Nowhere else quite displays man’s mastery of the environment better than the impressive cities along the Arabian Gulf, and Qatar’s capital, Doha, is a proud tour de force of man-made ingenuity and beauty.
Qatar is a country whose every corner is a lens-friendly feast of perfect lighting, aesthetic patterns, awe-inspiring nature and contemporary architecture that are very instagram-worthy. Here are 5 places you absolutely have to explore if you’re looking to turn your stopover into instagrammable wonder!
1. Museum of Islamic Art
Begin your tour of inspiration at Doha’s iconic Museum of Islamic Art (MIA).
A gleaming jewel that shines brightly on the Doha Corniche, MIA pays homage to 14 centuries of Islamic heritage from across the Muslim world. Designed by world-renowned architect IM Pei, this architectural wonder joins the ranks of some of his other most iconic work such as the Bank of China tower in Hong Kong and the Louvre’s glass pyramid in Paris.
The building’s facade draws inspiration from Islamic architecture and expresses traditional motifs in a confident new light, while the illusion of being adrift at sea alludes to Islamic world’s connection with maritime trade.
Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art impresses with its aesthetic beauty, and its in-house restaurant, IDAM, is as remarkable. Designed by legendary French designer Philip Starck, the awe-inspiring decor accentuates the flavours of the restaurants’ unique French Mediterranean – Arabic fusion dishes.
2. Doha Corniche
Out of the Museum of Islamic Art you’ll find yourself at the beginning of the Doha Corniche, providing convenient access to many of the sights on this list.
Doha’s iconic waterfront promenade is like an open-air gallery of beautiful architecture. The stunning skyscrapers lining the West Bay’s business district, are beautifully juxtaposed against the glistening turquoise-blue waters. With a spectacular view of the horizon, the Doha Corniche is not only great for waterside walks, but also an excellent spot for capturing sunset and sunrise.
3. Souq Waqif
Built on an ancient market site, Doha’s Souq Waqif truly portrays the traditional architecture with walls and shops rendered out of mud and timber beams. The traditional bazaar sells a variety of good from spices and artefacts to pearls and gold jewelry, and with its bustling alleys and restaurants, continues to thrive as it once did in the old days.
Yet, the attractiveness of Souq Waqif transcends its history. This showpiece of traditional Qatari architecture is juxtaposed against the towering skyscrapers of Doha’s modern face, and the orderliness in the city’s urban design gives way to a labyrinthine complex, which seems to burst with spontaneity.
Souq Waqif also offers an exquisite array of quality local delights at places like Al-Aker Sweets and Tiger Cookies which offers cookies in local flavours, so be sure to swing by to have an authentic Qatari meal or an Arabic sweet or cookie!
4. Barzan Towers
The simple, spartan facade of the Barzan Towers reflects the city’s rich heritage in astronomy and culture. Standing strong against desert winds and alone amidst the sands, the structure is unassuming to the untrained eye, yet sports ancient Qatari design and complex construction methods that stand in contrast with the structure’s seeming simplicity.
With thick, strong walls and small windows, the Barzan Towers were ideal defence towers that kept desert invaders out during the late 19th century. These features also meant that while attacking troops were melting under the sweltering heat, Qatari watchmen could literally have a chill day off inside.
5. Qanat Quartier
Best described as Venetian charm meets desert mystique, Doha’s Qanat Quartier in The Pearl-Qatar, is a lively residential quarter that evokes a Riviera feel and breathes vivid colours into the desert whiteness.
Despite being situated quite a distance from the rest of the sights, Qanat Quartier promises tranquility and space for visitors to appreciate its beauty and the confluence of cultural themes offer a uniquely Qatar experience.
Doha is an enthralling city, and its many beautiful sights are certainly more than enough inspiration to get your Instagram game on. With a vast array of architectural styles, aesthetic traditions and cultural influences, a stopover in Doha will leave your creative passions craving for more.