Monday, May 7, 2007

The Fragile Desert

Deserts make up one third of the Earth's surface. Drylands make up a half! But human activity continues to transform them.
As the Gulf modernises and industrialises, the desert that has been home to the Gulf Arabs is increasingly under pressure.
I have linked readings here on the ecology and conservation of the desert environment, and also on the fun you can have in the desert! [See Desert Links]

Sheikh Faisal's private collection

In Qatar, another member of the royal family boasts a vast collection of artworks for which he has built a private museum that can be visited free.

On the outskirts of Doha, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani put his private collection of Islamic art on display in a 20,000-square-meter (215,000 sq feet) museum.

Among masterpieces on display are an engraved Moghul helmet, another encrusted with gold from Safavid Iran, as well as an Ottoman powder rifle encrusted with ivory and silver -- all dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

But Sheikh Faisal boasts that this museum hosts fewer than 50 percent of his collection. For that reason, he has built a neighboring museum, with a basement for the most precious objects.

The newer museum is already home to dozens of dhows, the traditional wooden vessels prized by Gulf natives.

"Since I was a kid, I collected stamps, coins and pictures," Sheikh Faisal said, speaking of his passion for collecting art objects, which now also include a collection of ancient automobiles, notably big American cars.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


I would like to encourage you to go out on the Net and talk to other people around the world. But lets start right here in Qatar! Join in the discussions going on at Qatar Living. [ see LINKS ]


Be aware of what is happening in the world!
Start your day with Google News. Just click on what interests you.

If you are a student of English, spend time at :
The English Blog, the ESL Blog or English Bites.

Join a study group at Sparknotes!

Read about cultural events and locations here in Qatar.

Arabian Themes links books and movies about this area.

[See the LINKS ]

Saturday, May 5, 2007


This site was constructed as a resource for my students, but you are welcome too!
I hope to inform you of English-language activities on the web, of interesting topics to read and discuss, and sites of interest to anyone curious about Qatar.
If you wish to contribute ideas, photos or anything related to life in Qatar, to Arabic Culture, to your studies or to the English language in general, please contact me, Mark Heyne.
[Press 'comments' underneath this text to write on this board.]