The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha is a beautiful and worthy receptacle to house and care for one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of artefacts, spanning thousands of years, gathered from regions where Islamic culture flourished and continue to flourish. Paintings, jewellery, metal work, wood work, glass, manuscripts, textiles, carpets and ceramics are displayed in the permanent collections of the museum.
It is housed in a unique building designed by renowned architect IM Pei and has captured the essential design elements of Islamic architecture. It has been built on a 64 acre island site, 60 metres from shore and surrounded by a park so that no other buildings will detract from its uniqueness. The museum occupies 35,000 sq metres comprising of a five storey main building and a separate two storey educational building; the buildings house the galleries where the permanent collection is displayed, temporary exhibition venues for international and local collections, a modern 200 seat cinematic auditorium, research facilities, conservation laboratory, a library, prayer rooms, a museum shop, a café and a fine dining venue headed by an award winning chef and designed by the much lauded Philippe Starke.
One of the museum’s most arresting features is the five storey high atrium with an oculus in the middle that captures and reflects light. While viewing some of the most extraordinary artefacts, visitors can journey through time and get to know the various stages and nature of Islamic art.
The museum’s surroundings are as interesting and beautiful as its interior; a park with shaded pedestrian walkways where visitors can relax, gaze out to sea or admire the Doha skyline and where paddle boats can be rented to enjoy the surrounding water. A bazaar with over 100 stalls retailing food and local arts and crafts held every first Saturday of each month provides year round activities for everyone, helping to make the museum and its surroundings a truly public enterprise.
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