Then I found myself walking in Doha, which I loved from the first sight but still I had no idea what I’m looking for. I read in the guide book about the Museum of Islamic Art but the description wasn’t very appealing. Just the basic informations about the building but not much about what’s inside. It’s well known I’m not a big fan of museums so I didn’t think I’m gonna visit it, not to mention enjoying it even slightly.
When I walked by the building of the Museum I knew it’s not your usual art museum you see everywhere around the world. It’s build on the artifical island in the Doha Bay and has a shape of the fortress with only couple of windows. Apparently the island was build on purpose to be a location of the museum. The long-ish uphill alley with palmtrees leads to the entrance. All that together makes it a very picturesque spot on Doha’s Corniche.
It took my two attempts to enter the building – the museum was opened from 11am and at first I was 20 minutes before. There was no information about the opening hours but a really nice guard came out from the building when he saw me to tell me opening hours and other informations, such as a free entrance. I knew I’m gonna go back later on!
When I was done with exploring Doha a little bit I came back to the museum. After going through airport-style security check and storing my backpack (for free:)) I got a map and was able to explore the museum. I don’t hide the fact I’m truly fascinated by the Islamic art, its patterns or handwriting are so beautiful I always find myself staring at all the small details on every Islamic building I see. But I still didn’t know what the museum hides.
The first breathtaking moment was when I spoted the huge chandalier above the frizzy stairs leading to the exhibitions rooms. As it turned out not only the building from the outside but also the interior was designed based on the best Islamic tradition. The amazing chandalier wasn’t the only great example – when I looked from the 3rd floor to the cafeteria area I could see the fountain down there also has a shape of an Islamin star.
Exhibition halls are located on the first and second floor and cover various incredibly beautiful examples of Islamic art of the territories spreading from south of Spain to India – there are around 1000 of them on the permanent exhibition. They vary: from Koran books to jewelery to tiles to rugs to plates to statues… And each of these exponats is unique and special. I spent 2 hours walking around, reading carefully every description and trying to remember each details of these beautiful objects as I highly doubt I’ll see so many of them in one place again… And it wasn’t boring at all (these words come from a person who doesn’t really like that many museums)!
The Museum of Islamic Art was opened on December 1, 2008 and since then is known as one of the biggest (if not the biggest) collection of Islamic artifacts in the world. A small part of the exhibition can be found online here but if you ever happen to be in Doha do go to the Museum and I’m sure you won’t regret it!
Have you ever been to the museum that surprised you so much? Where was it?
If you think of visiting Qatar or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!
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