Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, officially opened the event following a three-hour ceremony.
It is the 15th Asian Games to be staged, and the largest sporting event to be held in Qatar.
Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, was among those in attendance.
Over 10,500 athletes and officials are taking part in the games. It is the second-biggest multi discipline event after the summer Olympics.
David Atkins, who put together the opening ceremony, said that it was a bigger challenge than the Sydney Olympics opener in 2000, which he also organised.
"This ceremony, in all seriousness, is far more ambitious and greater in scale and scope than the Sydney ceremony," he said.
Each spectator was given a package of items that enabled them to interact with the performance.
A giant viewing screen spanning the Khalifa stadium’s eastern stand projected backdrops and other visual effects.
Hong Kong pop star Jacky Cheung, Indian singer Sunidhi Chauhan, Lebanese artiste Magida El Roumi and Spanish tenor José Carreras were among the performers.
Peace be upon u (assalamo 3alaykom) were the words To Welcome The guests.
The opening ceremony lasted for 3 hours and it was AMAZING ...
I usually don't care that much to watch the opening of the Olympic games or the world cup but I watched the Asian Games opening in Qatar (also cuz my Dad made me to )....
It was really great; a wonderful well organized ceremony with an Arabic touch .....
The Torch was another story; Sheikh Muhammad bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani carried it at the end on his horse running all over the stairs of the stadium (it was a scary moment; HE WAS ABOUT TO FALL we held our breath for a moment; we thought he won't make it to the end; it was hard moment for the Horse and the Horseman) but they both made it and by all what the word means it was AMAZING
If u didn't have the chance to watch the opening then i REALLY SUGGEST U SEE IT IF THEY PLAY IT AGAIN