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May 2016

Top 5 art museums in the Middle East

May 24, 2016

Top 5 art museums in the Middle East

Museum buff? Here’s your fix of some of the best museums in the region:

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

islamic art doha

Occupying an area of 45,000 sqm, this iconic museum is built on a standalone island off the picturesque corniche in Doha. The museum boasts of a huge collection of Islamic art from three continents over 1400 years and includes manuscripts, textiles and ceramics. It is one of the world’s most complete collections of Islamic artifacts, with items originating in Spain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, India, and Central Asia.

Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha


Established in 2010, the Mathaf is thought to house one of the largest collections of Arab-produced paintings and sculptures in the world. The 5,500-square-meter museum has a collection of more than 9,000 artworks that offers a rare comprehensive overview of modern Arab art, representing the major trends spanning from the 1840s to the present. The collection was donated by Sheikh Hassan Bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani to Qatar Foundation and was later acquired by Qatar Museums Authority.

Tareq Rajab Museum, Kuwait

Tareq Rajab Museum

The Tareq Rajab Museum houses a collection of over thirty thousand items collected over fifty years, of which approximately ten thousand are on permanent display. The museum boasts of an inspiring collection of calligraphy, miniatures, manuscripts, ceramics, metalwork, and glass, jade, wood and stone carvings.

National Museum of Saudi Arabia


The National Museum of Riyadh is situated in the heart of King Abdul-Aziz Historical Center. Spanning over seventeen thousand square meters, the museum plays a major role in promoting tourism and is renown for its distinguished exhibits starting from the creation of the universe until the Modern Age.

Manarat Al Saadiyat, UAE

manarat al sadiyat

Located in the Saadiyat Cultural District, Manarat Al Saadiyat literally means a place of enlightenment. True to its moniker, this purpose-built art and culture centre with multiple gallery spaces offers visitors the opportunity to discover famous collections from international and local artists alike. Manarat Al Saadiyat contains three major galleries for hosting permanent and temporary art and cultural exhibitions whilst the fourth gallery houses Saadiyat Experience, an interactive narrative about Saadiyat’s history and culture.

Recent thoughts on “Top 5 art museums in the Middle East

  • I’m not exactly a museum buff but I really enjoyed my trip to the Islamic Museum of Art in Doha. So much so that I’m looking forward to seeing the others on this list.

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