Qatar’s culture, like any other country, is comprised of combined influences moulded into its own identity. It has its own humble beginnings before it became one of the richest countries in the world. Do you want to learn about Qatar’s history? Here are some places you can visit to unravel the old pages.
Msheireb Museums celebrate the history of four historic heritage houses in the heart of Msheireb Downtown Doha. Located in the oldest part of the capital, they form an important part of Qatar’s national history. They reveal unique aspects of Qatar’s cultural and social development in inspiring to create trusted environments where the people of Qatar will engage, converse and exchange thoughts about their past and their future.
Mohammed bin Jassim House
Travel back in time to appreciate Doha’s history and its unique architectural heritage. Built by Sheikh Mohammed bin Jassim Al Thani, son of the founder of modern Qatar, this heritage house addresses the past, the present and the sustainable aspect on which Msheireb Downtown Doha is based. The museum houses Echo Memory Art Project using objects uncovered during excavation work on the site. It also demonstrates Msheireb’s traditional values as foundations for the future development of Doha and introduces the transformation of Msheireb over time.
Set within a house that was once used as the headquarters for Qatar’s first oil company, this museum tells the story of the pioneering Qatari petroleum industry workers and their families who helped transform Qatar into a modern society. Witness first-hand accounts of the men who laboured not just to provide for their families but also to lay the foundations for their emerging nation.
Bin Jelmood House
The overarching ambition of Bin Jelmood House is to raise awareness and play a pivotal role in the global abolition of human exploitation. The house also showcases and pays tribute to human perseverance and acknowledges the cumulative social, cultural and economic contribution of formerly enslaved people to the development of human civilisations.
First built in the 1920s, the Radwani House is located between Al Jasrah and Msheireb, two of Doha’s oldest quarters. The restored house presents traditional Qatari family life and gathers, preserves and shares memories of Qatar. The house showcases not only the manner in which it changed over time but also how domestic family life was transformed in Doha.
Monday—Thursday: 9 am—5 pm
Friday: 3 pm—9 pm
Saturday: 9 am—9 pm
Last admission 30 minutes before closing
Msheireb Museums is located just behind the Emiri Diwan and next to Souq Waqif Doha.
Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
The Sheikh Faisal Museum was established in 1998 in a Qatari fort at Al Samriya Farm. Designed to preserve and display the fabulous artefacts collected by Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim bin Faisal Al Thani, the building’s return to historic Qatari architecture resonates against modern day Doha. Sheikh Faisal is dedicated to preserving and promoting particularly Islamic heritage for the people of Qatar and its international visitors.
Sheikh Faisal’s enthusiasm for collecting developed equally into a duty to preserve important elements of cultural heritage, and ultimately to share these with the public. Four themed collections have been built: Islamic Art, Qatar Heritage, Vehicles and Coins & Currency, comprising over 15,000 pieces from four continents.
In 2010, the museum was selected by the Ministry of Art, Culture and Heritage as one of Qatar’s cultural landmarks and part of the ‘Qatar Capital of Culture’ activities.
Sunday: 9 am—4 pm
Monday—Thursday: 9 am—4:30 pm
Friday: 2 pm—7 pm
Saturday: 10 am—6 pm
The museum is located about 20 km from Qatar Foundation, along the Dukhan Highway. To get there, drive along the Dukhan Highway until you see a white sign on the side of the road (on your right) that reads Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani Museum with a U-turn arrow.
The museum is on your left – it looks like a huge fort. Take the next exit on your right which is the same exit you take for the Camel Races. Instead of turning right to go to the race track, do a u-turn and head back towards the city. Drive for about 7 km, past a palm tree plantation on your right (basically looks like hundreds of walled-in palm trees).
Eventually you’ll see another white sign on your right pointing to the museum. Turn right and the museum is about 1 km up a tree-lined road. At the moment there are road works so you’ll have a confusing detour – just head for the tree-lined road perpendicular to the highway. Once you’re inside the gates, the museum entry is to the left of a man-made lake. Don’t drive up any ramps – the entrance is on ground level. Walk through the large wooden doors and a small reception desk is on your right.
Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of Islamic Art is home to the largest collection of Islamic art across three continents over 1,400 years. Designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei, the MIA building has become an icon. Standing apart on the waters of the Corniche, it draws influence from traditional Islamic architecture. The building is made from limestone, which captures hourly changes in light and shade.
Sunday: 10:30 am—5:30 pm
Monday: 10:30 am—5:30 pm
Wednesday: 10:30 am—5:30 pm
Thursday: Noon—8 pm
Friday: 2 pm—8 pm
Saturday: Noon—8 pm
Last admission 30 minutes before closing. Galleries, Gift Shop and Café close 15 minutes before closing.
The Museum of Islamic Art is located on the Corniche which runs around Doha bay. It is only 15 minutes drive from Hamad International Airport to the museum and within walking distance of Souq Waqif.
The traditional market has preserved the atmosphere of what it was like in Qatar back in the days. Although it may have changed over time, the place still keeps memories of the old times. There are special shops of memorabilia and replicas of old commerce.
Author: Andrea Buenafe
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