Qatar is a new country full of contemporary buildings created with its staggering oil wealth. The country’s largest mosque in the capital Doha is a new build, while Katara Cultural Village, boasting lavish gold and blue mosques, is also an architectural newcomer. Doha’s Pearl, a large complex built on reclaimed land, is a recent addition as well.
But these new structures are steeped in tradition, with stylish, beautiful lines and curves. Intricate designs stay pure to Islam and do not depict human or animal forms. Instead of being sterile, these are pleasing on the eye and photographically pure and balanced.
A dusk view taken at Pomona Strand, a rather desolate stretch of Manchester’s canalways which sits between the city zone and the new buildings of Salford Quays. Very few people alight at Pomona tram stop.
Night falls quickly in the Middle East and lasts a long time. Evenings can turn quite chilly in the depths of what passes for winter there. In Qatar’s showpiece capital city, Doha, the darkness is immediately studded with the twinkling lights of its many skyscrapers.
My haven for capturing this multicoloured cityscape was the jetty at the St Regis Hotel, my palatial home there. It was always empty, giving me peace and space for some long exposure photography.
There were also other places to capture the bright night city, including Z Lounge, a swish cocktail bar perched on the 61st floor of a tower block – a spectacular view but harder to photograph. And in the evening hubbub of the city’s souk, I found the entrance to a restaurant bedecked like Aladdin’s cave. You’ll never be afraid of the dark in this city…
This building sits on a small island in Doha, capital city of Qatar. It’s only been opened since 2008 but has fast become a must-see part of any visit.
For me, the Museum of Islamic Art became less about its beautiful treasures and more about this standout piece of architecture. The geometric pile of cool white stone dazzles against the blue skies of an Arabic winter, full of sharp lines and cool detail. Inside, the clean theme continues, and there is a show-stopping central atrium, topped with a beautiful skylight.
This may well be my favourite building in the world so far. Take a look for yourself…
The British winter can be long and unrelenting. Sunlight is often in scant supply, the days are short – and it’s cold. If you’re prepared to travel, you can find guaranteed sunshine and summer temperatures. This country is a six-hour flight away, and about the closest place to find surefire fine weather.
Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is now established as a winter getaway, but further north in the Arabian Gulf is the small emirate of Qatar. Daytime temperatures in January are around 25C and the skies remain largely blue. Its showpiece capital city Doha sits on the water, offering beaches and terraces for enjoying the favourable climate.
There’s plenty more to share from this dynamic nation, but this could be the winter destination you simply haven’t considered yet…