Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for December 23rd, 2008

Doha Reaches for the Skies

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 23rd December, 2008

doha-at-night     When I first came to Doha — capital of the Arabian Gulf state of Qatar — about 15 years ago, the city was, quite frankly, a dump. It had just two things going for it: the Corniche that sweeps round the bay, and the iconic pyramid-style Sheraton Hotel located at one end. Those two landmarks — now much spruced up — are still there, but what has changed is that Doha has become the most elegant city in the region. Vast amounts of money from gas and oil and been spent building not only dozens of architecturally notable high-rise towers — carefully grouped in particular areas — but also many beautiful, low-rise state buildings incorporating traditional Arabic design. There are huge lawns and flowers everywhere, and standing prominently on a man-made island just off the Corniche is the magnificent new Museum of Islamic Art, which opened earlier this month and which I will be visiting tomorrow.

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