Qatar´s Capital Doha, Where the Past Meets the Future

18/01/2024

Recently we´ve started service to this dyamic city – in the northeast Arabnian Peninsula astride a bay off the Persian Gulf and with a population of some 665,000 – where which will have you marveling at its modernity. Considered since 2014 one of the world´s top seven urban wonders, its core is dominated by glass skyscrapers, interspersed with green spaces and renovated historical buildings dating back to its founding in 1820.

Back then it was a humble town of fisherfolk and pearl merchants, and it pretty much remained that way until Qatar became an exporter of oil in 1949 and eventually upon independence from Britain Doha became the national capital in 1971. Petrodollars transformed the city skyline into what it is today, and here are several of the highlights very much worth a visit:

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A Cornucopia of Shopping

Doha has plenty of modern shopping centres (see below), but don´t miss historic Souq Waqif, founded in the late 19th century and renovated in 2006. Its many narrow lanes are packed with of eateries and of course shops, which hawk all manner of traditional handicrafts, garments, spices, and other souvenir-worthy items (there´s also a good-size theatre here for stage performances). And if you happen to be in the market for jewelry and gems, have a go at the Gold Souq and get your name engraved in Arabic on a fine bauble (haggling is of course  expected).

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And of course as we mentioned, there are the big shopping centres such as Al Hazm (very posh), City Centre, Festival City, Mall of Qatar, The Pearl, and Villaggio Mall. As you can see, there’’s no shortage of optimal options for retail therapy!

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Magnificent Mosques

There are around 20 Muslim houses of worship in Doha< most of them of fairly recent vintage, dating back to some 20 years ago, and many reflecting along with spirituality the sultanate´s economic might with soaring and elaborate architecture.

With its distinctive minaret, with a spiral base, the Bin Zaid Mosque (above) is one of the symbols of Qatar, and is especially impressive when lit up at night. The Imam Abdul Wahhab mosque, meanwhile, is the sultanate´s largest and one of the most popular, with a clay façade; large, illuminated arches; and many domes. Then there´s the Katara Mosque, which features a façade covered in mosaics of turquoise and purple tiles with designs from throughout the Arab world. Finally, another special construction right near Doha is the seven-year-old Education City mosque, which stands out for its two soaring vertical minarets – a real treat for modern-architecture aficionados.

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Excursions from Doha: The Nature Side of Qatar

The vast Arabian Desert surrounding Doha is the wellspring of Qatar´s traditional Bedouin culture, and during the cooler winter months many Qataris leave to go camping amidst the sands of their ancestors. Visitors, too, can enjoy these sweeping flats and towering dunes, on excursions including 4×4, quads, camel rides, sandboarding, and more, with options for overnight stays in well equipped desert camps,

Other nearby activities include cruises along the coast and more than a dozen beautiful beaches where besides swimming and sunning you and go kitesurfing, sailing, kayaking, snorkelling/diving, wakeboarding, and more.

Intrigued? Come and experience Doha with Iberis!

 

Images: venuestock; bennymarty; LordRunar; 2Good2BeReal; emson;