About Qatar

The State of Qatar is a peninsula located halfway down the West coast of the Arabian Gulf. Its territory comprises a number of islands including Halul, Sheraouh, Al-Ashat and others. It has maritime and land borders with Saudi Arabia as well as maritime boundaries with Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Iran.

The modern history of Qatar began in the early eighteenth century AD when the ruling family "Al Thani" reached the southern part of Qatar. The "Al Thani" family's roots are connected with Al Maadeed tribe (Branch of Bani Tamim) in the Ushaiqir of Al Washm district in Najd. In the middle of the eighteenth century the family moved to the northern part of Qatar, which includes Zubara and Ruwais and Fuert.

In 1878, H.E. Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammad Al Thani succeeded his father H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Thani.
In 1913, H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Jassim Al Thani assumed power, and oil was discovered in the country for the first time during his rule.
H.E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Thani assumed power in 1940 and ruled the country until 1948.
In 1949, H.E. Sheikh Ali Bin Abdullah Al Thani became the ruler of the country until 1960 and was succeeded by H.E. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Ali Al Thani who ruled the country until 1972.
H.E. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani assumed power in 1972 and Qatar gained independence on the 3rd of September 1971.
In 1995, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani came to power with the allegiance and support of the ruling family and the people of Qatar.
In 2013, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani assumed power and is the current ruling Emir of the State of Qatar.

Population

The population of Qatar is 2 million.

Language

The official language is Arabic. English is widely spoken.

Religion

The religion is Islam.

Time Zone

Doha is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 3)

Electricity Supply

The sector power is: 240v 50Hz

Weather

The temperatures in Qatar are on the higher side. Since most of the country is a desert, the temperatures rise above 45ºC. June to September is the peak summer time in Qatar. During summers, the temperatures soar to about 50ºC. It is extremely hot during the day, while the nights are warm, and not as extreme as the day conditions. Humidity is also quite high during the summer months. Please remember that sunglasses and sunscreen of a high factor should be worn when outside and that it is important to keep hydrated at all times.

It is advised to bring appropriate clothing, shoulders should be covered at all times, skirts below the knee are acceptable. Men should not wear shorts in public unless they are by the beach or the pool. Be prepared to have something warm at hand, because the meeting rooms are often heavily air-conditioned.

 

Introduction to Doha

Doha was declared the capital of Arab culture in 2010, an occasion which was celebrated with different events throughout the year.  Besides being the country’s financial and political centre, Doha also takes the reins as the cultural capital of Qatar.

The cultural scene in Doha is diverse. Souq Waqif, with its small shops and restaurants, is one of the most visited places by tourists. There is no recorded date for the establishment of the market, but stories that surround it confirm the existence of the market decades ago when Doha was still a small village. It proudly shows traditional Qatari architecture situated at the heart of the rapidly growing city.  This is a great location to shop for traditional objects and souvenirs.

Katara Cultural Village is the largest and the most multidimensional cultural project of Qatar. It is a place where people come together to experience the cultures of the world. With beautiful theatres, concert halls, exhibition galleries, excellent restaurants and cutting-edge facilities, Katara aims to become a world leader for multi-cultural activities.

One of the most important landmarks of Doha is the Museum of Islamic Art. It is the inevitable destination for all visitors to Doha. It is dedicated to reflecting the full vitality, complexity and diversity of the arts of the Islamic world. It is a world-class institution, which preserves, studies and exhibits masterpieces spanning over three continents and 13th centuries. As a centre for information, research and creativity, the museum aims to reach a wide and global audience and serve as a hub for dialogue and cultural exchange. The Museum also boasts a five star restaurant managed by the world renowned Chef Alain Ducasse. (Reservations only.)

Another important landmark is MATHAF, the Modern Arab Art Museum located near the Qatar Foundation.

Al Zubarah Archaeological Site, one of the largest and best-preserved examples of an 18th-19th century traditional pearl fishing and merchant town in the Gulf, has today been inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List, as of June 2013.

A historic coastal town that is now abandoned, Al Zubarah is situated approximately 100 km north-west of Doha. Founded in the mid-18th century, the town developed into a centre for pearling and international trade and rose to become the country’s largest and most important settlement.

The success of Al Zubarah attracted the attention of other Gulf powers, and after several attacks the town was eventually burned to the ground in 1811. It never fully recovered and was abandoned by the mid-20th century.

Smoking and Alcohol

In Qatar, it is forbidden to smoke in public places. Nevertheless, sometimes, restaurants and cafeterias have a designated area for smokers. Some hotels may offer their guests a smoking room. The availability of such rooms should be verified with the hotel. 

It is prohibited to bring any alcohol into the State of Qatar and it will be confiscated on arrival at Doha airport.  Alcohol is available in some five star hotel restaurants. There is a high tax on all alcohol sales. Passport identification is required to enter many outlets which sell alcoholic beverages such as bars, and nightclubs and will be requested at the entrance.

Drinking Water

It is recommend to drink bottled water. Bottles of mineral water are widely available in shops and hotels, at a reasonable price.