It took us a few hours to explore the world’s most extensive collection of Islamic art, drawn from three continents. This fabulous museum (🎟️ 50 QAR) is so rich in treasure that it rewards short, intense visits. Rising from its purpose-built island and set in an extensive landscape of lawns and ornamental trees off the Corniche, the museum is shaped like a postmodern fortress with minimal windows (to reduce energy use). The views across the water are splendid.

The museum was designed by IM Pei, the architect of the Louvre pyramid in Paris, and you know that something special awaits from the minute you lay eyes on the grand, palm-tree-lined entrance. Inside, the building is a masterpiece of light and space, drawing your eyes to the dome, a clever modern take on an element prevalent in Islamic architecture.

The collection is spread over three floors. The 1st and 2nd floors house the permanent collection, which includes exquisite textiles, ceramics, enamel work, and glass, all showcased conceptually. A single motif, for example, is illustrated in neighboring display cases in the weave of a carpet or a ceramic floor tile or adapted in a piece of gold jewelry, allowing visitors to gain a sense of the homogeneity of Islamic art.