I accept been staring for some abounding time now at a affectation of age-old assumption astrolabes – intricate instruments acclimated to actuate the breadth of a address at sea or a point on acreage by barometer the distance of the sun and stars.
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Until today I had never alike heard of an astrolabe, but as I appointment 1,400 years of Islamic history in one day in one building, I am acquirements fast. Not usually one to absorb time away in museums, I am breaking the addiction of a lifetime today afterwards a acquaintance raved about Qatar’s Building of Islamic Art.
It stands on its own purpose-built island, in a mural of lawns and accessory copse off Doha’s Corniche. The Louvre Pyramid artist I M Pei advised what looks like a postmodern breastwork apartment one of the world’s better accumulating of Islamic art.
The architecture itself is a curiosity – a accustomed bean masterpiece of ablaze and space, of age-old and avant-garde Islamic styles, from the all-inclusive atrium – the acme of cool, both actually and metaphorically – to the arch aloft it, the angled windows, arcades and courtyards, and the all-inclusive floor-to-ceiling window with angle beyond the bay of Doha’s skyscrapers.
Austere on the outside, agreeable on the inside, this building is the cornerstone of Qatar’s appetite to coin a catholic association in what was, not so continued ago, an abstruse peninsula of Arabian nomads.
The museum’s aboriginal and additional floors abode the abiding collection: admirable textiles, ceramics, enamelwork and glass. There are alluring accurate altar here, including the astrolabes which absorbed me, and priceless works of calligraphy, including pages from the Qur’an in age-old calligraphy from Syria and the Arabian Peninsula.
There is a cast of Spanish Corinthian columns with Islamic flourishes; statues and tiles; Central Asian covering panels and a 13th-century bathrobe from the aforementioned region; bowl bowls and dishes; bottle beakers and ivory chess pieces; jewellery from India and Egypt; and a gilded 15th-century war affectation which looks appropriately menacing.
There’s a adorable affected aspect to the affectation design: affecting fibre-optic lighting, recessed affectation cases, amplitude and simplicity.
This theatricality extends to the museum’s fifth-floor IDAM restaurant, advised by Philippe Starck to accommodate colossal bookcases beeline out of Alice in Wonderland.
This is Michelin-starred French chef Alain Ducasse’s aboriginal restaurant in the Middle East, with a card of abreast French Mediterranean cuisine with an Arabic aberration that uses locally-sourced ingredients.
I adjustment the meze: aerial dejected backtalk borsch with hibiscus rose; blooming asparagus bloom with citrus and pepper; sea bream with liquorice, excellent and lemon, and a crustacean/coconut curry. To follow: algid kiwi with blooming tea ice cream, and a soupçon of grapefruit soufflé.
For the record: conceivably the best meal I accept anytime eaten. A melée of aerial flavours, with a ancillary of amazing views. Definitely a cafeteria to remember, and abounding barricade for a few added hours exploring the cultural abundance of age-old Islam.
Book your anniversary to Qatar with Expedia and booty advantage of these abundant amount 3 and 5-night packages.
For added information, visit expedia.co.uk
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