Maarten Schäfer

Our friend Charne told us that whatever we do while we’re in Doha, we mustn’t miss the new Museum of Islamic Art that opened in 2008. The museum is a flagship project of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, the emir of Qatar, who has brought together Islamic artefacts from across three continents which date back more than 1,000 years.

Built on an artificial island off the Corniche, the building has become a Doha landmark, an architectural masterpiece floating on water. With its stark geometric exterior, it looks like a cubist impression of a veiled Muslim woman.

Inside, we are blown away by the spaces: light filters in through high roof lights, a broad staircase floats up through the central atrium and bay windows offer sweeping views of the Doha skyline across the bay. The museum’s architect I.M Pei – also known for his iconic Louvre Pyramid – designed the…

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