Capital Qatar, Doha

6 août 2016

If the Persian Gulf hosts many treasures such as oil of course, the underwater beauty of its shores or the ancient customs of the inhabitants, its cities, paragons of boldness and modernity, largely contribute to its international reputation. Doha, Qatar's capital city is a good illustration. Accessible, friendly, and somehow sterile as pretty much everything is brand new, Doha is where the majority of the Qataris resides. Ad-Dawha in Arabic – literally Big Tree – was probably named after the prominent tree that once stood in the former fishing village. The contrast between heritage and modernity is present in every aspect of the city. In the architecture first. Qataris have duplicated the curves and shapes of a mosque and apply them to skyscrapers, in steel and glass. The only ancient place that hasn’t been knocked down is the Souq Waqif. Doha is indeed the home of the only remaining traditional souq in the gulf region, and its name means in Arabic the Sand market, selling everything from Arabian silk to spices. Although they have tucked away their heritage behind the new facades of the city, Qataris are still attached to their customs. Tradional policemen can be seen riding horses next to the ramparts of the capital, a patrician method which has been used since the early 1900. Qatar excels in falconry, considered as a high-ended discipline sport and in Arabian horses breeding, as the country’s horses are said to be the best of the Arab world. This duality of time and culture is reflected in the eclectic art venues gathered in the city. 

Focus on the One Thousand and one nights treasures

The museum of Islamic Art hosts Islamic artworks from 3 different continents over a thousand years. Designed by the renowned architect Pritzker, the Museum embodies the junction between traditional Islamic architecture and modern one.  The Exhibition Imperial Threads - through November 4 – focuses on motifs and artisans from India, Turkey and Iran while the permanent collections present outstanding artifacts of Islamic art, including ceramics, manuscripts, textiles or metalwork. The Sheikh Faisal Museum built in local stones aims to preserve and promote Islamic heritage for the people of Qatar and its international visitors. The Katara Cultural Village gathers different venues focusing on the various cultures of the world. The revival of Qatar’s olden name – Katara – was chosen to honor the country’s glorious past while praising the future. As it explains the splendor of the past, the facility hosts the katara Masjid , one of the most beautiful Masjids in Qatar. Designed by Zainab Fadil Oglu, the notable aspects of the mosqe like the minaret, the payer niche or the dome are all inspired by renowned mosques of the Muslim world. Together with the turquoise and purple mosaic, this remarkable construction is only one of the various wonders of the capital.

When the future become the present

The Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art was founded at the beginning of the decade in a former school building which was renovated. As it features over 9,000 works, the museum is considered as the world’s largest specialized collectionof its kind. This amazing insight of an Arab perspective of modern art is spread on seven galleries and exhibits artists linked to the Muslim world, like Daoud Corm, Georges Hanna Sabbagh and Abdul Qadir Al Rassam. Other regions historically and geographically connected to the Persian Gulf are also highlighted. In the same spirit, the Qatar National Museum will combine the heritage of the country with contemporary influences. Just like its architecture, designed by Jean Nouvel and representing the desert roseDocked at the Doha Corniche, the Msheireb Enrichment Centre depicts Qatar’s past while explaining its ambition for the future. Sustainability and innovation are the main subjects of the complex and perfectly sum up the challenges that the monarchy will have to face in the future.


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