Doha is the capital of Qatar. It is the political and economic center of the country. The city was founded in 1820, not having a long history. Since Qatar gained independence in 1971, Doha was on the track of booming development. Nowadays, it is a very modernized and urbanized city with many sky scrapers and an artificial island called Pearl. It is really a miracle to build a modernized island on sea within such a short time period.
I visited this city on 15th August 2019. I transfered plane at the Hamad International Airport and stayed one night in this city. This is the first time that I visited the middle-east so for me it was like a whole new world that only exisited in my imagination from the stories of One Thousand and One Nights.
The city center is not too far from the airport. This is the area where I lived. The commercial center of Doha looks like the financial center Lujiazui in Shanghai. They both are international cities with numerous high towers standing. However Doha has a hot desert climate and its average temperature in August is above 40°C. At noon, the scorching sunlight will threaten people’s health so it is difficult to find even one person around the streets.
The Corniche is a beautiful waterfront promenade with palm trees along the Doha bay. It is easily accessible from the city center and is a great place for leisure. Walking along the Corniche encircling the bay, I could get a panaromic view of the city. At the moment, vaporized water had formed a layer of mist above the bay and blocked the view.
The most striking building along the Corniche is the museum of Islamic art designed by the Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei. This museum is built on an artificial island near the traditional Doha harbor. The island is connected to the land by two bridges. The architecture combines the elements of ancient Islamic architecture and modern design.
On the bridge towards the museum, the beautiful views of the old harbour could be exactly framed in the camera. The streaks of afternoon sunlight scatter on the corrugating surface of sea. The old wooden dhows hover dispersedly about the harbour which is shrouded by the water mist formed under the high temperature. It creates a beauty of obscure hazedness like an impressionist painting.
The museum was opened on November 22, 2008. It consists of the five floors, the main dome, and the central tower. The interior of the building is decorated by several Islamic arts, and a large metallic chandelier. In the central atrium of the building, there is large glass ring. Different geometric patterns are used in the design of ceiling.
The Museum of Islamic Art houses collections from three continents over 1,400 years. Its collection includes metal work, ceramics, jewelry, wood work, textiles, and glass obtained from Islamic countries and dating from the 7th to the 19th century. This iron urn in the picture was found in Iran.
There is a courtyard outside the main building which is decorated with arches and fountains. The use of arches and water is very important in the design of Islamic building.
The arch facing to the West Bay is definitely a perfect place to take the picture of sunset and Doha skyline. Today, all the scenes are unfortunately blurred by the water vapor. Even the sun was so shy that refuses to show its face.
Doha has many mosques in the city area. This is one of the most magnificant mosques. It is the Qatar State Grand Mosque named by Imam Muhammad Ibn Abd Al Wahhab. He was a religious leader, reformer, and theologian during the 18th century. The façade of the Grand Mosque is made up of sandstone. The building was in traditional Arab style with 28 domes on the top. There is a square in front of the mosque. At night, the illumination of the square will make it more spectacular.
When the night fell, the temperature returned to normal and the market of Doha became crowded. The Sous Waqif was a marketplace near the museum of Islamic art. It comprised of many small alleys and many restaurants are hiding inside.
The market is the best place to satisfy my stomach. This is one dish for my dinner. I was alone in this city and didn’t speak the local language so I choose one restaurant that looked not so intimidating and ordered this dish called fish Kibbeh. It is actually a Lebanen dish made of fish fillet, red onions, pepper, parsley leaves… and tastes like deep fried cod balls.
This is another Lebanese dish called Shish Tawook chicken kabob. I don’t know why there are so many Lebanese food in Qatar. This dish is made of marinated chicken in yogart, lemon and garlic and is eaten together with thin pancake and onions. Honestly saying, these foods are delicious but too oily for me.
这是另一道黎巴嫩菜肴，称为“ Shish Tawook鸡肉烤肉”。我不知道为什么在卡塔尔会有这么多黎巴嫩美食。这道菜是用腌过的鸡肉，柠檬和大蒜制成的，与薄薄的煎饼和洋葱一起食用。这些食物确实很美味，但对我来说有点太油腻了。
After one rich dinner, I strolled around in the small alleys selling traditional garments, spices, and handicrafts under the dim lights. Here is the wonderful place where I could see the real lives of the local people.
I was not interested in the tapestries on sale on the market but was attracted by the pet stalls selling a variety of pets like rabbits, turtles and birds. I lingered at this stall for a while because of this clever parrot. It has the multicolored feather and mimiced my speaking.
At night, I returned to the hotel located in the city center by the metro. Doha had a beautiful night as well. The surroundings are the brightly lit skyscrapers and car streaming streets. I took this picture in the hotel room to memorize this trip.
The next day’s morning, I walked along this road towards the Katara culture village. In 2019, Qatar was preparing the infrastructures for the World Cup 2022 so many constructions were on the way, including the metro station near Katara. Along this way, it was a bit desolated and I could not see anyone.
After 40 minutes’ walk, I arrived at this cultural village but I was really exhausted. The high temperature made me nearly dehydrated. I walked around to visit some buildings of Islamic style nearby.
“Katara” was the historical name used for Qatar prior to the 18th century. The center is used to hold some cultural events. The buildings here could reflect the architecture style of the country.
There is an open ampitheatre in the village as well. It is a modern building and could be visited free of charge. In October 2012, Giuseppe Verdi’s classic opera Aida was hosted in this amphitheatre. It was the first opera to be held in Qatar.
Based on my previous plan, I would visit the Pearl island which was in the north of this village after I left this place. However the high temperature forced me to give up this plan. My whole body was drenched by sweats;I felt dizzy and had to go back to hotel immediately. To travel in middle east, temperature is defintely a factor to consider. Although it was not a successful trip for me, I believe it still could broaden my horizon and enrich myself so I would like to record it down and reminisced this experience when I was boring.