The Sheikh Faisal Museum
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A Superb Museum Located in the Middle of the Desert
The Sheikh Faisal B. Qassim B. Faisal B. Thani B. Qassim B. Mohd. AL Thani Museum, Al Samariyah, Shahinaya, Qatar.
Getting To Sheikh Faisal Museum
You definitely need a car! Head out of Doha along Al Rayyan road, past the Qtel tower. When you have gone past the Al Rayyan football stadium you won't have far to go.
You will see a sign to the museum - head past until there's an opening in the road and then do a U-turn. If you over-shoot just head onto the roundabout at Shahinaya and come back on yourself. There's a long driveway up to the estate, where a security guard will greet you.
The museum belongs to Sheikh Faisal, great great grandson of Jassim, who defeated the Ottomans in battle while in his eighties and is regarded by some as the founder of Qatar. Sheikh Faisal himself is an interesting man.
He shared the same wet nurse as the Emir, and is known as the brother of the Emir - although they are in fact second cousins. He is a high profile and very successful businessman, and among numerous other enterprises owns the City Centre Mall in West Bay, currently the largest and busiest shopping mall in Qatar (Villagio will be larger when it is finished) and reputed to be seventh biggest in the world.
The museum itself consists of five halls, but will shortly double in size - an adjacent building, similar size first, stands ready for exhibits. Sheikh Faisal been collecting antiques since the 1960's, his museum has over three thousand exhibits, all beautifully presented. In addition to this large museum, estate also contains a variety of animals and game, including the rare oryx.
The museum is open to all nationalities, although a permit should be obtained before visiting. This can be done by ringing +974 55 56 1948 or faxing +974 44 833 540.
We stopped off on the off chance, and were given the museum caretaker's mobile number to ring. He very graciously not only allowed us to enter, but also gave us a guided tour around the museum.
The museum is open most of the year but is shut from 1st July to 31st August.
The museum is divided into the following sections:
Really much more than Islamic art. Arms and armours forms a huge part of it, with spiked mogul helmets and ancient cannons making you glad you're alive now and not them. Also includes jewellery, and woodwork.
This superb collection, which charts the development of cars all the way from an ancient cart to classic American saloons, will soon have an entire building to itself.
Coinage and Currency
Covers all the major denominations.
Prints and Manuscripts
This was particularly impressive. Ancient manuscripts dating back to 11 HD showed complicated mathematical diagrams, reminding viewers that much of the basis of maths came from Arabic writers.
Includes dinosaur eggs, rare and strange minerals collected from the desert fossil of a dinosaur embedded in a skeleton. There's also a library of about 12,000 books and manuscripts.
If you only see one museum in Qatar, make sure it is this one.
Waheed Al Dulaimi
Mobile: +974 55 691 406
Landline: +974 44 906 715/44 906 716
Fax: +974 4869977