Doha was once the sleepy desert capital of Qatar, an unassuming peninsula the size of Connecticut that juts out into the gulf. Since 2004, Doha has undergone a makeover of epic proportions thanks to the tiny country’s massive oil wealth and not-so-small plan to become the powerhouse of the Middle East. Outlandish high-rises, lavish hotels and extravagant malls have replaced the large swatches of undeveloped land that once covered the city’s landscape; historic markets have been renovated to reveal modern twists. Someday the city may even emerge as the region’s cultural center — only here can you catch a Hollywood film at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, listen to fusions of Arabian-European melodies by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and peruse exquisite artifacts at the Museum of Islamic Art, itself a work of art designed by architect I.M. Pei. If you’re looking for a gulf metropolis with a touch of glitz and a whole lot of heart, then Doha is the place to be. No other city in the Middle East is so seamlessly intertwining Western pizazz with its Arab-Islamic roots — and it’s only just getting started.