Home » Explore the World of Sports at the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum in Doha

Explore the World of Sports at the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum in Doha

by Paola Bertoni
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The 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum is one of the attractions built for the FIFA World Cup hosted by Qatar in 2022, among the eight world-class stadiums and a brand new metro system. The museum is located inside the Khalifa International Stadium and is the only Arab museum to have joined the International Olympic Museums Network. Inside, you can learn about the history of sports, the Olympics, the most famous athletes, and Qatar’s role as a global player in sports.

The Unique Architecture of the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum in the Khalifa International Stadium

Designed by Spanish architect Joan Sibina, the museum’s total area is 19,000 square meters and comprises two distinct parts. The first part is a curved building around the Khalifa International Stadium. The second part is a cylindrical structure that protrudes from the side of the stadium and is wrapped in five Olympic-colored rings.

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The rings have different heights and angles, similar to the interlocked rings of the Olympic logo. To pay homage to the Qatari culture, Jali screens were placed horizontally between the rings and the glazed facade, serving as a decorative element.

What’s On at the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum

Built onto the side of Khalifa International Stadium, the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum appeals to any sports enthusiast. It includes galleries, an auditorium, a members’ lounge, a gift shop, a restaurant, and a cafeteria. Entering the lobby area, you will immediately step into the World of Emotion gallery. Here, you can get an overview of the museum’s themes and the central role of sports in Qatar.

The lobby area also provides direct access to the Activation Zone. In this incredible interactive place, you can check your fit and discover the best sports suit for you. The tour begins on the 7th floor and descends through the galleries. Each gallery offers amazing videos and interactive installations that allow you to try out movements from different sports, such as martial arts and climbing.

Paola Bertoni at the entrance of the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Doha
Me at the entrance of the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Doha

A Global History of Sport Gallery

The gallery A Global History of Sport takes you on a journey through the history of sports worldwide, from ancient to modern times. The gallery has geographic and thematic sections, focusing on different historical periods in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East.

Here, you can see around 100 pieces of sports equipment, both original and reproductions, ranging from the 8th century BCE to the early 20th century. The exhibition also features graphics, audiovisuals, and interactive digital elements.

You can also learn how sports have evolved worldwide, exploring the similarities that drove communities to develop sports in response to deep human needs. For instance, I was surprised to discover how some sports, such as polo, originated in India, China, and Mongolia, starting as military training. They evolved into sports only later, during the British colonial period, when the British set the rules and exported them to the rest of the world.

Global History of Sport gallery at the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Doha
Global History of Sport gallery at the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Doha

Olympics Gallery

The Olympics gallery is a journey from the Olympic Games in ancient Greece to today’s modern Olympic Games through history, archaeology, and contemporary sources. Here, you can learn about the cultural and philosophical drivers that led to the creation of the ancient games and the popularity of the Games in ancient Greece.

Then, you can watch an immersive video about the birth of the modern Olympics, including geopolitical, social, and technological factors and individuals such as Pierre de Coubertin. The exhibit I liked most was the display of every torch from the Summer and Winter Olympic Games from 1936 onwards. Thanks to an amazing audio installation, each torch tells its own story.

The final section of the gallery showcases the work of international and national Olympic committees, each Games’ legacy, and how athletes and spectators around the world keep the Games’ spirit alive.

Hall of Athletes Gallery

The Hall of Athletes gallery, spread over three floors, features over 90 athletes from the 20th and 21st centuries and different nations, representing diverse international sports.

This gallery aims to inspire and amaze visitors with the journeys and accomplishments of athletes known for their exceptional skills in their respective sports and their impact on the world beyond sports. Here, you can see many historic and replica objects, including large-scale items like a bobsleigh and a Formula 1 car.

Hall of Athletes in the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Doha
Hall of Athletes in the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Doha

Qatar Hosting Nation Gallery

The Qatar Hosting Nation Gallery is an exhibition that showcases how the mega sports events hosted by Qatar in recent years have become a source of national pride.

Qatar has been hosting individual international events since the 1970s and annual events since the 1990s. Still, the 2006 Asian Games in Doha was the first major sports event held by a Gulf country. This event acted as a catalyst for Qatar’s development, accelerating the country’s urban transformation and creating new infrastructures.

Qatar Sports Culture Gallery

The Qatar Sports Culture Gallery showcases the amazing story of Qatar’s sporting transformation over the years. Starting from traditional sports and games that date back several thousand years, it highlights Qatar’s current status as a global sporting nation.

At the gallery, you can explore the rich history of traditional games and activities like falconry, pearl diving, and camel racing. In the 1940s, Qatar Petroleum built sports facilities for its British employees, and by the 1950s, Qatari people started embracing Western sports.

Activation Zone: Immerse Yourself in the World of Sports

The last gallery, Activation Zone, aims to promote physical activity and encourage healthy and active lifestyles. It is a large play area with table tennis, giant chess, and several interactive installations. 

You can try the interactive experiences and track your fitness through a bracelet you can get at the reception counter in the Activation Zone. Your bracelet will record your experience, and you will receive recommendations for suitable physical activities and where to play such sports in Qatar. 

The interactive activities are also suitable for children, at least primary school age, but not too young. There is also a mini climbing wall suitable for children aged 3 or 4.

Paola Bertoni at the Activation Zone of the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Doha
Selfie in the Activation Zone at the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Doha

Useful Information to Visit 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum

The 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum is located inside the Khalifa International Stadium. To enter the museum, you need to pass the stadium control. I recommend buying the museum ticket online in advance from the official website.

If there are any activities in the stadium, you won’t be allowed to enter the museum, inside the stadium area, without a valid museum ticket. The staff at the entrance of the Khalifa International Stadium will ask to see your ticket or request you to buy it on your phone as there is no ticket counter available at the stadium entrance.

Once you are inside the museum, you need to leave your water bottles in the cloakroom. However, you can keep them closed in your bag if you have enough space. Eating and drinking are not allowed inside the museum. Still, you can head to the 3-2-1 Café, which offers fresh and healthy food specifically designed for people with an active lifestyle.

The 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum has a gift shop that features exclusive sports-inspired gifts and Olympic Games merchandise for all ages. You can find various items such as sportswear, local football team kits, vintage Olympic poster prints, and much more.

3-2-1 Cafè in the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Doha
3-2-1 Cafè in the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Doha

Tickets and Opening Hours

The 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum is open from Saturday to Thursday, between 9 am and 7 pm, and Fridays from 1:30 pm until 7 pm. If you’re planning to visit, you should expect to spend at least three hours exploring the museum’s exhibits and galleries.

Tickets cost QR50, around €12, but students can purchase a ticket for just QR25. However, Qatar residents and children have free access to the museum without any admission charge.

To avoid any inconvenience, such as not being able to enter the Khalifa International Stadium, where the museum is located, I recommend you buy your tickets in advance on the museum’s official website. At the time of writing, tickets are only available there and are not offered on any of the websites on which I usually buy tickets before going on a trip.

How to Get to 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum

You can easily reach the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum using public transportation. The nearest metro station is Sport City, on the Gold Line. Once you arrive at Sport City, follow the signs to the museum, which is just a short walk away.

3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum
Khalifa International Stadium‎
7F72+F2, Doha

Where to stay in Doha

Doha boasts a wide range of beautiful hotels with swimming pools and fitness centers to choose from. DoubleTree by Hilton Doha Old Town is a great modern accommodation in the heart of Doha. For a sea view option, you can choose the Wyndham Grand Doha West Bay Beach. If you prefer to stay in a hotel with an Arabian touch, I can recommend La Maison Hotel Doha, or for a luxurious experience, the incredible Sharq Village & Spa, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

The 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum is a must-see destination for sports lovers and enthusiasts of all ages. Here, you can discover the most famous athletes worldwide and Qatar’s sporting history and achievements from the early days to the present. Feel free to share your thoughts and your experience in the comments.

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