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Qatar Travel Guide

The State of Qatar is an Arab emirate located on the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered with Saudi Arabia in the south while all the other directions it is bodered with Sea. A strait of the Gulf separates Qatar from the island state of Bahrain.

Qatar has been ruled as an absolute monarchy by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century. Formerly a British protectorate noted mainly for pearling, it became independent in 1971, and has become one of the region's wealthiest states due to its enormous oil and natural gas revenues. In 1995, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani became Emir when he seized power from his father, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, in a peaceful coup d'état. The most important positions in Qatar are held by the members of the Al Thani family, or close confidants of the al- Thani family. Beginning in 1992, Qatar has built intimate military ties with the United States, and is now the location of U.S. Central Command’s Forward Headquarters and the Combined Air Operations Center.


Qatar's coastline is 550-km long and bounds the country to the west, north and east. On the southeastern coast lies an inland sea, surrounded by sand dunes, known locally as the "moving dunes", which attract locals and tourists alike on weekend excursions. Qatar's coastal area consists mainly of salt flats, with only approximately 2% of the land favourable for agricultural activity. Qatar has long, hot and humid summers. when temperatures can reach as high as 50°C. and mild winters. Average annual rainfall is limited and amounts to around only 75 mm. NATURAL RESOURCES: The cornerstone of Qatar's economy is its abundance of hydrocarbons. According to the Oil&GasJournal. as of January 1.2011, Qatar had 15.2bn barrels of proven oil reserves and achieved crude oil production of 0.8m barrels per day in 2009. ranking 11th in output of the 12-member Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). A number of on- and offshore development projects are currently under construction, and oil production is set to continue growing over the next few years.

Doha, the capital and financial centre, accounts for 47% of the country's population. Other prominent towns include Al Rayyan, Al Wakrah. Umm Salal. Al Khor, Dukhan, Al Shamal. Ras Laffan and Mesaieed. GEOGRAPHY: Qatar is located midway along the western coast of the Arabian Gulf and covers an area of 11,437 sq km on the low-lying Qatar Peninsula, part of the larger Arabian Peninsula. The country's only land border is shared with Saudi Arabia to the south. There is a proposed causeway and rail project, set to link Qatar to the Kingdom of Bahrain, which lies to the northwest. Additionally, there has been discussion of a further causeway and rail connection linking Qatar to the UAE. which lies to the south-east, as part of the larger GCC rail initiative.

Qatar has the world's largest per capita production and proven reserves of both oil and natural gas. In 2010, Qatar had the world's highest GDP per capita, while the economy grew by 19.40%, the fastest in the world. The main drivers for this rapid growth are attributed to ongoing increases in production and exports of liquefied natural gas, oil, petrochemicals and related industries. Qatar has the second-highest human development in the Arab World after the United Arab Emirates. In 2009, Qatar was the United States’ fifth-largest export market in the Middle East, trailing behind the U.A.E., Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. With a small citizen population of less than 300,000 people, Qatar relies heavily on foreign citizens, both for its protection and generating labour demand. Qatar has attracted an estimated $100 billion in investment, with approximately $60–70 billion coming from the U.S in the energy sector. It is estimated that Qatar will invest over $120 billion in the energy sector in the next ten years

In December 2010, Qatar was selected to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Religion in Qatar

Qatar's official religion is Islam. The country's first Roman Catholic Church opened in 2008.

Education in Qatar

The first primary school in Qatar opened in 1951. and currently the state provides a comprehensive. three-stage education system. The government of Qatar has prioritized the development of education as part of its broader economic diversification strategy. The Ministry of Education will undergo major organizational restructuring.

Education in Qatar is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. and 95.6% of the population is literate, according to the QSA. Qatar University was established in 1973 and offers a wide range of academic disciplines, while Qatar's government has recently sought to further strengthen higher education by attracting leading foreign universities to the country. Qatar Foundation's Education City is a major initiative aimed at promoting education and research, and is home to numerous satellite campuses of some of the world's most prestigious universities, as well as other educational and research organisations.

Additionally. The College of the North Atlantic was established in Qatar in 2002 in order to fulfil the technical needs of local industry and the public sector, while the University of Calgary set up a nursing school in cooperation with the Hamad Medical Corporation to meet domestic demand for nursing professionals.

Legal System in Qatar

As in many countries in the Gulf region. Qatar's legal system combines aspects of Islamic sharia law and civil law code, and the vast majority of its citizens are of the Sunni denomination. The judiciary is independent from the government and is divided into two court systems: the civil, commercial and criminal system: and the sharia system, which administers Islamic law on matters such as marriage, divorce, child support and succession.

Culture of Qatar

Qatari culture has many similarities with other countries in the GCC. primarily due to the nomadic nature of earlier civilisations. Arab tribes often migrated vast distances and in the process exchanged language, food, music, religion and other cultural ideals amongst each other.

The most popular form of music is known as Khal-iji, a traditional style based on Bedouin poetry, song and dance. This typically includes a percussion instrument (usually a drum), tambourines, cymbals, stringed instruments such as the oud. and the Arabian flute. Qatar also boasts one of the largest facilities devoted to folk music in the Qatari Gulf Folklore Centre.

Qatari cuisine

The local cuisine contains elements from the broader Gulf area and northern Africa, while seafood has traditionally been a staple of the Qatari diet. Historically dates have also been an important food source, while rich Arabian coffee is also common in Qatari households. One of the most common Qatari dishes. mochbous, is communal platter of rice and delicately spiced meat and/or seafood Meanwhile, the growth of a large expatriate population in the past decade has prompted a sharp rise in the number of foreign restaurants and fast-food chains in the capital, Doha.

Like in many other GCC countries that are experiencing rapid economic expansion and are home to a large number of foreign workers there is a perception that traditional culture is under threat. However. as with education, the Qatari government has made preservation and development of culture a priority in an effort to transform the country into a regional cultural centre through the continued support and development of festivals, museums and art shows. HISTORY: The earliest known human inhabitants of pre-historic Qatar appeared in the sixth millennium BC in Shagra and in the millennia that followed trade ties were made to the Al Ubaid civilisation, which thrived in the fourth and fifth millennia in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq). Although Qatar has sustained human life for thousands of years, its arid, desert climate mainly been home to temporary settlements and nomadic tribes throughout history.

History of Qatar

Recent discoveries on the edge of an island in western Qatar indicate early human presence in pre-historic Qatar. Discovery of a 6th millennium BC site at Shagra, in southeastern Qatar revealed the key role the sea (Persian Gulf) played in the lives of Shagra’s inhabitants. Excavations at Al-Khor in northeastern Qatar, Bir Zekrit and Ras Abaruk, and the discovery there of pottery, flint, flint-scraper tools, and painted ceramic vessels indicates Qatar’s connection with the Al-Ubaid civilisation, which flourished in the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers in present-day Iraq during the period of 5th–4th millennium BC. There had also been a barter-based trading system between the settlements at Qatar and the Ubaid Mesopotamia, in which the exchanged commodities were mainly pottery and dried fish.


Islam conquered the entire Arabian region during the 7th century in a string of widespread conflicts resulting in the Islamization of the native Arabian pagans. With the spread of Islam in Qatar, the Islamic prophet Muhammad sent his first military envoy, Al Ala Al-Hadrami, to Al-Mundhir Ibn Sawa Al-Tamimi, the ruler of Bahrain (which extended from the coast of Kuwait to the south of Qatar, including Al-Hasa and Bahrain Islands)), in the year 628, inviting him to accept Islam as he had invited other kingdoms and empires of his time such as Byzantium and Persia. Mundhir, in response to Muhammad, announced his acceptance of Islam, and all the inhabitants of Qatar became Muslim, heralding the beginning of the Islamic era in Qatar.

In medieval times, Qatar was more often than not independent and a participant in the great Persian Gulf–Indian Ocean commerce. Many races and ideas were introduced into the peninsula from the sailors of Sindh, East Africa, South and Southeast Asia, as well as the Malay archipelago. Today, the traces of these early interactions with the oceanic world of the Indian Ocean survive in the small minorities of races, peoples, languages and religions, such as the presence of Africans and Shihus.

Although the peninsula land mass that makes up Qatar has sustained humans for thousands of years, for the bulk of its history, the arid climate fostered only short-term settlements by nomadic tribes. The Abbasid era (750–1258) saw the rise of several settlements, including Murwab. The Portuguese ruled from 1517 to 1538, when they lost to the Ottomans. For the duration of the 18th and 19th century, Qatar was independent, but in 1876, Shaikh Jassim Bin Muhammad bin Thani invited the Ottomans, who had recently annexed the Ahsa region, to protect Qatar. Qatar thus became a dependency of the Ottoman Empire, although not a part of it. But attempts by the Ottomans to annex Qatar outright soon led to the expulsion of the Ottomans from the Qatar Peninsula. In March 1893, at the Battle of Wajbah (10 miles west of Doha), Shaikh Jassim defeated the Ottomans and banished them for good from Qatar. This date is a landmark in Qatari history, one that marks the emergence of modern Qatar as a nation.

The British initially sought out Qatar and the Persian Gulf as an intermediary vantage point en route to their colonial interests in India; although, the discovery of petroleum and other hydrocarbons in the early 20th century would re-invigorate their interest. During the 19th century, the time of Britain’s formative ventures into the region, the Al Khalifa clan reigned over the northern Qatari peninsula from the nearby island of Bahrain to the west.

Although Qatar had the legal status of a dependency, resentment festered against the Bahraini Al Khalifas along the eastern seaboard of the Qatari peninsula. In 1867, the Al Khalifas launched a successful effort to crush the Qatari rebels, sending a massive naval force to Al Wakrah. However, the Bahraini aggression was in violation of the 1820 Anglo-Bahraini Treaty. The diplomatic response of the British to this violation set into motion the political forces that would eventuate in the founding of the state of Qatar on December 18, 1878 (for this reason, the date of December 18 is celebrated each year as the National Day of Qatar). In addition to censuring Bahrain for its breach of agreement, the British Protectorate (per Colonel Lewis Pelly) asked to negotiate with a representative from Qatar.

The request carried with it a tacit recognition of Qatar’s status as distinct from Bahrain. The Qataris chose as their negotiator the entrepreneur and long-time resident of Doha, Muhammed bin Thani. The Al Thanis had taken relatively little part in Persian Gulf politics, but the diplomatic foray ensured their participation in the movement towards independence and their hegemony as the future ruling family, a dynasty that continues to this day. The results of the negotiations left the nation with a new-found sense of political identity, although it did not gain official standing as a British protectorate until 1916.

20th and 21st centuries

The reach of the British Empire diminished after World War II, especially following Indian independence in 1947. Pressure for a British withdrawal from the Arab emirates in the Persian Gulf increased during the 1950s, and the British welcomed Kuwait’s declaration of independence in 1961. When Britain officially announced in 1968 that it would disengage politically (though not economically) from the Persian Gulf in three years’ time, Qatar joined Bahrain and seven other Trucial States in a federation. Regional disputes, however, quickly compelled Qatar to resign and declare independence from the coalition that would evolve into the seven-emirate United Arab Emirates. On September 3, 1971, Qatar became an independent sovereign state.

In 1991, Qatar played a significant role in the Persian Gulf War, particularly during the Battle of Khafji in which Qatari tanks rolled through the streets of the town providing fire support for Saudi Arabian National Guard units which were fighting against units of the Iraqi Army. Qatar also allowed Coalition troops from Canada to use the country as an airbase to launch aircraft on CAP duty.

Since 1995, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has ruled Qatar, seizing control of the country from his father Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani while the latter vacationed in Switzerland. Under Emir Hamad, Qatar has experienced a notable amount of sociopolitical liberalization, including the endorsement of women's suffrage or right to vote, drafting a new constitution, and the launch of Al Jazeera, an outspoken news organization.

The World Factbook states that Qatar has the second-highest GDP per capita in the world, after Liechtenstein.

Qatar served as the headquarters and one of the main launching sites of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Cities in Qatar

Al Doha is the main city of the country and is the capital as well. Other cities Include.

Ad Doha
Al Ghuwariyah
Al Jumaliyah (Al Jumayliyah)
Al Khawr
Al Wakrah
Ar Rayyan
Jariyan al Batnah
Ash Shamal
Umm Salal

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