QATAR YOUR DESTINATION
Annual Events Qatar Motor Show WISE – World Innovation Summit for Education Tennis – ATP – Qatar ExxonMobil Open MEED Qatar Projects Doha Jewellery and Watch Exhibition PGA Tour – Commercialbank Qatar Masters Golf Tournament Sail the Gulf Tennis – WTA Tour Ladies Qatar Open MotoGP – Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar Doha Natural Gas Conference and Exhibition Qatar Class 1 Powerboat Championship Qatar Classic Squash Tournament Waterski and Wakeboard World Cup The Doha Tribeca Film Festival A selection from Qatar’s annual events calendar. For a full listing of events in Qatar visit www.qatartourism.gov.qa
WELCOME TO Qatar Arriving in Qatar you will find a country that treasures the past and welcomes the future. Moving around our capital city Doha and the rest of the peninsula you will see striking examples of modern architecture as new shopping malls, hotels and commercial buildings rise to meet 21st-century challenges and expectations. The country is also justly proud of its heritage, with fine examples of traditional buildings, arts and crafts, and the magnificent Museum of Islamic Art designed by renowned architect I.M Pei. Demonstrations of many old time handicrafts can be seen at the bustling Souq Waqif where Dohaâ€™s communities seem to meet, eat and relax. You can also admire the falcons in the Souq, as Qatarâ€™s local sports of falconry and camel racing are still very popular. Discover camels in their natural habitat as well as exploring the sandy beaches and clear blue waters of the Gulf surrounding the peninsula. We hope this guide will show you how diverse our country is and help you discover its rich rewards.
FACTS & FIGURES Geography. Qatar is a peninsula 11,521sq km in size, located halfway down the west coast of the Gulf. The territory of the State comprises, in addition to the mainland, a number of islands including Halul, Sheraouh, Al Beshairiya, Al Safliya and Al Aaliya. The coastline covers more than 563km with shallow coastal waters in most areas. The terrain is flat and rocky, with many sand flats and dunes especially in the south. There are some exceptional limestone outcrops in the north and northwest of the country and there are many coves and inlets scattered along the coastline. The country is centrally placed among the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which groups it with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Demography. The total population is presently estimated at more than 1.7 million and has been increasing at 10–14% per annum in recent years. Almost 80% of the population resides in the city of Doha, the business and administrative capital. Climate. The country has a moderate desert climate with pleasant mild winters and hot summers. Winter nights can be cool, but temperatures rarely drop below 7˚C. Rainfall is scarce (average 70mm per year), falling on isolated days mainly between October and March. Local Time. GMT plus 3 hours throughout the year. Electricity. The main electricity is 220–240 volts.
Quick Qatar Fact. The highest point in Qatar occurs in the Jebel Dukhan to the west, a range of low limestone outcrops running north–south from Zikrit through Umm Bab to the southern border, and reaching about 90m above sea level. 2
THE STATE OF QATAR The State of Qatar is a constitutional emiri ruled by The Emir, HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. The Heir Apparent is his son HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani. The Emir, HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani is seen left with the Heir Apparent on the right. The Emir, HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani was born in Doha in 1952 and attended local primary and secondary schools. In 1971 he graduated from the prestigious Sandhurst Military Academy in England. On his return to Qatar he joined the Qatari Armed Forces with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and is now Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He was appointed Heir Apparent and Minister of Defence on 31st May 1977 and acceded to power on 27th June 1995. The Heir Apparent, HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani was born in Doha on 3rd June 1980 and was educated in Qatar and the United Kingdom. In the footsteps of his father, he graduated from Sandhurst Military Academy in 1998 and was appointed Heir Apparent on 5th August 2003.
AIRPORT INFORMATION General Enquiries (operator) Flight Information, Departures and Arrivals Information Desk Immigration and Passport Control Visa Office Al-Maha â€˜Meet and Greetâ€™ Service
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For arriving, departing or transit passengers, Al-Maha Service provides assistance with formalities such as visas and luggage collection. Doha International Airport is located just 5 km from Doha city centre. Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, flying to over 100 destinations across six different continents. For more information visit www.qatarairways.com
TRANSPORT INFORMATION Temporary Qatari drivining license can be obtained for periods of up to six months and an international license is valid for six months from the date of entry into the country. Rental companies will help you arrange this. There is a 24-hour Karwa taxi service, which can be booked in advance or hailed from the roadside; all vehicles are a distinctive bright turquoise colour. Taxi fares around Doha are usually between QR10 and QR20. The meter starts running at QR4 then QR1.20 per kilometre inside Doha and QR1.80 outside of Doha. Limousines can also be hired for specific journeys or by the hour. There is a Karwa bus fleet, which serves all areas of Doha and its suburbs with regular and frequent links to all towns in Qatar.
Car Rental Companies. Al Muftah Rent A Car Al Sulaiman Rent A Car Avis Budget EuroDollar Hertz National Car Rental Oasis Rent A Car Prestige Cars Select Transport Sixt Rent A Car
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Car hire is available from the airport. Limousine Companies. Doha Limousine Elite Limo Fox Transport Mowasalat Karwa
4458 8888 4442 6184 4462 2777 4458 8888 5
BUSINESS HOURS & HOLIDAYS Government ministries and oil, gas and petrochemical companies work Sunday to Thursday 7am–2pm. Some private businesses also follow a one-shift workday, but many have split timings, roughly 7:30am–noon and 3:30pm– 7:30pm. Shop timings vary but are generally 8:30am–12:30pm and 4pm–9pm, although the shopping malls tend to be open all day from 9am–11pm. On Fridays most malls open at 1:30pm, while shopping centres open at 4pm. Some shops remain closed all day. Public holidays. With the exception of National Day, which falls on 18th December, the dates of the two other public holidays (Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha) are fixed according to the Hijri lunar calendar, which moves forward 11 days each year according to the Gregorian calendar. The beginning of Ramadan and the Eid holidays is confirmed on the night before by the sighting of the new moon.
COMMUNICATION INFORMATION There are two phone companies operating in Qatar – Qtel and Vodafone Qatar. Qatar Telecom (Qtel) provides International Direct Dialling (IDD) to most countries; dial ‘00’ or ‘+’ to call out. The international dialling code for Qatar is +974 Local calls from private houses and businesses are free, but hotels charge a nominal rate for local calls made from the room. Local and international calls can be made from Qtel telephone booths, conveniently located all over Qatar, using Q-cards (prepaid calling cards) that are available in denominations of QR30, QR50 and QR100. Mobile users on a short visit to Doha can switch to the local network if your local GSM service provider has a roaming service. For a complete listing of Qtel’s services go to www.qtel.com.qa or call Qtel customer helpline 111. For a complete listing of Vodafone Qatar’s services go to www.vodafone.com.qa or call their customer care number on 800 7111.
Internet. Most hotels offer internet connection and there are a number of internet cafés in Doha. Qtel Hotspots offer wireless internet with a prepaid Hotspot card at selected locations including Souq Waqif, various hotels and cafés. Free wireless access is offered in public parks including Doha’s Sheraton Park, Al Rumaila Park, ASPIRE Park and Dahl Al Hamam Park. Vodafone and Qtel offer broadband services. PostalServices.The General Post Office is located in the West Bay area, on the Corniche. For full details of postal services, including postal rates, call 4446 4000 or visit www.qpost.com.qa. Main office counter opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 7am–8pm; Saturday 8am– 11am; 5pm–8pm; Friday closed. Qatar Stamp Collector Club. Philatelists and those interested in the history of postal systems can view the national stamp collection at the Qatar Philatelic and Numismatic Club on Al Sadd Street. There are also displays at the Philatelic Bureau in the General Post Office where you can also buy mint stamps and first-day covers. 8
EMERGENCY INFORMATION Emergencies (fire, police or ambulance) Worldwide Emergency Number (can be used if outside normal network coverage area)
Medical and dental treatment is available to residents and visitors at the government hospitals and regional health centres throughout the country.Hamad Medical Corporationâ€™s Hamad General Hospital treats most emergency medical cases in the accident and emergency unit. Visitors will be asked to pay for consultations, treatment and prescriptions. Visit www.hmc.org.qa for more information State Hospital. Hamad General Hospital
Private Facilities. Al Ahli Hospital Al Emadi Hospital American Hospital Doha Clinic Hospital
4489 8888 4466 6009 4442 1999 4438 4333
VISA INFORMATION Citizens of the 33 countries listed below* can get a tourist visa on arrival in Qatar, which is valid for two weeks. Nationals of other GCC countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – can also get a two-week visa on arrival. These visas can be extended for a further two weeks. Citizens from countries not listed below may arrange a visa prior to travel, sponsored by a Qatar-based hotel or tour company. Other visas include a business visit visa, an official visit visa and a work visa. Eligible Qatari companies may apply for these visas in advance of your visit. Visit the Ministry of Interior website at www.moi.gov.qa Visas on Arrival. • Andorra • Australia • Austria • Belgium • Brunei • Canada • Denmark • Finland • France • Germany • Greece • Hong Kong
• Iceland • Ireland • Italy • Japan • Liechtenstein • Luxembourg • Malaysia • Monaco • Netherlands • New Zealand • Norway • Portugal
• San Marino • Singapore • South Korea • Spain • Sweden • Switzerland • UK (with the right of abode) • USA • Vatican City
Quick Qatar Fact. Oil was discovered in Dukhan on the west coast of Qatar in 1939. Qatar became a member of OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) in 1961. 10
CULTURAL COURTESY Qatar is a very safe and friendly country and you will find people are generous with their time if you need any help or advice. It is an Islamic state and manners and behaviour tend to be more formal than in some other countries. Visitors should dress modestly, which will also give protection from the sun, as it can be quite strong even in winter. Swimwear is acceptable on private beaches or by the pool, but T-shirts and covering of the legs is desirable away from these areas. Please respect local customs and do not show displays of affection between men and women when in a public place. There are many photographic opportunities in Qatar but be sure to ask permission from local residents, particularly women, if you wish to photograph them. There are fines for consuming alcohol other than on licensed premises, or at home (if you have a liquor permit). Drink-driving is a serious offence, and the country applies a zero-tolerance attitude to drugs. Ramadan. Kindly refrain from eating or drinking in public between sunrise and sunset during this holy month of fasting.
cultural sights Traditional – Souq Waqif. Souq Waqif exudes an old-world charm and is a must-see for any visitor to Doha. There is a maze of stone-clad alleyways, lined with dozens of small shops offering a large variety of merchandise. Included are perfumes, incense, traditional Qatari clothing, shoes, jewellery, gifts, souvenirs, luggage, tools and hardware, gardening equipment, camping apparatus, kitchenware, spices, sweets, rice, honey, nuts and dried fruits. There are a string of restaurants offering a variety of Arab and international fare, falcon shops, pet stores, art galleries abound, as well as coffee shops, an ATM and a money exchange house. Wander around at your leisure, or take in the sights and sounds at one of the many restaurants and coffee shops. Here you can sample a wide variety of Arab and other international cuisines, the air filled with the fruity aroma of shisha – the Arabian water pipe. For lovers of all things gold, a visit to the Gold Souq, situated behind the Alfardan Centre, just off Grand Hamad Street, is a must. Small jewellery stores line the block, their windows crammed full of glittering gold bangles, rings, necklaces, and Qatari bridal jewellery – most of it 22-carat gold – as well as pearls and precious stones.
Culture â€“ at Katara. Katara is the earliest known expression of the country found on ancient maps. Katara, The Cultural Village, is a prestigious project that brings together the culture, arts and cuisines of different countries on its 99-hectare site on the seashore. Katara reflects the heritage of Qatar through its traditional architecture and has magnificent views over the Gulf from its enormous esplanade. Its facilities include an amphitheatre, art and exhibition galleries and two enormous birdfeeders. Katara is the name given to the cultural village in Qatar, it is located between Dohaâ€™s West Bay and The Pearl-Qatar. It is home to the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF). Many Qatari organisations have their offices in Katara. These include the Qatari Society for Engineers, Qatar Fine Arts Society, Visual Art Centre, Qatar Photographic Society, Childhood Cultural Centre, Theatre Society and Qatar Music Academy. The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra performs at the purpose-built Opera House. It has fast become a landmark for many residents of Doha with its public beach and range of restaurants and galleries.
cultural museums Museum of Islamic Art. This architectural wonder is built on a man-made island off Doha’s Corniche, and was designed by Pritzker Prize laureate and world-renowned architect, I.M. Pei. The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) showcases an internationally recognised collection of Islamic artifacts from the 7th to the 19th century. Internationally-curated short-term exhibitions are shown in the temporary galleries. The 35,500sq m building includes an education wing with facilities for research scholars and students, a library, a state-of-the-art 200-seat auditorium, a conservation laboratory, as well as reception areas, prayer halls for men and women, a café and gift shop. A five-star restaurant is due to open soon. Open daily 10:30am–5:30pm, Friday 2pm–8pm. Closed Tuesday. For information visit www.mia.org.qa.
Mathaf – Arab Museum of Modern Art. Opened in Doha, Qatar on 30th December 2010 as part of the celebrations for Doha as the 2010 City of Arab Culture, the museum showcases art from across the Arab world including Egypt, Iraq, Qatar and North Africa. Located in a converted school in the Education City area of Doha it opened with the exhibition Sajjil, which means ‘act of recording’ in Arabic, featuring a cross-section of Arab art over the previous 100 years. The museum has a permanent exhibition as well as hosting several temporary collections. Open Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 11am to 6pm, Friday 3pm to 6pm and closed Mondays. www.mia.org.qa. Sheikh Faisal collection. This magnificent private collection was acceded to His Highness Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani by his father, Sheikh Qassim bin Faisal. The sizeable 17,000sqm building features more than 15,000 unique pieces, including ancient Islamic manuscripts, major archaeological findings, textiles, carpets, embroidery and antique furniture. There is also a comprehensive and fascinating collection of historic cars, including a 19th-century steam vehicle. In an expression of Qatar’s renowned respect for cultural diversity, the museum’s pavilions display religious objects from other faiths.
education information Education. Qatar has worked hard to develop a world-class education system. Under the leadership of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar has emerged on the world stage as a country that is a leader in progression and innovation in education. Under the Supreme Council of Education’s auspices, Qatar has a competitive and diverse education system with international schools featuring curriculum from the US, UK, India and Pakistan among others as well as government and independent schools. At the centre of the country’s commitment is the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, which supports the Government’s vision to become a knowledge-based economy by 2030. Meanwhile, Qatar University, the country’s oldest and biggest higher education institution, has more than 7,000 enrolled students and offers courses including engineering, communications, and liberal arts, Qatar boasts two top research centres: the Qatar Science and Technology Park, which is an incubator for technology and research, and is home to 21 companies, and the Sidra Medical and Research Centre, which has a focus on women and children’s health.
HOTELS & CLUBS An unrivalled blend of Qatar’s unique Arabian and luxurious modern hospitality awaits you at its many world-class hotels ranging from three to five stars. For more information about hotels in Qatar visit www.qatartourism.gov.qa Your only difficulty on arrival will be making your choice but, having done so, relax and indulge yourself in the lavish amenities and spectacular dining experiences that await you. The hotel restaurants range from coffee shops to international restaurants serving haute cuisine. Friday and Saturday brunch is an institution for the whole family to enjoy and many of the hotels, bars and lounges are a perfect place to wind up the evening listening to live music from latin to jazz. 5 Star. Al Sultan Beach Resort Al Khor Four Seasons Grand Heritage Doha Grand Hyatt Wyndham Grand Regency Doha InterContinental Doha Kempinski Residences & Suites La Cigale Le Vendôme Marriott Doha Millennium Doha Mövenpick Tower & Suites Renaissance Doha City Center Sealine Beach Resort (Mesaieed) Sharq Village & Spa Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel The Ritz-Carlton, Doha W Doha 18
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4 Star. Al Bustan Hotel Al Liwan Suites Best Western Doha Seef Hotel Century Hotel Holiday Villa Hotel & Residences Hotel Souq Waqif Le Park Hotel Mercure Grand Hotel Merwebhotel Central Doha Mรถvenpick Hotel Oryx Rotana Ramada Plaza Retaj Al Rayyan Hotel Royal Qatar Hotel Safir Swiss-Belhotel
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Recreational Clubs. Many of the clubs in Doha open their restaurants and facilities to the general public. Facilities include health clubs, spas, tennis courts and swimming pools. Some of the most popular ones are listed below: Dana Club Doha Golf Club The Diplomatic Club
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Quick Qatar Fact. Evidence of human habitation around 4000 BC has been discovered in the Qatar Peninsula. 19
SHOPPING & DINING Qatar is a fabulous destination for shopping and dining and offers many opportunities to combine the two, thanks to the exciting blend of modern and traditional locations. Find out more about four very different venues on the following pages. The multi-cultural fusion of nationalities residing in Qatar guarantees an amazing dining experience combined with the chance to purchase such varied items as haute couture or an Arab coffee cup. Sampling traditional Qatari fare is a must for any visitor. Influenced by Qatarâ€™s position on the Arabian Gulf coupled with the hot desert climate. The cuisine is an intriguing blend of simple basic ingredients mixed with an amazing range of spices. A varied selection of small restaurants and takeaways are found dotted around town. Every main street and many of the side streets will have a selection of sandwich shops, and shawarma (lamb or chicken kebab) stalls. Try one of the amazing juice bars crammed full of every fruit you could possibly imagine. The sparkling waters of the Arabian Gulf yield a treasure trove of fish and seafood, and no visit to Qatar would be complete without sampling the delicious variety. Seafood restaurants abound â€“ try delicious hammouor sherry fillets, or the locally
caught crayfish Umm Al Rubiyan, meaning ‘the mother of prawns’. Situated along the Corniche is the enchanting Al Mourjan Restaurant; the perfect place to sample an extensive range of Lebanese and Arabic style cuisine with Doha’s spectacular skyline as a backdrop. Meanwhile, Souq Waqif provides the perfect combination of shopping and dining. The restaurants sit along a wide boulevard and provide the chance to sample dishes from a range of Arabian and other cuisines while watching the hustle and bustle of the Souq. The Latest – in Malls. The bright, modern and spacious malls house numerous exclusive designer stores, outlets for international brands, supermarkets, lifestyle and home stores, electronic shops, jewellery stores, eyewear boutiques, pharmacies, restaurants and fast food outlets. Let’s not forget the choice of entertainment available – cinemas, ice skating, bowling, indoor theme parks and children’s play zones and amusement arcades. Services such as banks and Qtel are at hand. The shopping malls of Doha are home to superb food courts offering an impressive selection of well-known international fast foods along with quality cafés and restaurants.
Shopping Malls. Centrepoint City Center-Doha Emporium Hyatt Plaza Landmark Royal Plaza The Centre The Mall Villaggio
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Department Stores. 51 East (Salwa Rd) Al Muftah Bhs (Landmark) Debenhams (City Center-Doha) Highland (The Mall) Marks & Spencer Merch Salam Stores
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ENTERTAINMENT INFORMATION Luxury – at The Pearl-Qatar. Aptly named, The Pearl-Qatar is an island rediscovered along the eastern shore of Qatar; an Arabian Riviera with influences from France, Italy and the Middle East. Lying directly north of Doha and West Bay, the project, once completed, will boast luxury residential accommodation for 41,000 residents, at least three five‑star hotels and moorings at the marinas for around 1,000 boats. The first phase of the project, Porto Arabia, is already open and houses an abundance of exclusive shopping outlets, restaurants and cafés. Visitors can take a leisurely browse among carefully selected global brands. Outlets include designer fashion houses such as Alexander McQueen, jewellers including Georg Jensen, cigar and chocolate specialists, and even luxury marque car showrooms. Experience fine dining at maze Gordon Ramsay, or Richard Sandoval’s and Placido Domingo’s Pampano; alternatively soak up the ambience while having a leisurely latte at a boulevard café. With boat trips available and numerous organised events there is something for everyone. And if you fall in love with The PearlQatar you may just decide you want to live there. Contact one of the local real estate agents to find out about property investment opportunities. Venues to visit include: The Qatar Photographic Society, The Visual Arts Centre, The Falconry Centre, Al Jazeera Broadcasting, Qatar Music Academy, Qatar Fine Arts Society, The Childhood Cultural Centre. On site is a media centre, various academic facilities, a handicrafts souq, a book market, coffee shops, information centres and a public beach.There are several places to revive spirits and partake 23
in gourmet cuisine. Restaurants include Saffron Lounge, opened by Michelin‑starred chef Vineet Bhatia, Khan Farouk offering Egyptian cuisine, and L’wzaar fish market. Katara is Qatar’s focal point for local and international musical, arts and cultural festivals throughout the year. The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra hold regular performances in the sound‑proofed Opera House; The Qatar Museum Authority Gallery features exhibitions; and Katara is the hub for the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. Doha Corniche & Al Rumaila Park. Extending 7km along Doha’s waterfront from Ras Abu Abboud to Sheraton Park, the picturesque palm tree-lined Corniche is flanked by rolling green lawns, banks of flowers, a medley of old and new buildings, hotels and landmark architecture. Bikes can be hired in the Sheraton Park and there are designated biking and walking paths. Just across Al Corniche Street, Al Rumaila Park is beautifully landscaped and has a number of attractions: an art gallery, an open-air theatre, which is used during the annual cultural festival, water features, shops, a café, toilet facilities, a play park and a half-pipe for skateboard enthusiasts. Walking to the southern end visitors can see the traditional dhow harbour, and just opposite visit Fanar, Qatar’s Islamic Cultural Center. The Center offers non-Muslims the opportunity to learn more about Islam and gives a three-hour tour of its mosque on the last Friday of every month for timings, call +974 4425 0250 The Museum of Islamic Art makes a distinctive architectural statement at the southern tip. Doha Zoo. Home to 1,500 animals belonging to 147 species from all over the world, Doha Zoo offers a great opportunity to see some of the region’s desert creatures, as well as many traditional zoo animals. Located on Al Furousiya Street, the zoo is in an attractive landscaped setting and visitors can combine the pleasures of a picnic with a fun and educational day out for the whole family. Opening hours are Sunday to Wednesday 8am– 8pm, Friday 2pm–8 pm; hours may vary, so check first by calling +974 4468 2610. 24
SIGHTSEEING AROUND QATAR Al Khor. 40km north of Doha, this old former pearl fishing town provides a pleasant break from the bustle of Doha. There are several play areas and sun shelters along the Corniche, and families can enjoy a picnic lunch. Photo opportunities abound at the old fishing harbour and the nearby mangroves. The small museum showcases early life in this town. Al Wakra. 12km south of Doha past Doha International Airport, Al Wakra has grown from a tiny fishing and pearling village into a small residential town with a busy harbour. Away from the harbour there are numerous mosques, old minarets, forts and wind-towers offering us some of the finest examples of traditional architecture. Khor Al Adaid. Khor Al Adaid, or the Inland Sea, is one of Qatar’s finest treasures and an area of breathtaking beauty. The towering crescent-shaped sand dunes that soar from the water’s edge are a photographer’s dream. The sea surges west in a narrow channel that divides Qatar from Saudi Arabia, curving north to create a shallow tidal lake. Local tour companies organise day trips and overnight camps, exhilarating drives along the dunes, as well as picnics, barbecues and folkloric entertainment.
Flora & Fauna. Wherever you go in Qatar you will see some fine examples of its flora and fauna. Birds flourish in the city, the coast and desert, which is home to over 300 species of wild flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees. See the graceful Arabian oryx at the Al Sheehaniya nature reserve. Forts, Towers & Excavation Sites. Qatar has numerous old forts and towers spread out across the country, offering a glimpse of bygone times and the days when the tribes of the land were constantly on alert for invading armies. Some of the dozen or so heritage sites have been partially restored. One photo opportunity in the middle of Doha is Al Khoot Fort adjacent to the Souq Waqif car park. Visit the Qatar Museums Authority website: www.qma. org.qa for details of sites. Al Zubara. At the northwest tip of Qatarâ€™s peninsula, the rather desolate area of Al Zubara was once a thriving settlement. Six thousand inhabitants lived there, earning their living by fishing, pearl harvesting and trading. The fortress city was destroyed in a siege in 1878. Archaeological excavations are ongoing, but the foundations of the city walls, watchtowers and dwellings have been uncovered.
Sightseeing. An organised tour is a great way to see Qatar. Tour operators offer shopping, Bedouin camping excursions, water sports and dhow trips, plus visits to heritage sites, activity tours and more. Contact Regency Travel & Tours Mazaya Tourism Arabian Adventures Black Pearl Gulf Adventures Qatar International Adventures Qatar International Tours
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Gondolania. The newest and the largest family entertainment destination in Doha, it is housed in Villaggio Mall, it boasts an Olympic-sized ice skating rink, Venetian-inspired Gondola Boat Ride, a ferris wheel, carousel, bumper cars and a state-of-the-art Go Kart track and a 12-lane bowling alley. For more information visit www.gondolania.com.
Quick Qatar Fact. In 2010, Qatar was selected by footballâ€™s governing body FIFA to host the 2022 World Cup.
SPORTING INFORMATION Qatar plays host to a variety of big international sporting events. Here’s a list of some of the major and annual events but look out for an ever-changing line-up of sailing and aquatic sports and events, as well as fencing, diving, beach volleyball, camel racing, show jumping, other equestrian events, and much more to be hosted in Qatar throughout the year. 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™. Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, automatically qualifying to compete in it too – alongside international footballing giants such as Brazil, Argentina, Spain, England, and Germany, and the world’s greatest players. ‘Sail the Gulf’. The Qatar International Regatta (‘Sail the Gulf’) is held annually at Doha Sailing Club, Ras Abu Aboud, Doha. The Championship is organised by Qatar Sailing & Rowing Federation in co-operation with Doha Sailing Club. Tennis. Professional tennis in Qatar started small but strong, and has grown in popularity over time. The ATP Qatar ExxonMobil Open is a regular stop on the professional tennis tours, with the world’s top tennis stars arriving to defend their title. For more information visit www.atpworldtour.com Golf – Qatar Masters. Ever since 1998, Doha Golf Club has hosted the prestigious Qatar Masters tournament, held as part of the European PGA tours schedule. Each year, many of the world’s top-ranked golfers compete on the Club’s unique and challenging desert-type Championship Course, designed by Peter Harradine – one of the world’s leading golf course architects. For more information visit www.qatar-masters.com 29
Qatar MotoGP. The Qatar MotoGP has been part of the Motor Bike Grand Prix circuit since 2004. MotoGP is the premier motorcycle racing World Championship; an 18-race series visiting 14 countries, and four continents. Several nationalities of the world’s most skilled riders line a grid armed with cutting-edge motorcycle technology with prototype machinery fielded by four manufacturers; Ducati, Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki. For more information visit www.qatargrandprix.com. Cycling Tour of Qatar. Run by Qatar Cycling Federation, this is the only event of its kind in the Middle East, with cyclists taking part in a gruelling multi-stage race in and around Doha, starting at West Bay Lagoon, and ending with a 123.5km, seven-lap race at The Corniche. For more information visit www.qatarcf.org. Camel Races. Camel racing takes place at the track in Al Sheehaniya, a 30-minute drive to the west of Doha on the Dukhan Road. Racing season runs from October to May, and several prestigious events are held in March and April. You can visit Al Sheehaniya at any time, and local tour companies arrange trips when races are scheduled. Dhows & Fishing. The dhows (traditional Arab wooden sailing vessels with one or more lateen sails) of the Gulf can be seen in the bay on Doha’s Corniche and in the fishing harbours of Al Wakra and Al Khor. Short trips can be taken off Doha’s Corniche, where a number of dhows are permanently moored, while tour companies organise private trips on large dhows.
ASPIRE Zone. ASPIRE Zone is a lasting legacy of Doha’s hosting of the Asian Games in 2006. This state-of-the-art sporting and leisure complex boasts some of the world’s finest stadiums and sporting facilities, including Khalifa International Stadium. The ASPIRE Park covers more than 88 hectares and is Doha’s largest park. Located just behind Villaggio Mall, ASPIRE Park has become a popular place for families and outdoor lovers. With its cycleways and walking paths as well as picnic areas, the park has playing fields and children’s play areas. Racing & Equestrian Club. Horse racing is very popular here, and purebred Arabian horses race for prestigious trophies such as the Qatar International Cup and the Emir’s Cup. Races take place on Thursday and once a month on Wednesday 4pm–8pm throughout the season (October to May). Entrance is free. Call +974 4482 5701 Al Shaqab Equestrian Center. Established by HH the Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Al Shaqab is set in a spectacular custom-built venue with world-class facilities. The centre is home to an unrivalled collection of purebred Arabian show and racehorses, as well as a riding school. Visits to Al Shaqab can be arranged through a tour company.
Hotels & Spas 1
Four Seasons Doha
Grand Hyatt Doha
W Doha Hotel
Sheraton Doha Resort
Mรถvenpick Tower & Suites Doha
Millennium Hotel Doha
Al Sultan Beach Resort (off map)
Sharq Village & Spa
Renaissance Doha City Centre
St. Regis Doha
Ramada Plaza Doha
Mercure Grand Hotel
Royal Qatar Hotel
Convention Centres 1
Doha Exhibition Centre
Qatar National Convention Centre
Doha Exhibitions & Convention Centre
Legend Hotels & Spas Conference Centres Tourist Attractions
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Museum of Islamic Art
Al Ruwais Al Mafjar Al Zubara Lisha
Madinat al Ka’ban
Al Jumayliyah Zekreet
Umm Salal Muhammed
Qatar Umm Sa’id Al Kharrara As Salwa
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