Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al Thani, the late Qatari Emir (succeeded by his son, Sheikh Thamim bin al Thani) needed a place to display his 15.000 or so trinkets, so he constructed a massive fortress museum in the desert, about an hour outside of Doha. On Saturday our driver happily took us to visit.
The late Emir.
One can make use of a personal guide in the museum, which we took advantage of until a rather annoying woman joined us and kept asking stupid questions. We excused ourselves and wandered the rest of the museum on our own. This is the Sheikh’s collection of rare calligraphy, a room I could have spent a great deal of time in.
Calligraphy on camel hide.
A (badly tarnished) silver pen given as a gift from our current First Lady. Guess the protocol office didn’t think about sending along silver polish, too.
Many historic pearling tools and equipment were on display, along with maps depicting, “The great pearling coast.”
Qatar’s first female obstetrician. 1957.
The Sheikh had a thing for American cars and trucks, with dozens on display.
And was into falconry and hunting.
Damascus was once seen as the “pearl” of Arabia, and the Sheikh clearly thought it would be nice to collect entire rooms of Syrian furniture in support of that notion. So he did. The handcrafted work on the pieces was stunning.
Back in Doha we also visited the Museum of Islamic Arts, designed by I.M. Pei (to resemble a woman wearing a burqa, if you look closely).
Everything about the museum was outstanding, from its construction to its collections to the views overlooking the gulf.
From the collection of mosque lamps.
A bejeweled falcon.
Exquisite filters for water jugs.
The view across the harbor.
To end the postcard collection from Our Middle Eastern Mezze…