By Irfan Bukhari
DOHA: A visitor enters the small compound with a sense of curiosity and interest but leaves the premises with a fair knowledge about the Arab world.Peeping into various cultures and civilizations has always been the prime satisfaction of tourists travelling across the globe pursuing their irresistible itch to discover new land and people.
The collection of stamps at Arab Postal Stamps Museum, Katara, is in fact a compilation of the entire Arabian culture, history and civilization, and this too in a single hall. The museum holds multi-themed stamp collections from 22 Arab countries.
This philatelic museum showcases not only fauna and flora of Arab world but also its heroes and leaders. From horses to flowers, ancient civilization to cultural costumes, sports to architecture, every hue of Arab life welcomes visitors from behind transparent glasses.
“Once you complete a full round of the gallery, you start feeling your knowledge about Arab countries has grown manifold. I liked the postage stamps of Egypt a lot. By visiting this tiny museum, one can visit 22 Arab states in one go,” said Alacia, an expat from the UK.
The museum was part of the cultural festival organized on the occasion of ‘Doha Capital of Arab Culture’. The collection is a carefully-selected mix of old and new postage stamps and amuses not only visitors from the West but also provides a full-scale visual feast to locals as well as nationals from other Arab countries. For the students of philately, it is not less than a great boon.
Abdullah, from Saudi Arabia, is excited: “It is a good effort to depict the culture and history of 22 Arab countries through their postage stamps under one roof. Some of the postage stamps I am seeing for the first time, like the ones from Algeria.”
The hall of the museum is small, but not the fascination that visitors get here.
“I am living in Doha for three years but this is my first visit to this marvellous place,” said Brant, an IT engineer. He said the postage stamps with pictures of Arabian horses were just superb.
Another visitor’s liking was revolving around postage stamps of The Palestinian Authority and Syria. “See this stamp named ‘Blue Madonna’ of The Palestinian Authority and the one with a picture of an olive tree. They are really excellent. Colourful blossomed flowers on the postage stamps of Syria and today’s condition of the war-torn country are making me sad,” he added.
The museum also has the treasure of Qatar’s old and new postage stamps, kept in well-organized albums under lockers. Every visitor is welcomed to transform their feelings into words by putting them on paper provided in the form of visitor’s book. Every leaf of visitor’s book carries a new but scintillating praise for the facility.
“Great collection of stamps! Keep up the good work,” wrote Aqsa from London and Wafa from Libya in the visitor’s book.(Source-thepeninsulaqatar.com)