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Qatar

Main attractions

Skyscrapers of Doha at night, Qatar
Skyscrapers of Doha at night / Steven Byles, / CC BY-SA 2.0

This comparatively small, flat country for most part is covered with desert and one would expect that here is not much to see.

This is not true. Humans have lived here for millenia and desert environment has helped to preserve ancient settlements and buildings. Most of these settlements are fairly recent - from the 18th - 19th century, but there are also older ones. Qatar has many forts - witnesses of rough times in the late 19th - early 20th century.

Present times have brought unseen prosperity to the country and Qatar is investing in exciting, modern architecture and art.

Man made landmarks

Petroglyphs

  • Al Jassasiya petroglyphs - Madinat ash Shamal. Group of some 900 unusual petroglyphs. Most are geometrical patterns, animals, boats, but there are also unusual ones, such as none smaller cupules around a larger one and other groups of cupules which, possibly, were used for games. Petroglyphs were created in the 18th - 19th centuries.
  • Jebel Freiha petroglyphs - Madinat ash Shamal. Group of petroglyphs on a limestone cliff. Most petroglyphs are cupules which often are arranged in groups, forming rows and rosette shaped patterns.

Ancient and abandoned settlements

  • Al Rubaiqa - Madinat ash Shamal. Ruins of smaller settlement - possible site of port where products of date palms were stored and shipped in the 18th - 19th century.
  • Al Ruwaida - Madinat ash Shamal. Ruins of settlement, large fort and cemeteries as well as numerous fishtraps at the coast. This place was inhabited in the 17th - 18th centuries and abandoned in the early 19th century.
  • Al Zubarah - Madinat ash Shamal. Ruins of abandoned city which was founded in the middle of the 18th century AD and was rich trade city until the first decades of the 19th century. City was enclosed with a 2.5 km long fortification wall and os one of the best preserved examples of trade city from this time period in the region.
  • Al Wsel - Al Daayen. Ruins of prehistoric settlement which included residential buildings, towers, cemetery. Interesting feature is groups of limestone slabs, which are set upright and are arranged in circles. Settlement was inhabited in the 7th - 1st century BC, although it is possible that time span is longer.
  • Freiha - Madinat ash Shamal. Old, ruined city. Freiha flourished in the 17th - 18th centuries and its ruins include Qal'at Freiha (fortress), ruins of mosque and residential buildings.
Zubarah Fort, Qatar
Zubarah Fort / Aurel Cuvin, / CC BY 2.0

Forts

  • Al Koot Fort - Doha. Fortress in the centre of Doha, built in 1927. Now it serves as a museum.
  • Al Thagab Fort - Madinat ash Shamal. Fortress in Northern Qatar, constructed in the 18th century. Fort has traditional architecture - it is rectangular, with towers in the corners. There are also other fortresses in the north of country.
  • Al Wajba Fort - Doha. Important fortification which was built in the late 18th - early 19th century and further rebuilt in 1882. Here in 1893 was defeated Ottoman Army and started the state of Qatar.
  • Barzan Towers - Umm Salal. System of fortification which was built to protect the water resources in this site. Towers were built in the late 19th - early 20th century.
  • Zekreet Fort - Al Rayyan. Unusual fortification which is built among limestone hoodoos, using them as part of the structures. Fort was constructed in the 18th century AD, construction was not completed.
  • Zubarah Fort - Madinat ash Shamal. Well preserved fortress, which was constructed in 1938.
Aspire Tower, Qatar
Aspire Tower / Ding Digital Photography, / CC BY 2.0

Modern architecture

  • Aspire Tower - Doha. 300 m tall skyscraper (37 floors) with unusual, hyperboloid form. Tower housed enormous flame during the 2006 Asian Games and now serves as a hotel.
  • East-West/West-East - Al Rayyan. Group of unusual sculptures in the middle of desert - a row of four some 15 m tall steel-plated monoliths which look like installation for sci-fi movie. Artwork was made by Richard Serra in 2014.
  • Museum of Islamic Art in Doha - Doha. Museum building with unique architecture, built on water in 2008 after the design of I.M.Pei. Building contains huge collection of Islamic art.

List of described attractions by municipalities

Qatar is divided into 7 municipalities. Here below they are listed in alphabetical order:

Al Daayen
Al Khor
Al Rayyan
Al Wakrah
Doha
Madinat ash Shamal
Umm Salal

Map of Qatar

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