Doha is the thriving capital city of Qatar, where you can experience an intriguing mix of modern wonders and ancient traditions. The sparkling skyline greeting arrivals vividly display the country’s wealth that saw Doha grow into a great cosmopolitan metropolis, rendering the previous modest fishing and pearl diving town unrecognisable.
Not many people knew where or what Qatar was, but now… everyone knows the lucky host of this year’s FIFA World Cup! Especially with it coming up in only a few months! The excitement is building and the travel plans are being made for this special event, which starts on the 20 November 2022 and ends on the 18 December -almost a whole month of gripping and skillful soccer for us all to spoil in!
According to a local Qatari I recently met, the Qataris are very aware of the changing world, but they are very careful not to lose their culture and tradition and instead nurture their unique individuality. Therefore, they find themselves with the perfect mix of West meets East.
A perfect example of this is the continued use of falconry. Whilst there’s very little need of it in modern-day Qatar, the tradition of having a trained, magnificent falcon still lives on. So don’t be surprised to see men and boys around the city carrying their prized falcons on their arms.
Katara Cultural Village is Qatar’s hub for culture and creativity, designed in a way to hark back to traditional life with its maze of alleyways and Pigeon Towers.
If you want to take a step back into history and experience stunning architecture and huge collection of art and artefacts, then the Museum of Islamic Art is the best place to visit. Here you can can be transported through time from 14 centuries ago to modern times when viewing ceramics, manuscripts, metalworks, textiles and other fine art pieces of the Islamic world.
Even though it’s known to be a desert, the country is filled with greenery, tall palm trees decorate many streets and there’s also an huge glistening ocean. In fact, La Corniche is a beautiful seafront promenade, stretching 7 km along the Doha Bay, offering amazing views of the ocean and Doha’s skyline.
Your favourite Qatari delicacy?
If you have the chance, all tourists must try a number of Qatari dishes such as machboos, a fragrant yellow coloured rice dish, usually served with lamb or goat. Another favourite is threed, which is a lamb stew with vegetables topped with crispy bread. As for desserts, legaymat (or legaimat) is a traditional Arabic sweet served with dibs (date syrup) or sugar syrup. The dumplings in this recipe are a family favourite, especially during the month of Ramadan.
Which market you have to visit?
Souq Wagif, a lively centuries-old market, is a must visit when in Doha. This old market is filled with traditional shops ranging from scented incense perfumes such as Dihn ilOud (in Arabian ‘oudh’) is highly valued by perfumers for its sweet, woody, aromatic and complex scent. Also, in the Souq you will experience traditional Qatari food sold at stalls. It is a great place to find antique gifts such as carpets, jewellery and scarves. Make sure to spoil yourself with winter, handwoven shawls.
Best 360 degree view?
Visit the revolving Three Sixty Restaurant at the 300-metre-tall Torch tower for the best views in the city!
If in Doha in the winter months, take part in our traditional sports of camel racing and falconry. The Camel races are a wonderful way to see the young Qatari men prepare their camels for the races – you’ll be surprised at the huge following this sport has. Falconry is also a serious hobby in Qatar. Leading up to the winter months, don’t be surprised to see many Qataris in the desert training their falcons to hunt. If you see them, make sure to stop as they will be happy to show you how falcons hunt their prey.
How many days should you spend here (ideally)?
As Qatar is small in size, it is recommended to spend around a week in Doha preferably in the winter months.