The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha is a cultural icon in the Middle East. Spend the day there with Ker & Downey, then dine at Chef Alain Ducasse’s IDAM restaurant for an unforgettable day of art and culture.
On a lone island 185 feet off the Doha Corniche, an imposing white geometric building rises from the sea. The impressive building is the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by the iconic Chinese Architect I.M. Pei. Famous for his glass pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris, I.M. Pei was lured out of retirement at 90 years old to design the museum, a project that put Doha on the cultural map.
It was designed to make an impact too. In order to gain an understanding of Islamic art and architecture, I.M. Pei embarked on a grand tour – the Grand Mosque in Cordoba, Spain; Fethpur Sikri in India; Umayyad Great Mosque in Damascus, Syria; and ribat fortress at Monastir and Sousse in Tunisia. Ultimately, his final design inspiration came from the 13th-century Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun in Cairo, Egypt.
You can get there from the mainland via a 200-foot palm-lined causeway, but its grand entrance is reached by boat and marked by two 100-foot lanterns on that dock. Inside, a 164-foot domed atrium with intricate coffered ceilings and perforated metal chandeliers define the space.
The museum, built in 2008, is one of the world’s greatest museums, not just for its architecture, but also for the diversity of Islamic art housed there. Masterpieces of metal work, ceramics, jewelry, woodwork, and glass from the 7th to 19th century and from three continents are on display, as well as artifacts that the Al Thanis, Qatar’s Royal Family, have been collecting over many years. Included in its collection are 600-year-old artifacts of ivory and silk inscribed with Islamic and Arabic inscriptions and several pages of ancient Qurans.
Adjacent to the five-storey main building, there’s a two-storey education wing with classrooms and workshops, a light-filled library, and study spaces.
It really is worth making a day out of your visit to the Museum of Islamic Art. Spend the day exploring the different exhibits and courtyard then stay for dinner at IDAM, Chef Alain Ducasse’s first restaurant in the Middle East. Chef Alain Ducasse and his team spent 18 months developing the restaurant’s menu – French Mediterranean cuisine with influences from the Middle East.
Dining at IDAM is truly a treat. Designed by French Architect Philippe Starck, the sophisticated restaurant is located on the MIA’s fifth floor with views of Doha’s skyline. In the coming months, IDAM will also launch an exclusive outdoor terrace extending from the 60-seat restaurant for an unmatched dining experience in Doha.
To add a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art and a dining experience at IDAM to your next Ker & Downey journey in the Middle East, contact your Luxury Travel Consultant. To stay up to date on all our online content, follow Ker & Downey on Facebook and Twitter.