A tiny peninsula on the Arabian Gulf where deep-rooted culture and modernity blend in harmony, Qatar is a quintessential city-state beholding rare treasures and hidden gems to delight its visitors. Be it a peek into the past or a glimpse into the future, revel in an enthralling journey indulged by Arabian Hospitality
A hub for Bedouin people (nomadic Arabic tribes) for numerous centuries and a silent witness to scores of nomads, locals and visitors who have passed through its massive environs and the labyrinth of alleyways. Souq Waqif still provides space for trading, shopping, eating, or enjoying shisha and remains a vibrant marketplace in Al Souq district in the centre of Doha. It has earned its place as a Heritage Market in Qatar as well as having the distinction of being one of the famous authentic folk markets in the whole region. This national treasure offers a myriad of experiences within its confines as you stroll down having a spellbinding step back in time to a traditional Arab Marketplace. The stroll presents a bevvy of shops overflowing with aromatic spices, a shimmering array of shawls, enticing fragrances from loaded perfume counters, a medley of local crafts and much more. Many visitors at hotels in Doha, Qatar don’t fail to visit this souq despite the bustling crowds of locals and visitors some shopping, some socializing and some enjoying the excitement as this is an authentic walk through of the past and the present of Qatar.
The Corniche Doha
A stunning gem of Qatar, the Doha corniche has an inviting 7 km stretch of promenade along the scenic Doha Bay. The sought-after location for many important events and festivals of the nation this crescent-shaped stretch is ideal for an early morning walk to witness the glorious sunrise at dawn and take in the quiet mood of the city. Experience the contrast with an evening stroll on the promenade offering an illuminating insight into the harmony of nature against the modern wonders of architecture. Gaze at the traditional dhows gliding on the deep blue water with the Qatar Museum of National Art etched against the skyline against the fading sun as it sinks magnificently into the waters. It is no wonder many locals and visitors from properties such as Al Najada Hotel by Tivoli flock here to be mesmerised, reminisce, and linger over drinks or a meal creating unforgettable moments at this iconic corniche.
Imam Abdul Wahhab Mosque (Qatar State Grand Mosque)
A rare national treasure atop a hill Qatar State Grand Mosque is an architectural marvel fusing Islamic tradition with modern features of architecture. The sandstone façade demonstrates the preservation of the rich heritage and history of the state. With 93 domes in all, 65 in the outer quadrangle and 28 larger domes in the centre hall, complemented by 20 entrances the mosque is the largest in Qatar. Not only is it grand by name but it is also grandiose in stature geared to be able to seamlessly manage almost 30,000 worshippers at any given time. The fully air-conditioned interior is exquisitely detailed and adorned by beautiful chandeliers. The halls, prayer areas, walkways and the Islamic Library are airy and spacious, ceilings are domed offering a feeling of vastness even if there are crowds of people. Consisting of three floors, the basement, ground floor and mezzanine floor the interior of the Grand Mosque radiates tranquillity permitting visitors to appreciate its well-appointed features. The Grand Mosque demonstrates its aura of grandeur even from a distance when the strategically positioned lighting illuminates it at night against the Doha Skyline. Entry to the mosque is open for visitors regardless of religious affiliation during non-prayer times.
Katara Cultural Village
Spelt using the ancient way of naming the state, Katara Cultural Village is a unique gem that encapsulates many of Katara’s cultural and uniquely local features in one vast location. Fine art galleries, museums, mosques, shopping arenas, public art, and the importance of being close to nature, are evident in the layout and offering at this village. Here are some of the fascinating inclusions at the village.
Katara Mosque – Also known as the Blue Mosque of Katara, this is a picturesque mosque presenting a predominantly blue façade due to the intricate glass mosaic art and ceramic tiles which have been hand-painted and made especially for this cultural village.
The Golden Mosque – A remarkable historical and religious icon constructed in Ottoman architectural style. This mosque exudes a golden radiance through its façade intricately designed to emulate the virgin sands of the desert, with a refined texture. Visitors admire this unique mosque while locals visit regularly for prayer and reflection.
Art Galleries – These are venues encouraging local talents such as artists, designers, and the general public to expand their understanding of different forms of art and other creative disciplines by offering spaces to demonstrate their work and expand their contribution to the culture.
Al Thuraya Planetarium – An engaging attraction for visitors of all ages especially for enthusiasts of astronomy, this planetarium presents an advanced full-dome digital system on an illuminating journey around the universe. In addition to the normal features of a planetarium, Al Thuraya allows visitors to explore the role of astronomy in the history and Islamic traditions of the state.
Situated on the left-hand side of the man-made Pearl Island in Doha, Qanat Quartier is a gem of a creation inspired by Venetian Waterways offering a myriad of experiences to discerning visitors. Picturesque canals, impressive architecture, numerous bridges lined by shops and cafes and pretty townhouses, for a moment you wonder whether you are in Venice or still in Qatar. Experience this newly created gem in Qatar by whizzing under the charming bridges, having a cool gelato or a quick bite from an awning-covered trendy café before you explore the rest of the palette of experiences awaiting you at Qanat Quartier. Getting to Qanat Quartier is convenient by a dhow cruise from the Corniche (every 2 hours during the weekend) or by car, getting about there is easy by water taxi.