Doha & QatarMonday, 10 October 2011
The Football World Cup is scheduled to be held there in 2022 and there’s been plenty of controversy about that decision. So when I flew via Doha between Nepal and Australia recently it seemed a good reason to stop in for a look around. My impression? Well 24 hours in Doha was quite long enough, they’ve got 11 years to put a story together so they’d better start constructing some good reasons to hang around before the fans arrive.
▲ The city skyline is new and impressive although this is not a big city, the population is less than 400,000. Plus they’ve taken a leaf out of the current colour chart for car manufacturers, ie you can have any colour you want as long as it’s silver. Which makes for a boring skyline in daytime, it looks much better at night.
◄ There are a few interesting buildings, like the ziggurat-like Qatar Islamic Cultural Centre.
The city (and country’s) only real attraction is the excellent Museum of Islamic Art. It’s an I M Pei (noted for his pyramid at the Louvre in Paris) design and although it’s pretty ordinary from the outside the inside is impressive. The collection is not large, but each individual piece is superb, beautifully displayed and with excellent descriptions. But is it worth making a detour to Doha for one museum? ►
▲ The one reminder of old Doha is the Souq Waqif with its collection of traditional shops, popular mix of restaurants and an animal and bird quarter …
▲ where you can ponder why Qataris like to dye chicks in bright pastel colours?