Welcome to Doha
Doha, literally meaning 'the big tree', is the capital city of the state of Qatar. Located on the Persian Gulf, Doha also happens to be the largest city in Qatar. The city offers a great mix of Arabian and modern nuances.
History of Doha
Doha was founded under the name Al-Bida from the root word "Ad Dawhah". Doha was known to be a small village on the eastern Qatari peninsula in the 19th century.
The city was made capital of the British protectorate of Qatar in 1916, after its independence in 1971; Doha became the nation's capital.
In the early 20th century, Qatar's economy depended on fishing and pearling and Doha as a city was home to almost 350 pearling boats. Shortly after the introduction of the Japanese cultured pearls in 1930s, the entire region including Doha was plunged into poverty and suffered a major depression. It was not until the late 1930s when Oil was discovered that the state of Qatar bounced back again. Currently, Qatar produces over 800,000 barrels of oil daily.
During these periods, buildings were very simple structures of one or two rooms which were built from mud, coral or stones. However as development improved due to the new-found wealth, the entire city was replaced by more modern buildings. The city of Doha has changed dramatically and this can be seen in in Qatar national Museum.
The crescent-shaped bay that forms a major landmark in Doha today was developed as a result of the extensive land reclamation to allow for a deep-water port in Doha.
Apart from being the economic and commercial hub of Qatar with many luxury hotels, entertainment, shopping, and sporting centers, the city also proudly presents its fascinating past. Umm Salal Mohammed, a large village in the north of Doha, is only one of such historic site that is enveloped in the ruins of the 19th century fort.
Today, Doha has become one of the world's fastest developing nations and will be hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup Games. The city is all geared up to become one of the super sports and entertainments hubs of the world.
With a subtropical arid climate all year round, Doha's temperature averages over 38 °C (100 °F) from May to September. The city sees almost little or no precipitation with only less than 20 mm (0.79 in) of rain. Winters are usually mild and average temperature is around 7 °C (45 °F). In the summer, the temperature goes up to almost 50 °C.
What to wear
Qatar is an Islamic state and as courtesy, visitors are required to dress modestly particularly during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Local Qataris dress in their traditional attire. For men, office wear is generally lightweight trousers, long or short sleeved shirts and ties. Jackets are worn for formal visits to Government offices and important meetings and conferences. Normally, a lounge suit is acceptable for most evening business functions, but a dinner jacket may also be required for some social occasions. For ladies, normal smart lightweight office wear, such as a dress or long sleeved blouse and skirt is expected, or national dress. All offices are air-conditioned.
Transportation in Doha is undergoing a huge expansion to its transportation network, including the addition of new highways, the construction of a new Doha International Airport, and the planned construction of a metro rail system.
Doha International Airport is Qatar's only international airport and the major gateway of the state's Qatar Airways. The airport is also served by other international airlines. Due to the rapid growth of Qatar Airways and increased traffic through the airport, the new Doha International Airport which is currently underway will be able to accommodate up to 50 million passengers annually.
Doha Port is one of major sea port servicing Doha and one of Qatar's largest port. It is located just off Doha Corniche.
Doha has a comprehensive road network made up primarily of two and three lane dual-carriageways with roundabouts used as intersections around the city. The five major highway connecting Doha to neighbouring cities are the Dukhan highway, Al-Shamal Road connecting to the north of Qatar. The Al-Khor highway and the Wakrah Road connecting Doha to the south. Salwa Road connects Doha to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's borders.
Government-owned Mowasalat currrently operates the Bus system in Doha. The extensive bus system connects to major stops around the city. The main bus station is located in the Souq around Downtown Doha, and services major towns in Qatar.
Mowasalat company also operates all taxis in Qatar under the Karwa umbrella with over one thousand taxis servicing the city of Doha. Majority of the taxis are well-equipped, air-conditioned comfortable sedans.
Voltage is 240 AC at 50 cycles with the British Style Plugs in use.
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +3 ()
Arabic is the official language, but English is also widely acknowledged. Urdu is also spoken.
Currency: Qatari Riyal (QR).
American Express, Diners Club, Visa, MasterCard, etc are generally accepted in the main hotels and larger shops.
Both local banks and international banks represented by branches in Doha provide commercial banking services to residents and tourists. Transfers can be made without difficulty and the Qatari Riyal is freely convertible. Bank opening hours are 8.00am to 1.00pm, from Saturday to Thursdays.
Exchange houses are open from 8.30am–1.00pm and 4.30–8.30pm.