The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha is a collection of artistic gems dating from the 7th to the 19th centuries. The building was designed by I.M. Pei, the man responsible for the Louvre Pyramid.

The Museum is free to visit and is open until 11pm on Thursdays and Saturdays. It’s located on the Doha corniche near the dhow harbour and within walking distance of the recently renovated Souk Waqif, Doha’s other world-class tourist attraction. This is a pleasant walk, although not during the day in the summer months when the temperature is around 46 degrees Centigrade.

The top two floors are where the permanent collections are held. My favourites were: the bejewelled falcon from India dating from 1640, whose plumage comprised precious stones; a 12th century incense burner in the form of a lion from either Iran or India; a later 14th Century ceramic cenotaph from Central Asia; a mid-16th century painted illustration from the story entitled The Nightmare of Zahhak; and the late 12th century Cavour Vase, which was probably crafted in Syria.

julian200Julian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734