Qatar - the country that has two faces
It is a state in rapid evolution that strives decisively towards the future and which is deeply attached to traditions. It is a little bigger than Abruzzo and is about a 6 hour flight from Rome. In 2022 it will host the World Cup!
The Corniche is a seven-kilometer long promenade that covers the entire Bay of Doha and offers spectacular views of the city: from the skyscrapers of the financial district to the modern Museum of Islamic Art. It contains ample green and pedestrian areas, with restaurants, cafes, open-air gyms and a jogging track.
Today, Qatar is almost a city-state: 60% of the population lives in Doha - the capital - located on the central-eastern coast of the peninsula. This city that is about 500 kilometers from two of the most famous and touristic cities of the Arab Emirates: Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Most of the other villages are inhabited by laborers because they are built around oil fields - the true source of wealth of this small-sized emirate. This resource has allowed this place to radically change its face in about forty years - passing from the poorest of the State in the Middle East to one of the richest in the world.
This small state of the Persian Gulf has had a fast evolution which has also generated a series of strong contrasts: in Qatar it is easy to pass from a long coast of white beaches and a crystalline sea (in places like Dukhan, for example) to sinuous dunes of arid desert (as in Khor al Adaid in the south of the country); from the busy and lively alleys of Souq Waqif (the historic market of Doha) - to the futuristic skyscrapers, the avant-garde architecture and the shopping centers (like the Pearl-Qatar located always in the Capital); from the pomp of the luxurious 5-star hotels to the millennia of history told in the National Museum and in the MIA, the Museum of Islamic Art.
On the wide streets you can find many restaurants with tables outside. In the inner streets that are populated by typical shops you can find items from the most commercial souvenirs to traditional artifacts, such as: ceramics, fabrics,clothing, spices, Arab sweets and candied fruit.
A blast from the past through the alleys of Souq Waqif
Only in Doha one can find an authentic taste of trade, architecture and traditional culture. It is certainly the historic center, although it is not that ancient: it dates back to the middle of the 1900s. It is large, well maintained and very pleasant to visit.
In this splendid location it is nice to get lost walking through the narrow streets that contain many characteristic shops, local colors, flavors and smells. It is here that you can buy – after negotiating the price with the seller - local handicrafts, spices, ornaments, jewels, gastronomy and Qatari specialties that include fresh walnuts and dates, but also regional and Asian and North African delicacies.
The atmosphere is enhanced by the presence of traditional music, cultural shows, numerous art galleries, restaurants and outdoor cafés.
The visit is recommended in the evening,between 7.00 pm and 11.00 pm.
The Pearl or rather, the Doha marina was built on an artificial island. Its shape recalls a pearl necklace. The creeks are home to huge luxury yachts; the boardwalk, instead, is dedicated to shopping and characterized by the shops with the biggest names in the world.
Pearl-Qatar, a five-star experience
This is an artificial, luxurious and sparkling island off the coast of West Bay. It is a futuristic urban project that is in continuous evolution: a true masterpiece of civil engineering. Millions of cubic meters of sand, rocks and cement were used to build it and were poured into the waters of Doha Bay. The Pearl, as its name suggests, was designed to recall the shape of a pearl necklace. It is divided into a series of neighborhoods, each with its own well-defined architectural trait. It is characterized by elegant residential buildings, refined hotels and restaurants; gardens that pay attention to the smallest details; shopping malls with boutiques and showrooms of the biggest international brands; marinas with huge yachts. It is definitely worth a trip in order to experience the splendor of the most modern Doha, especially in the evening - given the heat and the high temperatures during the daytime hours.
The building of the Museum of Islamic Art is made of limestone and inspired by the Ibn Tulun Mosque in Cairo. From here, you can enjoy a colorful ligt show in the evening offered by the ultra-modern skyscrapers overlooking the gulf .
Visit to the MIA in order to discover the Islamic culture
Between "La Perla" and the Suq Waqif that are easily reachable on foot, you will find the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA). A must see in Doha for those who want to learn more about this culture. It is an enormous structure built on the Corniche which is the boardwalk of the city's waterfront. The building is modern yet respectful of Qatar's tradition and style and was designed by the architect Leoh Ming Pei - the same that built the Louvre Pyramid – who was the winner of the 1983 Pritzker architecture prize. It houses works of art that recount the Arab culture, but also the culture of the rest of the world. Entrance to the permanent galleries is free – instead you must pay a fee for some temporary exhibitions. To visit is completely, you must reserve half a day: inside there are gardens and terraces definately worth seeing which are embellished with fountains and ponds where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the bay and the skyline: a spectacle especially in the evening when the skyscrapers are illuminated.
Organize your trip to Qatar with ViaggiArt
In the coming months ViaggiArt.com will devote a series of insights to this magnificent country, recounting the wonders of a place that will soon become the new Dubai, according to our insights. Stay tuned to discover all of the information and tips that you will need to discover the secrets of this upcoming world! But that's not all: ViaggiArt offers the support needed for planning and booking a trip to Qatar - an opportunity to be seized for the next World Cup!
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