Qatar’s Culture Capital
Once considered simply a place to change planes, Qatar has emerged, seemingly out of nowhere, onto the global arts scene. At the heart of the action shines Doha — the country’s capital, quickly becoming one of the leading cultural capitals of the Middle East. Here, our top picks of the city’s arts-and-culture offerings.
The Museum of Islamic Art
When the doors of architect I.M. Pei’s masterpiece opened in 2008, the museum’s unparalleled selection of Islamic art instantly attracted global attention. Built as a stand-alone island amid water and surrounded by a park, the museum is the first of its kind in the area. But the artwork and architecture aren’t the only attractions — the museum’s restaurant IDAM boasts haute French cuisine with a distinctive Arab twist, and its views of the Doha harbor keep visitors dazzled.
Al Markhiya Gallery
Located alongside several galleries in the Souq Waqif — Doha’s restored open-air market — Al Markhiya stands out as the region’s art ambassador, spotlighting the works of local painters, photographers and sculptors. Its “40 Minus” event, in particular, keeps its pulse on emerging contemporary art, scouting out and promoting undiscovered Arab talents aged 40 and under.
Katara Cultural Village
Boasting theaters, concerthalls, galleries and more, Katara Cultural Village stands as a beacon for multiculturalism and artistic exchange in the Middle East. From literature and music to visual art and film, Katara’s offerings seek to challenge the cultural norms and boundaries of the region.
MATHAF: Arab Museum of Modern Art
Celebrating modern and contemporary art, MATHAF provides a uniquely Arabic perspective toward the international art scene. Loaded with permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as project space and programs for students, the museum fosters both learning and creation within its walls.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha
Jazz at Lincoln Center—New York City’s iconic jazz venue — has a permanent sister location in Doha. With seating for 120 people, the club features a rotating lineup of musicians and bands selected by the legendary Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s longtime artistic director. With full dinner service and performances six nights a week, the venue gives visitors an authentic New York–style jazz experience in the heart of Qatar.