Qatar’s culture and traditions stem from its religious heritage and dual seafaring and nomadic Bedouin communities. Until the late 1930s, the economy was based on the harvesting and sale of natural Gulf pearls. Combined with a strong oral tradition, this has resulted in many stories, poems, songs and dances related to the desert and the sea. The National Council for Culture, Heritage and Art and the
Museums Committee oversee the preservation and development of the country’s rich traditions, crafts and collections.
The new Katara Cultural Village in the West Bay Lagoon area of Doha includes restaurants, craft displays and sales, exhibition galleries, concert halls, an amphitheatre and a conference facility. There are several museums which offer world-class collections, including the Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar National Museum, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and the Photography museum among others.
Souq Waqif is the oldest Souq in Doha and is a labyrinth of alleyways lined with shops selling everything from spices, dried fruits, nuts, perfumes, clothing and shoes to Arabic oud (oriental perfumes) and other traditional incense, pots and pans and much more. There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes offering a variety of regional and international cuisine.