Qatar is one of the most open Arab countries in the Persian Gulf. Now anyone can admire the country’s capital – the city of Doha and admire the sights of this wealthiest state.
Scientists claim that people lived in Qatar’s territory more than 7 thousand years ago. Later, during the Roman Empire, they were involved in trade between India and Greece. Since the 7th century A.D. e. the country became Muslim and became part of the Arab Caliphate. It was ruled by the Emir of Bahrain, the Ottoman Empire, under the protectorate of Britain. Since 1971, Qatar gained independence, and since 2003, according to the new constitution, it has become an absolute monarchy.
The ruling dynasty of al-Thani has ruled the country from 1825 to the present. In the same year, 1825, the capital, formerly known as Al-Bida, now is called Doha. It is home to almost 90% of the country’s indigenous population. The country’s total population is about 2.6 million people, together with temporary migrant workers from neighbouring states – Pakistan, India, Iran.
In the last century, Qatar was a small and inconspicuous country in the community, whose primary source of income was pearl fishing and fishing. In 1939, the world’s largest reserves of natural gas and oil were discovered on its territory, after which a sharp economic recovery began.
Doha began to develop especially rapidly, in which many skyscrapers of unusual architectural forms, sports facilities, shopping centres and world high-class chain hotels were erected.
Now the country is not only efficiently using its natural resources but also investing in the future. To move away from the raw-material type of economy, a tourism trajectory is developing. Compared to its closest competitors – the UAE and Dubai, Qatar’s prices are more affordable for similar accommodation in a five-star hotel, for example, or a visit to a better restaurant.
Sights of Qatar
Qatar, the sights of which have been created for the most part recently, is a very young, modern city. There are no ancient or medieval buildings here. Nevertheless, tourists will not be bored.
Places of worship in Qatar
There are a few of them, and the most iconic structures in the capital, Doha, are concentrated:
Al-Khuweir State Grand Mosque of Qatar. The building was built in the 50s of the last century and is located in the heart of the city – not far from the Corniche embankment and the country’s emir’s palace. Its architecture is a fascinating combination of modernity and classical Islamic buildings. The mosque is white and green, with many small domes and one tall thin minaret. In the evening, the amazingly beautiful illumination of the building turns on, thanks to which it seems to take off above the ground. The interior of the museum is decorated with magnificent mosaics and a painted ceiling. But only Muslims are allowed to enter.
Spiral Mosque Kassem. An attractive building in a modern style. It looks like a fairytale house wrapped in a ribbon spiralling upward. And at the top, the spiral ends with a minaret.
Mosque and Learning Center in Doha. A completely new building, 2015, took first place in the world architecture festival. The white building is crowned with two ribbons, about 90 m high, directed towards Mecca, and the buildings themselves are of a futuristic streamlined shape. The mosque has a capacity of up to 1800 people.
Mounds of Umm-Salal-Ali. An archaeological excavation site is located about 40 km north of the capital. According to scientists, the burial mounds date back to the 3rd millennium B.C.
Natural Attractions of Qatar
There are no gardens or parks in Qatar. This is due not only to the dry climate but also to the extremely high air temperature for most of the year. But there are unusual natural attractions.
Rocks of Ras Abruk. These are limestone rocks that have been heated and weathered for many years. As a result, it now locally has a landscape similar to the Moon’s surface: Rocky hills, similar in shape to ridges or mushrooms, look unearthly. Deserted sandy beaches are located near the bay in the same area.
Al-Takir forests. Located in a large green oasis in the north of the country. Thickets of mangroves are immersed in fish-rich water. It is home to many species of rare birds and animals. Around the desert stretches, making this islet of greenery even more unusual.
The “Inner” Sea of Qatar Khor Al-Adaid. The sea is entirely surrounded by desert – a very unusual natural object, a natural reserve. By the way, there are no roads to it and can only be reached on foot – along the sand dunes. There are many rare waterfowl, endangered species of turtles and gazelles along the banks. “The landscape of this place is unique, unlike anything else,” even UNESCO notes.
Dal-Al-Mesfer cave. It has a depth of about 40 m, while inside it, you can see a soft glow. You can also see “desert roses” clusters of gypsum crystals with bright red colour tops.
How to get around Qatar
There is practically no public transport in Doha. The only bus that runs regularly is the 777 shuttle from the airport to the city centre and back.
The most convenient way to get around the city and the surrounding area is services like car or van rentals. It’s inexpensive and fast. You may book a car if you like or you could also book a van near you.
This may* require a valid international driving license and credit card. Although Qatar is a tiny country, the number of natural and artificial attractions is excellent. Museums, galleries, markets, shops, and unique natural landscapes are collected in a small area and convenient to visit, even in 1-2 days