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Visitors to Doha will be astonished at the superb facilities available
When it comes to quality shopping, Doha is really well served. From the largest, modern shopping complexes and malls to the tiny shops of the traditional souqs, or Arab markets, eager shoppers will find everything they need and more.
Facilities like the City Centre Doha,the largest shopping complex in the Middle East, offer world-famous brands alongside many exciting facilities for families.
The markets, or souks, are a heady mixture of scents, sights and sounds, where items are not marked with traditional price-tags and haggling over sales is expected ....indeed welcomed!
Souq Waqif is the oldest of Doha's traditional markets, originally used by Bedouin traders as a place to buy and sell meat, wool, milk and other important staples.
Today the souq is a maze of alleyways packed with everything from traditional clothing to hardware and household goods.
There are textile souqs and gold souqs as well as the popular Thursday / Friday souq, where clothes, perfumes, shoes, fabric, household goods and carpets are on offer.
Most surprisingly for a sweltering desert city, Doha has an ice skating rink where skates can be hired by the hour. Visitors and expats who find the summer heat a little too much, love it at the ice rink!
Qatar Bowling Centre offers 10-pin bowling in a large 32 lane facility. City Centre Doha also has two bowling alleys.......one for ladies only!
There are also several historical sites, including museums, in Doha, which are of great interest to visitors. However, most visitors would probably regard the finest and most attractive parts of Doha to be Doha Harbour and the Corniche.
Doha has a very fine, interesting harbour, always filled with working boats and pleasure craft, providing endless fascination for both visitors and locals.
Meanwhile, Doha Corniche, a long palm-fringed dual carriageway along the city sea-front, lined with luxury hotels, apartments and various fine government buildings, is undoubtedly the most attractive and chic part of Doha.
People love to stroll and jog here, especially in the cooler evenings,taking in the twinkling sights of the city and the Arabian Gulf.
Doha Corniche extends for seven kilometres in a horseshoe around Doha Bay. Most hotels and clubs are at the south-eastern end of the Corniche on Ras Abu Abboud Street.
Near Museum Roundabout, beyond Doha Club is the Al Nasaa Restaurant with its notable architecture, featuring traditional wind towers.
Just beyond this is the Qatar National Museum, based around the restored former palace of the ruling family. The grassy, shaded Museum Park is alongside.
Across the main road, called Al Corniche Street, is the fascinating Doha Port area.
The fine new Museum of Islamic Arts is here, on its own jetty. Another jetty leads to the largest wooden dhow in the world and the popular dhow restaurants.
At the entrance to this jetty is the famous pearl sculpture that features in so many visitors' photo albums.
Continuing westward, you come to the impressive Emiri Diwan building with its lush landscaped gardens and cascading water feature.
The massive Diwan building is the official home of the Qatar Government. This is followed by the imposing Ministry of Foreign Affairs building.
Following the sweep of the attractive Corniche to the north-west, you get to Rumeilah Park, sometimes known as Al Biddah Park, which features a variety of attractions and facilities for families.
The park has restaurants, children's play areas and the impressive Heritage Village, which was built to resemble a traditional Qatari hamlet. Local crafts and arts are featured and musicians sometimes perform there.
Qatar National Theatre and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage are next to Rumeilah Park, followed by the Qatar National Library. This bold, futuristic building is an unmistakeable landmark on the corniche.
Carrying on around the corniche, there are striking examples of of Doha's architectural achievements, with residential and commercial towers enjoying commanding positions overlooking Doha Bay and the Gulf. Amongst these is the General Post Office.
Further along, at the end of the corniche, is the unmistakeable Aztec pyramid shaped Sheraton Hotel, in a prime scenic, commanding location.
Just before you reach the Sheraton Hotel, there is the very pleasant Sheraton Gardens, with shop, cafe, children's playground and plenty of space for a picnic.
This is also the place to catch a dhow over to Palm Island, in the harbour. They leave every 10 minutes and the journey takes about 10 minutes.
The island is also called Palm Tree Island. It has fine beaches for swimming and excellent family amenities, such as restaurants, cafes and water sports.
Is there any wonder that Doha Corniche is so popular, both with visitors and locals?
Further afield from Doha, Al Khor, 57 km north, is famous for its harbour filled with small craft and fishing boats. It has excellent beaches and a historic tower as well.
Indeed, there are several historic towers and forts all around the coast of Qatar, signifying a past when things were not quite so serene and peaceful.
The oil field town of Dukhan on the west coast also has some of the finest beaches in the country near its boundaries.
Meanwhile, the town of Al Ruwais is a fine example of the traditional Bedouin lifestyle merging with the modern world.
To serve a burgeoning tourist and business economy, Qatar is building a very large, modern airport called New Doha International Airport just outside the city. This should not be confused with the existing, also splendid, Doha International Airport not very far away. The new airport will be much bigger.
New luxury hotels are springing up around Doha to meet the future demand for increased tourism, as more and more people discover the delights of Qatar!!
It is a great place to visit, especially for a winter break!!