The museum, a member of UNESCO, is located on a huge estate near the camel racing track in Shahinaya. The estate also contains a variety of animals and game, including the rare oryx. The museum itself contains of a five halls, but will shortly double in size – an adjacent building, of similar size to the first, stands ready for exhibits.
The museum belongs to Sheikh Faisal, great great grandson of Jassim, who defeated the Ottomans in battle while in his eighties and is regarded by some as the founder of Qatar. Sheikh Faisal himself is an interesting man. He shared the same wet nurse as the Emir, and is known as the brother of the Emir although they are in fact second cousins. He’s a high profile and very successful businessman, and among numerous other enterprises owns the City Centre Mall in West Bay, currently the largest and busiest shopping mall in Qatar (Villagio will be larger when it is finished) and reputed to be seventh biggest in the world. He’s been collecting antiques since the 1960’s, and his museum has over three thousand exhibits, all beautifully presented.
The museum is open to all nationalities, although a permit should be obtained before visiting. This can be done by... We stopped off on the off chance, and were given the museum caretakers mobile number to ring. He very graciously not only allowed us to enter, but gave us a guided tour around the museum.
The museum is shut from 1st July to 31st August.
The museum is divided into the following:
Islamic art: Really much more than Islamic art. Arms and armours forms a huge part of it, with spiked mogul helmets and ancient cannons making you glad you’re alive now and not them. Also includes jewellery, and wood work.
Classic cars- this superb collection, which charts the development of cars all the way from an ancient cart to classic American saloons - will soon have an entire building to itself.
Coinage and currency – covers all the major denominations.
Prints and manuscripts – This was particularly impressive. Ancient manuscripts dating back to 11 HD showed complicated mathematical diagrams, reminding viewers that much of the basis of maths came from Arabic writers.
Fossils – includes dinosaur eggs, rare and strange minerals collected from the desert fossil of a dinosaur embedded in a skeleton
There's also a library of about 12,000 books and manuscripts.
You definitely need a car! Head out of Doha along Al Rayyan road, past the Qtel tower. When you have gone past the Al Rayyan football stadium you won’t have far to go. You’ll see a sign to the museum – head past until there’s an opening in the road and then do a U-turn. If you over-shoot just head onto the roundabout at Shahinaya and come back on yourself. There’s a long driveway up to the estate, where a security guard will greet you.
Contact: Waheed Al Dulaimi
Mobile: +974 5691406
Landline: +974 4906715/4906716
Fax: +974 4869977
The New Old Souk
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