Around the middle of the 20th century, the small fishing towns of Qatar were shaken by the discovery of oil underground. Now transformed into a modern metropolis, pieces of that old heritage was tucked away into glass cases in the Qatar National Museum, located on the beautifully renovated Amiri Palace. The adjoining lagoon and landscaping connected the museum with the National Aquarium. Together they are one of the best attractions in Qatar to learn about its past.
The National Museum was housed in a palace created for the living of the royal family and renovated to house exhibits. Countless artefacts on display represent the nomadic Bedouin tribes and Islamic traditions of the region. Beautiful tapestries, decorated pottery and intricately carved weapons of war show visitors the way of life of a time gone by. The natural history of the area is told by rock formations and plant life displays. Clever lighting and display areas allowed the exhibits to speak for themselves. With the building itself being an excellent example of Arabic architecture, the exquisite atmosphere of the museum made it an essential stop on a trip to Doha.
These relics are now housed in a temporary exhibit at the Katara Cultural Village while the National Museum undergoes a radical change of design. The new building complex will resemble a ‘desert rose’, a unique crystallization that forms beneath the desert surface. Flat, white, round panels will form the roofs, walls and support beams of the structure. Designed with the open desert in mind, the spacious interior will hold exhibition areas and conference centres – all centred on the palatial structure of the old museum.
The adjacent aquarium is also undergoing a facelift. Previously, landscaped gardens laid the path between sections of the museum and even featured a magnificent Bedouin tent. The lagoon will mirror the distinctive reflection of the new museum, set for opening in December 2014.
Many a hotel in Doha would provide an easy access point to the museum’s location as well. Qatar is trying to move beyond an image formed by oil by reaching deep into its rich history. By showcasing the ancient and the modern together in the new National Museum the world would see a new side to Doha. Situated in the heart of the city, Millennium Hotel Doha welcomes the traveller to a sophisticated and lavish world. This Doha hotel offers luxurious facilities for the business and leisure traveller, with the wonderful hospitality of the Arabic Peninsula.