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Attractions in Doha Qatar

Museum of Islamic Art

The Museum of Islamic Art, Doha was the first of its kind in the Persian Gulf and its sheer size alone, over 484,000 sq. ft, is a testament to the dream of its designers.

Museum of Islamic Art

The museum is dedicated to being the primary museum of Islamic art in the world and through the vision of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, His Highness the Emir of Qatar to project the State of Qatar into a capital of culture; the Museum of Islamic Art will manifest this dedication by creating, conserving and certificating a collection that reflects the life, the intricacy and the diversity of the arts of the Islamic world.

This was an unimaginably ruthless target, but the actions are fast when the orders are from Emiral decree and funds are almost indefinite. The cubistic pyramid form of the Museum of Islamic Art which rises out of the creamy turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf, is just the tip of the iceberg of a truly dazzling array of engineering marvels currently going in and around Doha which are effortlessly blending yesterday and tomorrow, visitors can admire the puritanical Islamic absolute monarchy cherishing tradition while embracing modernity to become a Middle East Goliath.

During the start of construction of the museum by the Qatari officials, the veteran Chinese-American architect IM Pei, a genius now considered to be the master of modern architecture, was summoned out of retirement to design the museum. The Louvre's glass pyramid, Hong Kong's Bank of China tower, and the JFK Library in Boston are some of his notable structures. The result is an architectural gem in a new C-shaped peninsula which provides protection from not-so-good looking industrial buildings on the east and the Arabian Gulf on the north with vast square blocks rising to a central tower to strike a chord with the Tunisian fortresses. Also oases on the water's edge and park of dunes behind the Museum offer shelter and a scenic backdrop. Just five years after its opening, this pioneering institution is already much-admired as one of the world’s great museums.

Inside the Museum

The Museum of Islamic Art distinctive structure suggests a range of conventional Islamic architectural forms with two cream colored limestone buildings, a five-story main building and a two-story Education Wing, connected across a central courtyard. The great looping lighting rigs hanging overhead makes our gaze is carried up towards the geometric apex, inside there's a central foyer, set far below a skylight in the middle of a sculptured dome, also with two lighting vents at the summit abnormally remind eyes glimpsed above a veil; all of these enhance the feeling of the place as a kind of secular mosque. The massively tall windows inside provide a see through across the bay towards the post-modern skyline of modern Doha.

The main building was designed in such a way that the angular volume recedes as they go up around a 5-story high domed atrium and the walls of a central tower masks this from outside view. The top of the atrium has an Oculus which hold and reflects patterned light within the faceted dome. The two floors of galleries that encircle the atrium have treasures from the permanent collection. Each chamber is serene and pleasantly cool, solace from the heat and hustle outside; the exhibition rooms feature specially designed cases and lighting to protect the brittle antiquities on display.

The museum's collection includes manuscripts, metalwork, ceramics, jewellery, woodwork, textiles, coins, fabric, and glass collected since the late 1980s. MIA has an exceptional collection of rare gold and silver coins which gives a captivating insight into the lives of Muslim peoples from the 7th century. MIA has some of the highest-quality of glasswork from enameled glass, in its multicolored grandeur, to gleam and even simpler cut and molded pieces ever produced in the Islamic world. The collection has over 800 manuscripts from Qur’ans from the 7th century to Ottoman works of the 19th century. Also, the metalwork collection in MIA represents the finest pieces of metal work of the Islamic world from the 7th century to modern times.

Location

The Museum of Islamic Art is located on a man-made island sixty meters from the shore on the south side of Doha's Corniche. The museum is connected to the coast by a vehicular bridge and a by two pedestrian bridges. The MIA is only 15 minutes drive from Doha International airport and within walking distance of Souq Waqif. The best way to get to the museum is by car or private taxi. Meanwhile, the route 76 bus stops just outside the gate of the museum.

Visitor Facilities and Information

Free guided tours of MIA

Information desk is at the main entrance. There are free guided tours every Thursday and Saturday at 2pm. Just meet at the staircase in the Atrium. Tours take 40 minutes in English and Arabic. Visually impaired multi-media guides are available on request. Audio guides for adult/family tours available in Arabic or English in the atrium. Free but photo ID required as deposit.

Prayer Rooms

Male prayer room on level 1 to right of museum entrance
Female prayer room on the mezzanine level to the left of the atrium

Auditorium

The auditorium is on level 1 to the left of the main atrium. This 200 seat auditorium is fully equipped with the latest audiovisual equipment.

ATM

ATM center is available in the main Atrium

Museum Gift Shop

The Gift Shop which is nestled on the ground floor offers a unique cultural and shopping experience. There is a vast array of exclusively designed products based on the MIA magnificent collection from art books to exhibition catalogues, jewellery to home decor and other gifts and accessories, visitors can experience and choose their best museum souvenirs.

Museum of Islamic Art Library

The library is on Level 1 in the Education wing. The library has a vast collection of books which include Archaeology, Islamic Architecture, Calligraphy, Carpets and Kilims, Carvings, Ceramics, Coins, Engravings, Paintings, Metalwork, Silverwork, History, Gardens, Monuments, Religion, Waterworks, Tools etc. Children under 18 are allowed inside only when accompanied by a responsible adult. Application to study rare books and manuscripts must be approved in 24 hours in advance. Protected materials may not be copied or scanned. Photographs may be permitted for a limited number of pages. Museum staff may be able to provide photographs on request.

Contact Details

Tel: +974 4422 4420

Open hours

Sunday 10am to 5pm
Monday 10am to 5pm
Wednesday 10am to 5pm
Thursday 12am to 5pm
At other times by appointment only.

Research

Research assistance and private study rooms are available for visiting scholars interested in the arts of the Islamic world.

MIA Park

The MIA Park is adjacent to the museum where visitors leisurely walk in the promenades, participate in fun activities, dine outdoor with a spectacular panorama of West Bay or just stare at the Doha skyline from the best vantage point in the city. Visitors can unwind in the high-backed wicker chairs while enjoying freshly made sandwiches, pastries and salads in the sheltered awnings and harbor breezes of the outdoor café.

Children's Playground

For children aged 2 to 14, there is a play area which has a playhouse, sandpit, swings, slides and a bungee trampoline which is safe and well supervised.

Bungee trampolines Timings:

Sunday, Monday, Wednesday 10.30am - 8.30pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday 12pm – 10pm, Closed Tuesday.
Cost: 25QR

Bicycle Hire

Bikes for adults and children can be hired from the small Gift Shop near the cafe.
Available 10.30am to 5pm.
Cost: 25QR per hour

Paddle Boats

Visitors can enjoy the paddle boats exploring the calm waters surrounding the museum. Life jackets are provided and the trained staffs are on hand to ensure the adventures are as safe as they are fun.
Paddle Boats are available from 12pm until dusk.
Cost 25QR per 30 minutes.

MIA Park Bazaar

The Park Bazaar will start again in October and will be held on the first Saturday of every month until April 2014.

Timings

Daily 10.30am until 11pm
Closed Tuesday
Park attractions - Open from 12pm until 10pm
Park Kiosk open
Daily 12pm until 10pm
Closed Tuesday

Open hours

Sunday 10:30am - 5:30pm
Monday 10:30am - 5:30pm
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 10:30am - 5:30 pm
Thursday 12pm - 8pm
Friday 2pm - 8pm
Saturday 12pm - 8pm
Last admission ½ hour before closing
Tel +974 4422 4444
Fax +974 4422 4446

Dress Code

Visitors are asked to be dressed appropriately. Entrance may be refused to those unsuitably dressed.

Mathaf Shuttle Bus

Free bus between MIA and Mathaf
Wednesday to Sunday 11am to 5pm. Buses leave on the hour

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