cultural Center
The Qatar Islamic Cultural Center's impressive aim of helping visitors develop a better understanding of Qatari culture and its foundations in Islam is beautifully demonstrated by its architecture. The lighthouse-inspired design exemplifying its intent to act as an illuminating beacon, while also paying tribute to the nation's maritime history. With Arabic language courses, free Islamic books and mosque tours, the center is a must-visit for anyone hoping to practice the local language or learn more about the country.
Katara Art Center
There's always something happening at the Katara Art Center, whether it's offbeat music performances, children's art workshops, or design exhibitions. This gallery is part of the seaside Katara Cultural Village, which also incorporates a space for pop-up shops, a project space and concept space, alongside the bookstore, office and gift store as well as a mosque. While you're in the area, wander down to the nearby L'wzaar Seafood Market and take your pick from its staggering array of aquatic delicacies.
There's something for everyone in Doha when it comes to museums and culture. This city doesn't stop emerging and is soon to be the most prominent in the Middle East. You will definitely be left spoiled for choice not just for museums, but accommodation as well. Doha is home to the Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha, offering over 580 rooms and 9 on-site restaurants, which means you don't even have to step foot outside the hotel for your evening meals. If you want to spend a day relaxing under the warm sun, then make sure you take a dip in the 2 sparkling pools to cool off.