The Awesome Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

This post is part of a series on our trip to Qatar in August 2012, approaching the end of Ramadan until the celebration of Eid Al Fitr. It was the height of summer, but the hot weather didn’t totally stop us from exploring Qatar as much as we can.  :)

After our overnight swimming and camping at Dukhan Beach last night, we’re now on our Day 4 & last day in Doha.

As Buboy’s clearly sleep-deprived from all the swimming & chatting last night and practically sleep-walked to the hotel room, I let him sleep while I fixed our stuff, did web check-in for tonight’s flight back to Bahrain, printed our boarding passes, et al. At around noon, woke him up to prep for check out. We left our bags at the reception and headed out. Kaliwali the heat. 🙂 

It’s also the second day of Eid Al Fitr, which we were anticipating for the re-opening of MIA. 

The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is located off the Corniche, Doha, Qatar. 

Welcome to MIA

The museum opened its doors to the public in late 2008. Designed by world-renowned architect I. M. Pei (of Louvre’s pyramid), MIA is built on a stand-alone island on Doha Bay, surrounded by a park.

MIA up close

MIA reflects the essence of Islamic architecture, and has become a remarkable icon for the city of Doha.

By the way, entrance is free of charge, and photography not forbidden. Awesome lah! 🙂


At the atrium, ground level was an exhibit on calligraphy, which I’ve always found fascinating.

The ground floor also houses an Auditorium (there was ongoing Japan-Qatar program), and a Gift Shop.

Calligraphy exhibit on the ground level

There’s also an open cafe with lounge area for visitors. You can have your coffee with the view of Doha Bay. Amazing.

cafe lounge, ground level

Now let’s start our Islamic Art Journey.

as per request ni Buboy, ano ka debutante? = p

The Second Floor, houses the Introduction Gallery, Calligraphy, The Figure in Art, Pattern and Science in Art.


The galleries were designed by Paris-based Jean-Michael Wilmotte, indeed in an inspiring setting for a superb collection possibly unrivaled in the world in terms of importance, quality and visual impact.

Buboy’s emo moment (with an astrolabe), Pak!

Next will be a series of photos of the exhibits with my best efforts in captioning, hopefully will suffice. 🙂

Figure in Art: fountainhead, bronze, from Spain, Mid 10th century

a bucket, gilded and enameled glass, Egypt or Syrian origin, mid 14th century

gallery interiors

Inscription Panel (Red sandstone, India) and Mosaic Tile (Fritware + coloured glazes, Iran)

exhibit on miniatures

Turban Helmet, steel with gilt studs, engraved design, early 16th century, Turkey

Dagger and Scabbard, steel with gemstones, 1800’s, India

Pattern: Door knocker, early 13th century, barss, Northern Iraq

A huge Architectural Panel -> amazes Buboy 🙂

my favorite, Persian mosaic tile patterns… 🙂

exhibit on “astrolabes” (used to locate / predict astronomical positions / distances)

The Third Floor galleries – “Journey of Islamic Art though time” are laid out in a chronological series of displays from Early Islamic dynasties to the late Indian and Turkish empires.

My Knight in shining armour, 🙂

Jewellery exhibit

Necklace, emeralds, gold, silk, 1st half of 17th century, India

Bazuban brooch, Pendant and Jigha, emeralds, gold, 17th-18th century, India

Necklace sets, spinels, gold, silk, India

Chopat (Game set), gold, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, 19th century, India

Jewelled Falcon, gold, enamel, gemstones,1640, India

Necklace, gold, gemstones, silk, 19th century, India

The Kevorkian Hydrabad Carpet, wool, cotton, 17th century, India

Portraits, India

Helmets, steel with silver inlay, 15th century, Turkiye

enermous mashrabiyya and door panels

Jar, fritware + pigments + lustre painting, early 13th century, Raqqa, Syria

We went up further to the Fourth Floor which houses a study gallery, a mini auditorium (where we watched a short film) and galleries for temporary exhibitions.

Featured during our visit was the Islamic Glass Exhibitions: Illuminations + Intelligence of Tradition, which runs from 1st Aug 2012 until 07th Jan 2013.

special feature: Islamic Glass Exhibitions

Intelligence of Tradition: Antiquity & Early Islamic Glass

one of the glass exhibits

short film on traditional glass blowing / making @ mini auditorium

Illuminations: The Mosque Lamp as Iconographic Image

a classic mosque lamp

note the intricate design details

If you’re really a museum junkie, MIA will be a piece of heaven for you. You could easily spend at least four hours to go thoroughly all of its shows and exhibits. 🙂

Buboy @ the “bridge”

However, Buboy somehow remembered his tummy and already complained of hunger. There was a restaurant on the 5th level but when we went there, the guards told it was closed for renovation or something. I pointed to him the cafe downstairs but he said pastry & coffee won’t be enough. So, we had to go. =’ (

Ma’asalama MIA! 🙂

We went out of MIA around 2pm, so it was still really hot. The consolation is the surrounding park beautifully landscaped with palm trees, walkways, fountains et al.

Buboy’s last hirit photo 🙂

We walked up to the main gate and took a cab to the Souq’s dining boulevard (remember most of the restaurants were closed the previous day and promised to come back) for our late lunch. It was a delightful Malaysian dining experience. 🙂

On my initial IT list, I’ve listed a number of museums to visit, like Msheireb Enrichment Centre (near Sheraton), Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art (in Educational City area) Qatar National Museum, et al.

It’s apparent we didn’t have sufficient time to cover them all as we’re already flying back to Bahrain that night. Hence we now definitely have more reasons to go back to Doha, woot woot! 🙂

Next and last of the series: Itinerary Summary – Qatar trip, August 2012. 

Categories: Qatar | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “The Awesome Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

  1. Pingback: Swimming, BBQ + bonfire picnic & overnight camping @ Dukhan Beach « adbenturera

  2. .. usually pag “no cameras allowed” ang museum ,di ko pinapasok kasi you won’t be able to share it anyway to your readers.

  3. kaya itong MIA ay awesome tlga kuya kasi allowed, hehe… andaming Japanese nung araw na yun at halos lahat sila may mga SLR cams, basta ang bawal ay food/water, sinisita tlg pag may hawak na btl, either ipaiwan or keep inside bag, 🙂

    i remember kung san nasabihan ako ng “no photos please” sa Doha Duty Free at sa runway nung kukunan ko sana ung BA aircraft, awts. ^_^

  4. Pingback: Qatar Explorers for 4 Days « adbenturera

  5. The architecture alone is a whole art exhibit in itself! It’s a surprise that it’s the same designer of Louvre’s. I literally just read a post that talks about Louvre.
    Excellent images, by the way.

    • thanks Rommel! i do what i can with my phone’s cam, hehe.

      and indeed, MIA’s design alone is impressive! got curious, will check out about Louvre too, 🙂

      • Louvre is so wildly popular. Seen it when I was in Paris. But knowing about this now and the connection between the two, I got more curious than this lesser popular building…. actually more on the designer. I’m on his wikipedia page right now. 😀

      • yep, i agree, the Louvre’s definitely on my list kaso can’t afford pa for my dream Euro Trip, save muna leave days & money, 🙂 mashallah next year,

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