Doha is the capital city of the state of Qatar. Located on the coast of the Persian Gulf, it had a population of 998,651 in 2008, and is also one of the municipalities of Qatar. Doha is Qatar's largest city, with over 60% of the nation's population residing in Doha or its surrounding suburbs, and is also the economic centre of the country.
Doha also serves as the seat of government of Qatar, which is ruled by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Doha is home to the Education City, an area devoted to research and education. Doha was the site of the first ministerial-level meeting of the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization negotiations. The city of Doha held the 2006 Asian Games, which was the largest Asian Games ever held. Doha also hosted the 2011 Pan Arab Games and most of the games at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. Doha hosted the UNFCCC Climate Negotiations (COP 18) December 2012 and will host a large number of the venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The World Petroleum Council held the 20th World Petroleum Conference in Doha in December 2011.
In 1825, the city of Doha was founded under the name Al-Bidda. The name "Doha" came from the Arabic ad-daw?a, "the big tree." The reference might be to a prominent tree that stood at the site where the original fishing village arose, on the eastern coast of the Qatar peninsula. Or it might have been derived from "dohat" Arabic for bay or gulf referring to the Doha Bay area surrounding Corniche. In 1825, during the war between Qatar and Bahrain, Doha had been severely damaged and Abu Dhabi was helping Bahrain. In 1882, Al Rayyan built the Al Wajbah fortress, in southwestern Doha. The following year, Sheikh Qassim bin Mohammed Al Thani led a Qatari army to victory against the Ottomans.
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The city was made capital of the British protectorate of Qatar in 1916, and became the nation's capital following the independence of Qatar in 1971.
Doha is the capital of Qatar. It is a modern and rapidly developing city and, considering the money being poured into construction, Doha looks set to become one of the premier cities in the Gulf within a few years.
Doha International Airport is becoming increasingly important in the Persian Gulf Region. Local carrier Qatar Airways is building a worldwide network from there and already connects the city with destinations in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Indian Sub-continent, North America and South America. During the second half of 2013 or early 2014 it will join the airline alliance.
If you're already in or around the Persian Gulf region, the cheapest way to fly to Doha is with Air Arabia or with FlyDubai, but you will almost certainly have to break your journey in Sharjah or Dubai, the airlines' hub in the United Arab Emirates.
Saudi Arabia is the only country that borders Qatar and it can be difficult to obtain permits to drive through Saudi Arabia.
Places to visit
There are plans to build bridges linking Qatar with both Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in the future.
Located adjacent to the Grand Mosque, the old clock tower features Arabic numerals on its face. Located on the hill, it offers wonderful views of the Corniche
Doha Heritage Village :
Located along the Corniche in Al Rumeilia Park, it is a skanzen based on traditional Qatari village. The visitors get to see pearl trading, weaving, and a dhow, apart from holding festivals and activities.
This renovated Arabic market quarter is another place worth visiting, and features spice shops, textile shops, souvenirs, falcons, and there are also places to sit down to smoke a Sheesha and good restaurants surrounding the place.
Located in the West Bay area, this huge cultural city hosts roman style public auditorium, galleries, museums, libraries, and more such cultural attractions.
This has more than 50,000 books in Arabic and other languages in Qatar and Middle East, apart from 600 antique maps, 2000 manuscripts, 6000 original photos, all of which form the collection by Sheikh Hassan Bin Mohamed Al Thani in 1979. It is also one of the biggest research centers in the Middle East.
Virginia Common wealth University Qatars gallery (VCU-Q):
Located in the heart of the city and the region, with an extraordinarily vibrant and diverse cultural heritage, this gallery in education city regularly hosts visiting exhibitions, work of faculty members and students, and the gallery is open to general public. The university plays a central role in modern cultural life of Qataris and people in Middle East. The collection include Arab manuscripts, foreign language
section dating back to 15th century,20th century books on art and politics, a studio, and computer laboratory.
The visual highlight of Doha is Al-Corniche, a long sea-side promenade that curves across Doha bay, rendering eye-catching views of Palm Tree Island and the skyscrapers in the city. It is also a good place for jogging, although cycling is prohibited. There are several parks adjacent to the corniche that are ideal for families, several statues. Worth noting is the giant statue of Orry, the Oryx, who was the mascot for the 15th Asian games, to be held in Doha from 1st to 15th December 2006. Along the southern end of the Corniche is a large Oyster and Pearl statue, and there is a Water pots fountain adjacent to the Museum of Islamic Arts.
Being one of Qatars main onshore oil production centers, Dukhan is situated half-way along western coastline of Qatari Peninsula. There is an oil nerve center developed here after the exploitation of countrys oil reserves began in 1949.
Located 60km west of Doha, it has a purpose-built camel racetrack and is famous for camel races.
The Palm Tree Island:
The Palm Tree Island is 10-minute boat ride away from Doha Corniche and is the focal point of Doha Bay. The island features fairground rides, water sports, quad bike track, and camel tracks. But, these attractions is to have been removed now, although tourists and locals still visit the place to take dhow boats over to the island and relax in the sun. There are some good cafes and inexpensive seafood lunch available at the restaurant. The island has several amenities for family and children, a restaurant that offers seafood and barbecue meals, a café, and a jetty for traditional Dhow boats.
Khor Al Udaid Beach:
The beach is located along the south-eastern part of the country, 78kms from Doha. The beach is distinguished by its fine sand dunes that are as high as 40meters in certain locations. Among the other good beaches in the country are Fuwairit, Dukhan and others.
Almaha (oryx) farm has been established to protect the species of endangered desert deer. Almaha is the national symbol of State of Qatar.