Qatar post-football: the best time to meet

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Post-football Qatar: the best time to meet

Sophisticated travelers know that if you want to get the best impressions from a new country on the best terms, seize the moment when some major tourist event has just ended in it. And the bigger it was, the better. This winter, of course, Qatar has become such a travel supernova, which right now is seeing off the last groups of fans who have not yet departed from the dramatic outcome of the 2022 World Cup.

And here the alignment of benefits for the “post-event” tourist is perhaps even steeper: for Qatar, the championship has become not just a key tourist event, for which literally the whole country has been preparing for three years without a break, but also a status topic, an opportunity to “click on the nose” of the arrogant Emirates . Here, not only new stadiums, hotels and restaurants were built, the main metropolitan embankment and beaches were equipped, but also very seriously invested in cultural facilities. We’ll tell you about the very best things you can and should see in Qatar right now, when the weather guarantees comfortable sunny +26 °C, the sea is warm, and the hotels empty after the World Cup offer the best conditions.

Museum of Sports and the Olympic Movement and Sports 3-2-1

Especially for the football match in the capital of Qatar, the world's largest sports museum was opened: on an area of ​​​​19 thousand square meters. m fit the entire history of sports – from antiquity to the present. The cylindrical building of intricate architecture, surrounded by 5 Olympic rings, immediately attracts attention, and inside there are real rarities – Olympic medals for 120 years, original torches from all the Olympics – and relics such as Maradona's T-shirt, Pele's ball and boots, Serena Williams' racket and even Schumacher's racing car. In addition to sports artifacts, the ultra-modern 3-2-1 features graphic and audiovisual exhibits, a large hall of interactive sports games where you can spend a couple of hours and not notice how time has flown by. Of. museum website (in English) In the museum shop you can buy T-shirts autographed by football stars – Ronaldo, Pele and Messi. Prices, however, are appropriate – from 2500 to 8000 QAR. A special feature of the Qataris is to open Michelin-star restaurants at key cultural centers. Here, too, they have not betrayed themselves: the Naua institution, which logically specializes in healthy eating, operates in the new sports museum. And the concept for it was created by Briton Tom Aikens, who not only has a Michelin star, but also himself is an avid marathon runner. Combo! 1/1

Museum of Islamic Art

In October, after a complete renovation, the Museum of Islamic Art was opened on the waterfront of Doha (off. site in English) – an indisputable “must visit” of both the capital and the whole country. The design of the futuristic building gracefully plays with the forms of ancient Islamic architecture, and in its 18 galleries you can see the richest collection of ancient manuscripts, ceramics, textiles, jewelry and many other valuable artifacts. The concept of expositions has also been updated: now twilight reigns in the museum, each exhibit is illuminated by rays of light directed at it. The new multimedia rooms make clever use of interactive technologies, such as viewing shipwrecks on the sea floor and trying on virtual jewellery. Directly behind the museum is an unusual metropolitan landmark, which is definitely worth a stroll – MIA-Park, a man-made oasis with lush vegetation and even dunes. 1/1

Qatar National Museum

Opposite the Museum of Islamic Art, a gigantic “desert rose” bloomed in 2019: this is how gypsum crystals of a characteristic shape found in the sands are called in the Middle East. It was their bizarre contours that inspired the architect Jean Nouvel, designing the building of the National Museum, as if consisting of planes-petals intersecting in all directions. The exhibits of the museum are devoted to the history of Qatar, and its main theme is the transformation of a modest state of nomads and pearl collectors into one of the richest countries in the world. Quite traditional items – fossils, national costumes, dishes and weapons are immersed in a fantastic space that recreates the natural and cultural context. Of. museum website (in English) In immersive galleries, the floors disappear from under your feet, slanting walls turn into split screens for films and video installations, waves of images, sounds and smells fall on the viewer.

The museum has children's corners with animations and interactive games: the youngest visitors will learn how to spot the footprints of desert dwellers and how to hold your breath while diving for pearls. 1/1

Katara Cultural Village

The Katara Cultural Village is a labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets that takes you from modern Qatar deep into its history in a matter of minutes. Here is one of the most beautiful buildings in Doha – Qatar Masjid. The facade of the mosque, which is also called the Blue Mosque, is decorated with mosaic tiles in blue and gold hues, and the minaret, dome and mihrab repeat the shapes of the largest temples in the Muslim world. The Qatar Masjid is rivaled by the Ottoman-style Golden Mosque, covered with the thinnest gold plates. The ethnographic complex houses art galleries, an amphitheater and an opera house, unusual museums of Arab postage stamps and maritime heritage. The territory of the village is decorated with gardens, fountains and original sculptures, souvenir shops sell items made of gold and local pearls, restaurants serve Qatari cuisine. In the evenings in Katara Village you can listen to national music and see oriental dances. 1/1

In the “village of Qatar” everything is easy, homely: the surrounding hills remain emerald green even in the height of summer thanks to an intelligent irrigation system, the promenade is cooled by outdoor air conditioners, and in the late afternoon you can see a gratifying picture there: sheikhs in snow-white galabei line up in a small in line, waiting for a table at Novikov's Asian restaurant or Pouchkine cafe.

Souk Waqif

Another way to visit the pre-oil past of Qatar is a trip to the iconic oriental bazaar of Souq Waqif. Everything from fragrant spices to luxurious jewelry can be found in this bustling market. Shops and shops sell fabrics, clothes, perfumes, all kinds of nuts and seeds in dozens of varieties, fish, umbrellas, lanterns, gold, ancient weapons, toys – it's easier to list what notsell. By the way, unlike many oriental bazaars, it would not occur to anyone at Suk-Vakif to importunately invite a passer-by tourist to his shop, and even more so – to drag him by the sleeve. In this sense, everything is quite European, but in all the rest it is completely exotic. Bargaining, of course, is also appropriate.

Particularly interesting places in the market area: on Handmade Street, artisans blow toys out of glass and sew pillows, artists paint pictures. And in a separate “falcon quarter” you can admire the hunting falcons put up for sale, without touching them, however, with your hands: firstly, they can grab them with their beaks, and secondly, the most valuable specimens cost about the same as a Porsche of the new model. Other popular shopping destinations are Pearl Qatar (aka The Pearl of Qatar), Galeries Lafayette Doha, Place Vendome Mall and Villaggio, where you can find world famous brands. 1/1

Al-Zubarah Fort

This Arab military fortress, 100 km north of Doha (which is a very long trip for compact Qatar; the entire country from north to south is 186 km) is Qatar's only UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort rises above the ruins of one of the largest trading cities in the Arabian Gulf: in the 18th century, pearls were mined and sold here, and fierce battles regularly unfolded near the city walls. Today, behind the walls and towers of the citadel there is a very interesting museum with authentic artifacts of past centuries – cannonballs, coins, accessories of pearl collectors. Not far from the fort, you can see the sea channel, the harbor and fragments of the outer walls. By the way, it is not necessary to go to Al-Zubara from the capital. Much closer to get to it from the Zulal Wellness Resort, located in an artificial oasis on the northernmost point of the coast of Qatar. The resort has just opened, in March 2022, its concept is conscious recovery. Zulal Wellness is divided into two parts: Discovery for conditional beginners and Serenity for more sophisticated lovers of relaxation (and for older ones; only guests 16+ are accommodated in Serenity). Programs lasting from 2 days to 21 days are developed individually, the daily diet is based on 1500 purely healthy kilocalories, all food from the chef from Kerala is strictly organic, gluten-free and milk-free, with local spices: well, you understand. And since the resort is only a few months old, the tariffs in it have not yet managed to rise “to their full height”. 1/1

Thanks to Qatar Tourism for given the opportunity to get up close and personal with the State of Qatar< /i>

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