Visiting the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

Doha Museum of Islamic Art
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One of the main attractions in Doha is the Museum of Islamic Art, opened in 2008. Built on an artificial island at the entrance to the harbour, it is connected to the Corniche by a palm-lined causeway, and surrounded by a park. The Museum contains one of the world’s foremost collections of Islamic artefacts.

Doha Museum of Islamic Art
Tree-lined approach to the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha

Architecture of the Museum of Islamic Art

The exterior of the Museum is visually striking, built in white stone which casts a dazzling reflection upon the surrounding water. It was designed by the architect I M Pei, who also created the Louvre Pyramid in Paris. The building’s geometrical design is based on modern and traditional Arabic architecture, and was influenced by other major buildings, including the Alhambra in southern Spain. The interior is a vast open space, surrounded by galleries on two floors. It is dominated by the circular staircase, which resembles an oyster shell (pearl fishing being a traditional industry of Qatar). The cafe has been designed in a black and white theme, and gives impressive views of the harbour, and of Doha’s high rise skyline. Outside the museum is a park with fountains and hanging gardens.  

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha
The staircase resembles an oyster shell

Art and Artefacts

The museum contains artefacts from collections that have been built up by the Qatari royal family over many years. It is built on three floors: the first floor includes the coffee shop, gift shop and special exhibition area. The second floor is arranged on a thematic basis, including calligraphy, patterns and figures in Islamic design, and Science in Art. Here you will see dozens of handwritten Korans, including pages from miniature and ‘giant’ books. You will also find illustrations from early Indian manuscripts, and helpful explanations of the principles of Islamic art. The third floor is set out chronologically, from the 7th to the 18th centuries. It covers the whole of the Islamic world, including Spain and central Asia as well as more traditional centres of Arabic culture. Exhibits include domestic items such as carpets, ceramics, glass and tableware, as well as clothing and jewellery, coins and weapons. The range of artefacts in the museum gives a valuable insight into Islamic culture.

Visiting the Museum of Islamic Art

The Museum and gardens are open every day, although hours are reduced on Fridays. Tickets are valid for three days from first use. Meals, drinks and snacks can be purchased in the cafe on the ground floor, and there is a well stocked book and gift shop.

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4 thoughts on “Visiting the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha”

  1. This museum of Islamic arts is art in and of itself. I really love the photos, and seeing the rounded and straight lines, vertical, horizontal, and diagonal. So perfectly balanced.

    This sounds like a fabulous place to visit, and I would love to see the calligraphy! Thank you for sharing, as I love to see beautiful architecture!

  2. Pingback: Admiring the Architecture of London’s Natural History Museum | World Wide Writer

  3. Having visited Doha recently and been to this museum, which I found as fascinating as you, it was wonderous to read yr revuew. It brought back the memories and gave me an insight to areas I did not know about. Thank you

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About Karen

WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren. I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 60 countries at the last count). I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica (I still hope to get there one day…), and my current favourite destinations are Italy, Spain and North America. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way.

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