Reported by BBC as the richest country in the world 2017 for its highest GDP per capita, Qatar boasts richness with its beautiful landscapes and sights that would make you think that God truly blesses this land in more ways than one.
With its assortment of exciting activities to do for holidaymakers, the country also offers tourists attractions that are unique in this desert-surrounded glory.
Tourist Spots: Where to Go in Qatar
First stop is The Museum of Islamic Art considered to be the largest museum of its kind in the world. It would seem to be a show of disrespect if you will not pay homage, first and foremost, to this place considered to be the center of the Muslim beliefs. The place showcases masterpieces from both secular and religious world, and offers a regular program of courses, workshops and lectures important to the Muslim culture. Go and learn more of their history, and be mesmerized by the grandeur you can see inside.
Inside the Museum of Islamic Art © Ralf Steinberger/Flickr
Don’t miss visiting the Qatar National Museum as well. Named as Qatar’s biggest national museum, inside you can have a glimpse of the country’s rich historical past. Originally built as residence for Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani, it now housed archaeological relics, a military exhibition from the ruling family and a display of traditional Bedouin tent.
And though it is not as grand as the previous two museums, Al Wakra Museum is one of the best in Qatar which highlights the country’s spectacular architecture. In the earlier days, this place was a fishing hub. To show respect to its modest past, the museum displays Qatar’s marine life.
Mosques are essential part of Muslim life. And what better way to learn about the Muslim heritage than from mosques that Qataris, mainly called as Sunni “Wahhabi” Muslims, are proud of.
The State Grand Mosque is an imposing structure built with a mix of both modern and traditional Arabic architecture. Preserving the traditional Islamic architecture, the structure has the customary design of domes and half-moons typical in Muslim edifices. It is truly a magnificent landmark in Doha. So make sure not to miss it.
State Grand Mosque © Mohamod Fasil/Flickr
Another famous mosque is the Souq Waqif Mosque also known as the Spiral mosque. In a short time, this place became one of Doha’s popular landmarks despite its recent construction. Going away with the traditional Qatari mosque, this one is a replica of the Great Mosque of Al-Mutawwakil found in Samarra in Iraq.
The Spiral Mosque © Kate Hooper/Flickr
Serving as an all-inclusive Islamic institution that embodies our civilization that flourished in various arts and sciences, The Masjid of Katara or Katara Mosque plays a vital role in spreading the concepts and human values of the Muslim religion. This unique Islamic structure became a prominent feature in the Cultural Village of Katara together with its opera house, crafts market and folk music performances held in Katara Amphitheater.
Katara Cultural Village © Isabell Schulz/Flickr
Another interesting mosque to visit is the Education City Mosque. It can accommodate around 1,800 worshippers at one time in its main prayer hall. What is unique about this mosque is that its exterior is covered with embossed verses from the Qur’an.
Going around the city, you can find other striking mosques that show how significant their religion is for the Qatari people.
#3 Fortress and Historical Landmarks
If you are into something mysterious and cryptic, the Al Jassassiya carvings in Al-Ruwais would prove to be interesting for you. With its rare stone carvings, this little fishing village attracts tourists and locals alike to investigate its interesting collection of petroglyphs that dates back 250 years ago.
Your Qatar adventure will never be complete without visiting Khor Al Udaid, the desert marvel of Qatar located 80 kilometers south east of Doha. It is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city life. With its relaxing and tranquil environment, visitors could have a different perspective on how beaches should be like. You almost wouldn’t want to leave.
Despite its booming economy, Qatar doesn’t turn its back from its past. In fact, they preserve and celebrate their archeological sites like Al Zubarah. A UNESCO-protected area, this place represents the hundreds of years of heritage that the country boasts about.
Al Zubarah, UNESCO-preserved area © Lawrence Wang/Flickr
#4 Contemporary Attractions
For family outings, Doha Zoo proved to be one of the most exciting and family-friendly places to visit. Housing more than 1500 animals from around the globe, it surely is a place to get acquainted with animals you may have never heard before. Surely there would be many interesting species to be admired. But visitors have to know that Tuesday afternoons are for women and children only.
Zebras at Doha Zoo © Hafiz Issadeen/Flickr
And if you love the open space surrounded with modernity, The Corniche is the place to go. You can just enjoy taking a stroll around the boulevard while admiring the marvel of the Doha skyline.
The Corniche, Doha © Paul Trafford/Flickr
Being in a strange country, you will never run out of places to appreciate, activities to enjoy and new friends to meet. Qatar is no different. And if you will just be more daring and adventurous, you can discover nooks and holes-in-the-wall wonders that regular tourists have yet to find. Explore. Be bold. And enjoy!