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All photos courtesy of Qatar Museums

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani took a tour of the under-construction National Museum this week.

The visit marked his first semi-public appearance since the Gulf dispute erupted two weeks ago.

While there, Qatar Museums Chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa Al Thani announced a new opening date for the much-anticipated building.

Ray Toh/Flickr

An aerial look at the under-construction National Museum of Qatar, in July 2016

The National Museum is now eying a December 2018 launch, which is at least two years later than originally planned.

In a statement, Sheikha Al Mayassa, who is also the Emir’s sister, said:

“The museum is the physical manifestation of Qatar’s proud identity, connecting the country’s history with its diverse and cosmopolitan present.

It will reflect a part of every Qatari’s life, representing our roots and identity. The opening of the National Museum of Qatar will firmly position our country on the global map as a progressive, knowledge-based economy with a long and rich history and give Qatar a voice in the world.”

When completed, the museum, located across from the Corniche near the Museum of Islamic Art, is expected to look like a desert rose that appears to grow out of the ground.

It was designed by architect Jean Nouvel, and is made up of several interlocking discs that mimic the crystal formation.

Emir’s appearance

The Emir’s museum visit will likely bolster the spirits of residents who have been rallying around him over the past few weeks.

Sheikh Tamim’s likeness has been plastered on cars, t-shirts, hats, stickers and other paraphernalia around the country.

Qatar Museums

Qatar’s Emir visits National Museum

However, the Emir himself hasn’t been seen out and about since the dispute erupted two weeks ago.

He was due to publicly address the nation shortly after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE cut ties, but then canceled the speech at the advice of mediator Kuwait.

Museum timetable

It is unclear why the National Museum is so far behind schedule.

A spokesperson previously said construction of the building would be completed by late 2014.

Qatar Museums/Twitter

National Museum of Qatar

It would then take about six months for the cement “off-gassing,” or the release of emissions trapped inside the facility, to occur.

After that, installation of artwork would take at least a year, she said at the time.

The outside of the museum appears to be almost complete, and “behind-the-scenes” tours of the facility have been going on for months.

What’s inside

When completed, the museum is expected to represent the “past, present and future of Qatar.”

The 40,000 sq meter structure will include 8,000 sq meters of permanent exhibition space and a further 2,000 sq meters for temporary, rotating exhibitions.


Restored palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani

The centerpiece of the National Museum was successfully restored in 2015.

It is the palace of the former ruler and “father of modern Qatar,” Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani.

He lived in the structure from when it was built in the early 20th century until it became the country’s former National Museum in 1975.

There will also be a 220-seat auditorium, two restaurants and a cafe, two shops, a food forum, a research center and laboratories and a park with indigenous plants, QM previously said.


All photos by Bosco Menezes (Big B Photography)

The ongoing Gulf crisis has resulted in a burst of nationalistic feelings in Qatar, among expats and locals alike.

Nowhere is this more visibly evident than on the Corniche, during the daily Ramadan car parades.

The annual tradition involves young people driving nice cars down Qatar’s main thoroughfare shortly before sunset. The activity helps pass the time before iftar and gives people a chance to socialize.

Bosco Menezes (Big B Photography)

Ramadan Car Parade 2017

But this year, it’s also offered a rare opportunity for residents to rally for Qatar’s leader, who is fending off calls from neighbors to change the country’s foreign policy.

Bringing people together

To show their support of Sheikh Tamim and Qatar, many motorists in the parade have adorned their cars with Qatari flags, as well as images of the Emir and Father Emir.

For those who haven’t yet had a chance to decorate their rides, some people could be seen passing out stickers on the Corniche.

Bosco Menezes (Big B Photography)

Ramadan car parade

According to photographer Bosco Menezes, who has lived in Qatar for almost 40 years, the Gulf disupute has changed things.

They “have brought us all living in Qatar together,” he said. “The kids saluting just warms your heart. Amazing.”


All photos by Ray Toh

Windy weather notwithstanding, hundreds of people have been turning up to the state mosque before sunset to check out the Ramadan cannon there.

The cannon is part of an annual tradition in Qatar. It goes off each day during Ramadan to let Muslims know it’s time to break their fast.

According to photographer Ray Toh, the cannon was a big draw especially for families with small children.

Ray Toh

Ramadan cannon

Prior to it going off, kids are allowed to play in and around the cannon. They are then asked to step back for safety as soldiers fire it off (around 6:20pm).

Katara cannon

For those who plan to take their children to see the cannon, keep in mind that it makes a loud sound when it is fired, which can frighten some kids.

In addition to the state mosque, there’s also a cannon being fired daily at Katara Cultural Village.

Have you been to either this year? Thoughts?