Doha, Qatar was once a simple, pearl fishing village but you’d never know it. Constantly changing it can now be compared to Dubai 5 or 10 years ago & described as a great city in the making.
Tons of money has been invested around town including the beautiful skyscrapers, modern malls & the museum scene. Also, almost everyone speaks English due to the high population of expats which makes it a great place to visit. Although the city has expanded exponentially it has remarkably kept its authenticity & its culture which, in my opinion, threatens Dubai’s popularity as the hot-spot on the Persian Gulf.
One of the larger investments made was the Museum of Islamic Art – a world-class museum hosting artifacts from Muslim dynasties all over Asia, Africa, Europe & the Middle East. The museum is magnificent on the inside & the outside – it’s literally located on an artificial peninsula overlooking the south end of Doha Bay specifically built for the museum to avoid other buildings intruding on its space – a subtle design suggested by the world-famous architect I.M. Pei. ?
The location is just a start to what’s great about this museum. The overall theme of the museum is Islamic art including a wide range of beautiful metal work, ceramics, jewelry, wood work, textiles & glass but you get so entranced by all the beautiful things inside you forget where you are. It becomes a non-religious mecca of beautiful artifacts that anyone can relate to. Not to mention the museum has a terrace that overlooks the downtown skyline – the perfect photo-op.
This is just a few of the reasons I highly recommend this museum to everyone – every culture, religion & age. Below are all the details you need to visit & tons of pictures so you can see exactly what I mean!
One of the best things about this museum is it’s completely free!
Hours / Location / Dress Code
- Located on the Corniche – if you drive yourself parking is limited & you may have to pay to park at the Souq Waqif. I suggest taking a taxi because they will drop you right at the museum doors.
- Dress code – there is no actual dress code but I would dress conservatively or they can refuse entrance. I would not wear tank tops or shorts to be safe.
- Sunday, Monday, Wednesday – 10:30am-5:30pm
- Tuesday – closed
- Thursday, Saturday – 12pm-8pm
- Friday – 2pm-8pm
Before you enter
Don’t forget to take in the beauty of the outside of the museum. The architecture of the MIA (Museum of Islamic Art) has become an icon in its own right.
Once you enter
You will pass through security & if you have any questions you can ask the help desk. From there on you are free to wander the exhibits as you please, grab a drink or a bite to eat at the restaurant inside or visit the gift shop where you can buy vases & other beautiful replicas.
Take your time taking in the beauty of the inside of the MIA – look up, down & around. Every inch of the building was designed with precision, pride & elegance.
Move on to each exhibit & enjoy! Each piece of art has a story – including its origins from families of royalty or just normal people – each story as interesting as the one before. It took us about an hour to walk all the exhibits which was plenty of time. Floors 2 & 3 are permanent exhibits & floor 4 including temporary exhibitions & vary. See my gallery below for just a few of the beautiful pieces I snapped pictures of. ??????
Before you leave the museum, make sure you step out on the terrace overlooking the city. You can find the doors right passed the restaurant on the first floor. You won’t want to miss the fountains & the perfect photo-op!
One last thing – if you walk down the Corniche (which I highly recommend) stop & catch a picture of the dhows. Dhows are wooden, fishing boats – a staple in Doha – lining the coast of the Gulf on the Corniche. You can pay a small fee to ride out into the water to get a beautiful view of the city – but simply walking by & seeing these traditional boats full of color & lights is fun too!
For me, there is something appealing about submerging yourself into a different culture when vacationing half way across the world. However, the Museum of Islamic Art did something different – something I haven’t found in many other museums around the world. It pulls you in with relatability to the everyday person, from beautiful earrings worn by a princess to the simple (yet beautiful) tile work of a door step, & it pulls you in no matter what religion or culture you come from. Quite a magnificent feat in my opinion.