Situated on the southern coast of the Persian Gulf, the Qatari capital has undergone a rapid and impressive expansion in the past 50 years. Today, Doha has firmly established itself as a major international hub for art and culture, with world-class museums, ultra-modern skyscrapers and a stunning seafront promenade. It’s also one of the safest cities in the Middle East and welcomes expatriates from across the globe – to the extent that some estimates suggest that Qataris are now outnumbered by as much as six to one. The warm and pleasant climate makes it the perfect winter getaway, with temperatures ranging from 20-30° Celsius between November and April. If you’re planning a visit, make sure you include these four highlights in your itinerary:
The Museum of Islamic Art
Constructed on a purpose-built island, the spectacular Museum of Islamic Art is one of Doha’s most treasured landmarks. Designed by I. M. Pei, the architect responsible for the Louvre’s iconic glass pyramid, its geometric structure is a striking modernist interpretation of classical Islamic architectural techniques. Inside, the museum houses the world’s largest collection of Islamic Art, showcasing exquisite artefacts from across the Middle East, Turkey and Central Asia. Outside, landscaped grounds are fringed with date palms, leading down to the sunlit expanse of the Arabian Sea. The Museum Park hosts everything from jazz concerts to fitness classes, with sections of the park reserved solely for women on certain days.
This stunning seven-kilometre waterside promenade runs alongside Doha Bay, providing picture-perfect views of Doha’s distinctive skyline. From the Museum of Islamic Art, the elegant brick-paved boulevard leads to the West Bay business district, where you’ll discover some of the world’s tallest and most architecturally acclaimed skyscrapers. Visit at sunset to see reflections of Doha’s illuminated skyline light up the still waters of the Bay.
With its modern business district and state-of-the-art facilities, it’s easy to forget that until the mid-19th century, Doha was only a humble pearl fishing village. The quiet town of Al Khor lies just 40 kilometres north of the capital and provides a peaceful haven, with its sandy beaches, charming old watchtowers and fishing boats harking back to a bygone era. If you’re visiting for the day, leave the mainland via a causeway to explore nearby Purple Island, where a lush mangrove forest provides welcome shade for the kingfishers, herons and ibis that make their homes beneath its branches.
A short distance from the Corniche, the popular Souq Wakif bazaar stands on a historic market site. Around 100 years ago, Bedouin tribes would gather here to sell and exchange livestock for spices and textiles, imported from as far away as India. Today, it is still one of the city’s most important social hubs, with a labyrinth of stalls and alleyways selling spices, perfumes and garments, and an array of cafés and restaurants serving up spicy dishes and fresh coffee.
Thanks to its booming economy, Qatar is now one of the world’s wealthiest countries, making travelling to Doha an attractive proposition for investors looking to expand their portfolios. If you would like to find out more about the exciting opportunities offered by Doha’s burgeoning real estate market, visit our Engel & Völkers shop in Doha or start your search online.