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Doha
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Qatar Intro
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December 15, 2017
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Qatar Travel Guide - with Wired Destinations

     

Discount Hotels in Qatar : Doha

 

The state of Qatar is a peninsula situated halfway along the West Coast of the Arabian Gulf. It is surrounded by water on three sides with its only land border existing at the southern end where Qatar meets Saudi Arabia. The entire county is approximately 240 kilometres from north to south, and less than 160 kilometres wide. It has a number of off-lying islands, the most important of which include Halool, Shira'aw, Al-Ashat. QatarA^'s topography consists of a rocky flat surface with some limestone outcrops in the Dukhan area in the west and Fuwairit area in the north. The total land area of Qatar is approximately 11,521 square kilometres. There are roughly 750,000 people making their home on the peninsula, most of whom live in the capital city of Doha.

Qatar Map
Qatar Map

The inhabitants of Qatar are primarily of Arab descent, reflecting the country's proximity to the Arabian peninsula. A strong connection is found with the other Gulf states in the history, language and religion of the country. Arab tribes who migrated to the area in the 18th century form the basis of the population.

Qatar has a rich history that can be traced back as far as 4000 BC. Like all the countries of the Arabian Gulf, Qatar eventually fell under Turkish rule and control for several centuries. The ostensible Ottoman sovereignty in the area was overshadowed by the local sheikhs and tribal leaders who held the real power. During the First World War in 1916, Qatar signed a protection treaty with Britain, but the British influence was limited to the supervision of administrative matters. Qatar remained a British protectorate until 1971, when Britain decided to withdraw from the Gulf area. The country then adopted a provisional constitution in whereby the state of Qatar was declared an Arab country with Islam as an official religion and Arabic as the official language. Qatar gained independence on September 3rd 1971. In 1974, the Qatar General Petroleum Corporation took control of all oil operations in the country. Qatar rapidly became a rich country with a modern infrastructure. On 27 June 1995, His Highness Sheikh Hamadbin Khalifa Al Thani took over the reins of power and launched a new era of modernization with the development of a strong base for democracy. He transformed the country into an ideal host for major sporting events and international conferences, as well as a luxurious tourist destination.

There is much to do and see in this exotic oasis of Arabian culture. You can explore the natural environment by embarking on an exciting desert safari. You can relax at the many beaches and pool facilities, or enjoy a game of golf. Ice skating is a great way to pass the time while vacationing in the desert state. Of course if you want to be indoors, activities such as billiards, bowling, tennis or squash, facilities are easily found. Whatever your interest, there is something for everyone. In fact, there are some sights and pastimes that really should not be missed.

The once near-extinct Arabian Oryx now live and breed in protected herds on a farm located in Shahaniya. This graceful white animal is believed to be the basis of the legend of the unicorn and is featured prominently on the tails of all Qatar Airways aircraft. The national animal of Qatar, the Oryx cannot be found anywhere else in the world in such large numbers.

The elegance and beauty of the Arabian horses is world renown. The pure-bred Arab show and race horses at Al Shaqab Stud Farm provide a great opportunity for visitors to enjoy these horses close up. Other facilities where it is possible to view these extra ordinary animals include the Qatar Race and Equestrian Club, which allows visitors to tour the stables; the Rayyan Racing and Equestrian Club, features races and show-jumping events. Local tour operators can arrange visits to these sites.

Falcons were used originally by Bedouins to hunt game, providing an important addition to their diets. The bird of prey is still very much a part of the Qataris culture. Today, the tradition of falconry forms a major sporting activity during the hunting season from October to March. During the off-season, owners and falcons continue with training exercises. An important bond is created between owners and falcons, and the birds are treated with great care and respect.

A desert safari is a great way to spend the day. Experienced drivers add to the adventure by expertly piloting their four-wheel drive vehicles up and down 60-metre sand dunes along the way. Each air conditioned vehicle comes fully equipped with all necessary gear to ensure a safe outing. As you travel over the sand dunes, you will be treated with spectacular views of the desert. Lunch and a swim in the warm inland sea will top off your excursion before heading back to the city. Be sure to bring your swimsuit and plenty sunscreen. For a safe and enjoyable desert safari, be sure to choose a reputable tour operator.

A stroll along the Corniche should be included in your itinerary. It is a seven-kilometre stretch of coastline running parallel to the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf and is used by walkers and runners, as well as the more adventurous roller-blade enthusiasts. It offers a relaxing environment for family picnics and there is park for children nearby. Fully landscaped with ample parking, the Corniche is the ideal place to unwind or to watch the daily catch being unloaded. (The harvest is available for purchase at the fish souq (market).)

Beautiful mosques, interesting museums, and historical forts are located throughout the country, which make for a varied and insightful way to appreciate this Bedouin culture. QatarA^'s traditions are expressed in poetry and song, and splendid art is created through weaving. Using tools made from both wood and gazelle horn, weavers work with sheep, goat, and camel wool to create beautiful rugs, tents, and cushions. To view this handiwork, a trip to the local traditional market is in order. Souq Waqif is in the city centre. The shops open early in the morning, close for noon recess then open again in the evening. Most of the traditional handcrafted objects, incense, perfumes, swords, daggers and spices are on display along with jewellery, tailoring, embroidery, and clothing shops.

For various goods imported from America, Europe and East Asia, large malls and entertainment complexes offering recreational facilities (including restaurants, cafes, cinema houses and children play areas) are located in Doha. At some centres, Friday is dedicated for families from 3 pm to 10 pm.


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