Qatar is a peninsular Arab country that is located in the Persian Gulf and shares its borders with Saudi Arabia. Previously under Bahraini, Saudi, Ottoman and lastly British rule from 1916-1971, Qatar became an independent state on 3rd September 1971. Since then, it has undergone monumental changes. Thanks to its large reserves of natural gas and oil, the population has boomed from only 110,000 people in 1970 to around 2.5 million people in 2016. Qatar is classified as a country of high human development and enjoys a high per capita income as a result.
Its capital city is Doha, recognised in 2014 as one of the 'New7Wonders Cities' alongside Beirut, Havana, and Kuala Lumpur. Its famous, ever changing skyline is dominated by ultramodern architecture and is a stark contrast to the traditional Arabic Old Souq in the downtown area. In 2022, Qatar will be the first Arab country to host the FIFA Wold Cup of football.
Hamad International Airport (HIA) has replaced Doha International Airport as international flights hub. HIA is located approximately 13 km from Doha and offers several bus routes to Doha and surrounding areas.
HIA has joined the top tier of global airports becoming the sixth airport in the world to receive the '5-Star Airport' designation by Skytrax.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Doha. As well as visiting the local beaches, a must for any trip is a stroll along the waterfront promenade of Doha Corniche, which extends for several kilometres along Doha Bay. Along here The Msheireb Enrichment Centre is located, a landmark destination showcasing Qatar's culture and heritage.
History and art lovers have a great pick of places to visit! The Museum of Islamic Art sits opposite Doha Bay and presents over 1400 years worth of Islamic art from three continents. For those interested in art, The Arab Museum of Modern Art reflects that Qatar is one of the biggest art buying countries in the world. The Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art is also located in Doha and offers an Arab perspective on modern arts. It is considered to be one of the most important cultural attractions in the country. Don't forget to check out the Al Zubara Fort located in the ancient city of Zubara, located in the Northwest of Qatar.
Whilst in Doha, don't forget to take a tour on a double decker bus or on the dhow boat cruise to absorb all of the sights the city has to offer, such as The Pearl Qatar Marina and the picturesque promenade. Head to the Souq Waqif for a spot of shopping - traditionally crafted gifts, garments and spices are abundant here. This traditional souq contrasts to the modern shopping malls, housing luxury boutiques and world famous brands, which can be found throughout the city.
If interested, you can also drive one hour north of downtown Doha and visit the Al-Shahaniya Camel Race Track located in the Zikrit peninsula, which hosts some of the most exciting camel races in Qatar!
Qatar enjoys a hot desert climate with very long summers and scarce rainfall. The average temperature in the month of March is around the mid-twenties degrees centigrade, with the highest temperature ever recorded being 39 degrees centigrade. Overnight temperatures can feel chilly, so a coat or jacket is recommended for evenings. March is also the month with the highest chance of rain, although this mostly happens on isolated days.
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