Doha is the capital city and most populous city of the State of Qatar. Doha has a population of 956,460 within the city proper.
The city is located on the coast of the Persian Gulf in the east of the country. It is Qatar's fastest growing city, with over 40% of the nation's population living in Doha or its surrounding suburbs, and it is also the economic center of the country.
Doha was founded in the 1820s as an offshoot of Al Bidda. It was officially declared as the country's capital in 1971, when Qatar gained independence. As the commercial capital of Qatar and one of the emergent financial centers in the Middle East, Doha is considered a world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Doha accommodates Education City, an area devoted to research and education.
The city was host to the first ministerial-level meeting of the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization negotiations. It was also selected as host city of a number of sporting events, including the 2006 Asian Games, the 2011 Pan Arab Games and most of the games at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. In December 2011, the World Petroleum Council held the 20th World Petroleum Conference in Doha. Additionally, the city hosted the 2012 UNFCCC Climate Negotiations and is set to host a large number of the venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In May 2015, Doha was officially recognized as one of the New7Wonders Cities together with Vigan, La Paz, Durban, Havana, Beirut, and Kuala Lumpur.
|POPULATION :||City: 956,460|
|TIME ZONE :||AST (UTC+3)|
|LANGUAGE :||Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language|
|RELIGION :||Muslim 77.5%, Christian 8.5%, other 14%|
|AREA :||132 km2 (51 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||25°17′12″N 51°32′0″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 51.40% |
• Female: 48.60%
|ETHNIC :||Arab 40%, Indian 18%, Pakistani 18%, Iranian 10%, other 14%|
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+974|
Once little more than a minuscule pearl fishing village, Doha, Qatar's capital and largest city, has emerged to become one of the pearls of the Middle East. It is one of the most rapidly-developing cities in the Persian Gulf, akin to the development seen in nearby Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and is destined to become a centre of international trade and travel.
For most of its history Doha was a poor fishing village dependent on pearl diving, and was regarded as a sleepy backwater until as recently as the early 1990s. Following the accession of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani as Emir in 1995, however, Qatar quickly began to modernize, and Doha is now taking huge strides to catch up with other nearby Gulf cities, especially in preparation for its hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022. The city is very much a work-in-progress, with a rapidly growing skyline and new buildings sprouting up almost like mushrooms.
For most visitors, Doha is synonymous with Qatar, as the vast majority of the country's population resides in the capital city. Doha has an astonishingly diverse population – just 13% of residents are native Qataris. Although Arabic is Qatar's official language, English is by default the lingua franca, as the majority of the city's expats do not speak Arabic, including most shopkeepers and service providers. Doha is also now one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, as workers continue to pour in to help build the developing economy.
If you've visited before, be assured that Doha today is not the same as it was just a couple of years ago, and will be very different again in a few years time.
The city of Doha was formed after seceding from another local settlement known as Al Bidda. The earliest documented mention of Al Bidda was made in 1681, by the Carmelite Convent, in an account which chronicles several settlements in Qatar. In the record, the ruler and a fort in the confines of Al Bidda are alluded to.
Doha was founded in the vicinity of Al Bidda sometime during the 1820s. Isa bin Tarif, a powerful tribal chief from the Al Bin Ali tribe, moved to Doha in May 1843. He subsequently evicted the ruling Sudan tribe and installed the Al-Maadeed and Al-Kuwari tribes in positions of power. Bin Tarif had been loyal to the Al Khalifa, however, shortly after the swearing in of a new ruler in Bahrain, bin Tarif grew increasingly suspicious of the ruling Al Khalifa and switched his allegiance to the deposed ruler of Bahrain, Abdullah bin Khalifa, whom he had previously assisted in deposing of. Bin Tarif died in the Battle of Fuwayrit against the ruling family of Bahrain in 1847.
The Al Thani migrated to Doha from Fuwayrit shortly after Bin Tarif's death in 1847 under the leadership of Mohammed bin Thani. In the proceeding years, the Al Thani assumed control of the town. At various times, they swapped allegiances between the two prevailing powers in the area: the Al Khalifa and the Saudis.
In 1867, a large number of ships and troops were sent from Bahrain to assault the towns Al Wakrah and Doha over a series of disputes. Abu Dhabi joined on Bahrain's behalf due to the conception that Al Wakrah served as a refuge for fugitives from Oman. Later that year, the combined forces sacked the two Qatari towns with around 2,700 men in what would come to be known as the Qatari–Bahraini War.
The joint Bahraini-Abu Dhabi incursion and subsequent Qatari counterattack prompted the British political agent, Colonel Lewis Pelly, to impose a settlement in 1868. Pelly's mission to Bahrain and Qatar and the peace treaty that resulted were milestones in Qatar's history. It implicitly recognized the distinctness of Qatar from Bahrain and explicitly acknowledged the position of Mohammed bin Thani as an important representative of the peninsula's tribes.
Pearling had come to play a pivotal commercial role in Doha by the 20th century. The population increased to around 12,000 inhabitants in the first half of the 20th century due to the flourishing pearl trade.A British political resident noted that should the supply of pearls drop, Qatar would 'practically cease to exist'. In 1907, the city accommodated 350 pearling boats with a combined crew size of 6,300 men. By this time, the average prices of pearls had more than doubled since 1877. The pearl market collapsed that year, forcing Jassim Al Thani to sell the country's pearl harvest at half its value. The aftermath of the collapse resulted in the establishment of the country's first custom house in Doha.
In April 1913, the Ottomans agreed to a British request that they withdraw all their troops from Qatar. Ottoman presence in the peninsula ceased, when in August 1915, the Ottoman fort in Al Bidda was evacuated shortly after the start of World War I. One year later, Qatar agreed to be a British protectorate with Doha as its official capital.
Buildings at the time were simple dwellings of one or two rooms, built from mud, stone and coral. Oil concessions in the 1920s and 1930s, and subsequent oil drilling in 1939, heralded the beginning of slow economic and social progress in the country. However, revenues were somewhat diminished due to the devaluation of pearl trade in the Gulf brought on by introduction of the cultured pearl and the Great Depression. The collapse of the pearl trade caused a significant population drop throughout the entire country.It was not until the 1950s and 1960s that the country saw significant monetary returns from oil drilling.
Qatar officially declared its independence in 1971, with Doha as its capital city. In 1973, the University of Qatar was opened by emiri decree, and in 1975 the Qatar National Museum opened in what was originally the ruler's palace. During the 1970s, all old neighborhoods in Doha were razed and the inhabitants moved to new suburban developments, such as Al Rayyan, Madinat Khalifa and Al Gharafa. The metropolitan area's population grew from 89,000 in the 1970s to over 434,000 in 1997. Additionally, land policies resulted in the total land area increasing to over 7,100 hectares by 1995, an increase from 130 hectares in the middle of the 20th century.
In 1983, a hotel and conference center was developed at the north end of the Corniche. The 15-storey Sheraton hotel structure in this center would serve as the tallest structure in Doha until the 1990s. In 1993, the Qatar Open became the first major sports event to be hosted in the city. Two years later, Qatar stepped in to host the FIFA World Youth Championship, with all the matches being played in Doha-based stadiums.
Since the start of the 21st century, Doha attained significant media attention due to the hosting of several global events and the inauguration of a number of architectural mega-projects. One of the largest projects launched by the government was The Pearl-Qatar, an artificial island off the coast of West Bay, which launched its first district in 2004. In 2006, Doha was selected to host the Asian Games, leading to the development of a 250-hectare sporting complex known as Aspire Zone.
Doha has a hot desert climate.
Summer is very long, from May to September, when its average high temperatures surpass 38 °C (100 °F) and often approach 45 °C (113 °F).
Humidity is usually the lowest in May and June. Dewpoints can surpass 30 °C (86 °F) in the summer. Throughout the summer, the city averages almost no precipitation, and less than 20 mm (0.79 in) during other months.
Rainfall is scarce, at a total of 75 mm (2.95 in) per annum, falling on isolated days mostly between October to March. Winters are cool and the temperature rarely drops below 7 °C (45 °F).
Climate data for Doha
|Record high °C (°F)||31.2|
|Average high °C (°F)||21.7|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||17.0|
|Average low °C (°F)||12.8|
|Record low °C (°F)||3.8|
|20.5 °C||19.1 °C||20.9 °C||23.7 °C||28.2 °C||30.9 °C||32.8 °C||33.9 °C||33.1 °C||31.0 °C||27.4 °C||23.1 °C|
Doha is located on the central-east portion of Qatar, bordered by the Persian Gulf on its coast. It is bordered by Al Wakrah municipality to the south, Al Rayyan municipality to the west, Al Daayen municipality to the north and Umm Salal municipality to the northwest. Its elevation is 10 m (33 ft).
Doha is highly urbanized. Land reclamation off the coast has added 400 hectares of land and 30 km of coastline. Half of the 22 km² of surface area which Hamad International Airport was constructed on was reclaimed land. The geology of Doha is primarily composed of weathered unconformity on the top of the Eocene period Dammam Formation, forming dolomitic limestone.
The Pearl is an artificial island in Doha with a surface area of nearly 400 ha (1,000 acres) The total project has been estimated to cost $15 billion upon completion. Other islands off Doha's coast include Palm Tree Island, Shrao's Island, Al Safia Island, and Alia Island.
Doha is the economic centre of Qatar. The city is the headquarters of numerous domestic and international organizations, including the country's largest oil and gas companies, Qatar Petroleum, Qatargas and RasGas. Doha's economy is built primarily on the revenue the country has made from its oil and natural gas industries.
Beginning in the late 20th century, the government launched numerous initiatives to diversify the country's economy in order to decrease its dependence on oil and gas resources. Doha International Airport was constructed in a bid to solidify the city's diversification into the tourism industry.This was replaced by Hamad International Airport in 2014. The new airport is almost twice the size of the former and features two of the longest runways in the world.
As a result of Doha's rapid population boom and increased housing demands, real estate prices have raised significantly. Real estate prices experienced a further spike after Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Al Asmakh, a Qatari real estate firm, released a report in 2014 which revealed substantial increases in real estate prices following a peak in 2008. Prices increased 5 to 10% in the first quarter of 2014 from the end of 2013.
At the turn of the 20th century, Doha was divided into 9 main districts. In the 2010 census, there were more than 60 districts recorded in Doha Municipality. Some of the districts of Doha include:
- Al Bidda (البدع)
- Al Dafna (الدفنة)
- Al Ghanim(الغانم)
- Al Markhiya(المرخية)
- Al Sadd (السد)
- Al Waab (الوعب)
- Bin Mahmoud(فريج بن محمود)
- Madinat Khalifa(مدينة خليفة)
- Najma (نجمه)
- Old Airport(المطار القديم)
- Ras Abu Aboud(راس أبو عبود)
- Umm Ghuwailina(ام غو يلينه)
- West Bay (الخليج الغربي)
Pre-paid SIM cards and top-up cards for Ooredoo and Vodafone can be purchased at mobile phone shops, as well as at Carrefour and Lulu hypermarkets.
Free Wi-Fi is available in Souq Waqif, public parks including the Sheraton Park and Rumaila Park, and along the Corniche. Some coffee shops also offer free connection. Ooredoo HotSpots are scattered throughout Doha, mainly in hotels and cafés. HotSpot cards in denominations of QR 30, 50, and 70 are available in any Ooredoo shop.