select - Great River Cities

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Rivers have always fascinated travellers. They beckon traders with promises of commerce, lure the adventurer to exploration, and tantalise tourists with the scenes that unfold along their banks in some of the world's great cities.



If you want to feel the dynamism and momentum of modern China, just head down to the Bund. The view across the Huangpu River to Pudong has become an iconic skyline of neon lighting and futuristic skyscrapers. Along the Bund itself, splendidly restored colonial European buildings provide the contrast. Many of the Art Deco interiors have been turned into upmarket hotels and restaurants whose terraces and floor-length windows provide wonderful river views. The promenades are always crowded with hawkers, tourists, and tai chi-practising retirees, with a wonderfully busy ambience, and the Huangpu providing a neat dividing line between old Shanghai on one side and the simmering promise of new China on the other. It's also possible to cruise the busy 27 kilometre length of the Huangpu to its meeting with the Yangtze River.

The Huangpu is a tributary of the Yangtze and separates the original heart of Shanghai from the new Pudong district.

A people-watching show, because the whole of China eventually seems to turn up on the Bund along the Huangpu.

Qatar Airways has daily flights from Doha to Shanghai.



Begin to stroll along the Thames at the Tower of London, at the centre of English history since the 11th century, first as a fortress and later as a royal prison. Then head west and iconic London unfolds. Big Ben is, of course, the granddaddy of them all. Next door stand the Houses of Parliament, and just behind, Westminster Abbey, which contains monuments to notable Britons and the tombs of English monarchs. From here, keep walking if you wish, because about half of the Thames’ entire length is flanked by footpaths. Taking to a boat, however, allows you to see London’s sights from a different perspective. Several companies offer tours from Westminster Pier to the botanic gardens at Kew, the royal palace of Hampton Court, or east to historic Greenwich.

The 346-kilometre Thames starts in Gloucestershire and meanders pst Oxford and Windsor before flowing through central London.

Following the Thames brings you past some of Britain's most significant sights, packed with tradition and history.

Qatar Airways has five flights a day from Doha to London.


New York

At the southern tip of Manhattan you can see both the Statue of Liberty and the place where the Hudson River empties into New York harbour. The river is often overlooked by visitors but provides a welcome escape from overcrowded streets. Meandering Riverside Park has wide-open river vistas, play areas, and cafés, while Hudson River Park has meadow-like spaces and a state-of-the-art skate park.

The Hudson River runs down the western side of Manhattan Island from its source in the Adirondack Mountains.

The Hudson supplies a sense of openness in crowded Manhattan, and its upper reaches are rich in early colonial history.

Qatar Airways has daily flights from Doha to New York.



Thousands of years of civilisation sprout along the banks of the Nile in and around Cairo, in a passing parade of pyramids and tombs, railway lines, and downtown skyscrapers. Peasants in white robes ride donkeys as they've done since the time of the pharaohs, chic ladies tap scarlet fingernails on tabletops in riverside cafés where mobile phones buzz, and hawkers sell phone cards and statuettes for tourists. Walk along it, gaze out over it and, best of all, float along the Nile's waters in a traditional lateen-rigged sailing boat and you’ll be mesmerised. In the background lie bridges over the river and a collection of 5-star hotels where you can dine on buttered shrimps and delectable pepper steaks as the harsh sun dissolves into orange before sliding down behind minarets and Nile water into dusk.

The longest river in the world runs for 6,650 kilometres in 10 countries, as well as through the centre of Cairo.

The mighty Nile River is both the symbol of an ancient culture and the heartbeat of modern Egypt.

Qatar Airways has daily flights from Doha to Cairo.



Stroll right through the heart of downtown Paris along the banks of the Seine and the city's great sights appear, from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, Notre Dame cathedral, and districts dating back to the Middle Ages, many of them concentrated on two river islands. But in summer, you get another and quite surprising treat: three kilometres of golden sand sprinkled with deckchairs and shaded by giant potted palms. Paris-plages (or Paris Beaches) started over a decade ago as a gesture to those who couldn’t afford a beach holiday. Millions now sun themselves here every season. You can also get a free massage or dance lessons, and (this being France) a library of 500 books just in case the need to be intellectual hits you as you soak up the sun’s rays.

The Seine is a vital waterway flowing through northeast France and central Paris before emptying in the English Channel.

Turner and Monet paintedit, literary greats wrote about it, endless tourists stroll its promenades: the Seine is iconic.

Qatar Airways has 16 flights a week from Doha to Paris.



Ancient Baghdad grew up on the west bank of the Tigris (now known as Karkh district), where Sharia Haifa forms a major street running parallel to the river. However, the modern city has its heart on the eastern side (Rusafah), where cafés line Sharia Abu Nawas, which also follows the water. The Tigris is best at sunset, when the river turns golden and minarets gleam.

The Tigris rises in Turkey and flows briefly through Syria and into Iraq, where it splits Baghdad in two.

The Tigris is a great river of ancient Mesopotamian civilisation and remains the lifeblood of modern Iraq.

Qatar Airways has four flights a week from Doha to Baghdad from June.

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