The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha is a great place to visit. It’s a stunning building both inside and out with it’s sleek white lines. It was designed by Pritzer prize winning architect, I M Pei, who famously created the design for the Louvre Pyramid. There are great sight lines on the approaches with avenues of palm trees and from the building itself there are great views of the bay.
Inside the museum there are four main levels with the lower floor being taken up with amenities like the gift shop and the sleek cafe. On the next floor various themes are explored like patterns, figural depictions and calligraphy. Above the development of Islamic art is explored on a chronological basis. The top floor for exhibition space is devoted to a special exhibition: when we visited it was Muhammed Ali. We also saw another special exhibition about the terracotta army which was very interesting. At the very top of the building is an Alain Ducasse Restaurant.
The thematic and chronological displays are very interesting and were certainly an eye opener in terms of the breadth of Islamic art. Islamic art came into every aspect of daily life and we saw an enormous range of objects, many domestic, including carpets, lamps, candlesticks and weapons. So many of the exhibits showed great craftmanship and the level of detail was extraordinary. The limitations on art dictated by religion did not limit the imaginative ideas and the quality of work. There were many items that I’d have liked to take home and many of the items were for domestic use, which makes them more immediate and appealing in many ways.
The Museum of Islamic Art has excellent free wifi (good coverage too) and there’s no need to login, register or anything like that.