I was lucky to recently experience the sights and scenes of Qatar’s capital city, Doha, when I went to visit my brother and his family there at the beginning of March. Having never travelled to the Middle East before, it was a totally new experience for me and one which I thought I’d share with you here today.
I managed to take in some of the amazing architecture, interiors and culture during the few days I was staying in the city, thanks to my wonderful tour guide a.k.a. my big brother, so I’ve pulled together a few shots of things that particularly caught my eye, from beautifully tiled pavements to those towering skyscrapers so typical of a fast-growing, modern city in this part of the world…
At the youthful age of around 50 years, Doha is an incredibly fast developing city and centre of commerce, and as such, already boasts a unique skyline of fascinating architecture, each building very different from its neighbour. The mix of western and eastern styles is evident across the city, and no more so than in the West Bay financial district, where my brother lives and works.
As you can see below, the built up commercial centre of West Bay is a stark contrast to the surrounding sprawl of suburbs which stretch as far as the eye can see!
Above (clockwise from top left): West Bay district / The Gate Mall / Doha city view from West Bay
As night falls, the city lights up and is totally transformed… those Qataris certainly know how to put on a show!
Above (clockwise from top left): West Bay at night / looking out to West Bay incl. Woqod Tower (curved building on right) / lit up ampitheatre in Katara
Amongst the modern architecture you will also find more traditionally designed buildings, particularly in the cultural district of Katara, just a ten minute drive from our base in West Bay.
Above (clockwise from top left): Force of Nature sculpture in Katara Cultural District / Katara amphitheatre / rooftop in Katara Village
The hotel interiors in this city simply ooze luxury; their ornate decor schemes guaranteed to take your breath away.
Above (clockwise from top left): Sheraton Doha lifts / Grand interior of Sheraton / Lighting detail in Four Seasons Hotel
Some scenes from our visit to the Souk Waqif, at the heart of Doha, which has been in existence as a marketplace for over 250 years, however was regenerated in the late 1970s as a bustling souk, complete with winding alleyways and hundreds of stores selling everything from animals to rugs to fabrics to spices.
Finally, some snapshots of the little everyday details that caught my eye…
Above (clockwise from top left): Staircase detail inside the Souk Waqif / Tiled café floor in Katara / Outdoor lighting by Katara amphitheatre / Tiled pavement detail / Copper Pot Statue, Katara / decorative glass ceiling in the Al Jazeera Media Café, Katara
Doha is a really up and coming rival to its better known neighbour, Dubai, yet amongst all the consumerism and oil rich surroundings, it retains a certain sense of Middle Eastern spirit and history. This once declining fishing town is definitely a great choice for some guaranteed Spring sunshine or as an extended stopover destination, so do consider it, especially during the ‘cooler’ months of Spring and Autumn, where temperatures stabilise in the mid to late 20s. Nice.
If you want to find out more about the Qatari capital, these are some recommended reads:
36 Hours in Doha
Doha Travel Tips: Where to go and what to see in 48 hours
Lonely Planet Guide to Doha
Well I’m glad to see we have some Spring sunshine here in Ireland too, we’ll enjoy it while it lasts!
Hope you enjoyed joining me on my little tour.