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|— City and Municipality —|
|• City||132 km2 (51 sq mi)|
|• Density||11,000/km2 ( 28,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||AST ( UTC+3)|
Doha (Arabic: الدوحة, ad-Dawḥa or ad-Dōḥa, literally: "the big tree") is the capital city of the state of Qatar. Located on the coast of the Persian Gulf, it had a population of 998,651 in 2008, and is also one of the municipalities of Qatar. Doha is Qatar's largest city, with over 60% of the nation's population residing in Doha or its surrounding suburbs, and is also the economic centre of the country.
Doha also serves as the seat of government of Qatar, which is ruled by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Doha is home to the Education City, an area devoted to research and education. Doha was the site of the first ministerial-level meeting of the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization negotiations. The city of Doha held the 2006 Asian Games, which was the largest Asian Games ever held. Doha also hosted the 2011 Pan Arab Games and most of the games at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. Doha hosted the UNFCCC Climate Negotiations (COP 18) December 2012 and will host a large number of the venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The World Petroleum Council held the 20th World Petroleum Conference in Doha in December 2011.
In 1825, the city of Doha was founded under the name Al-Bidda. The name "Doha" came from the Arabic ad-dawḥa, "the big tree." The reference might be to a prominent tree that stood at the site where the original fishing village arose, on the eastern coast of the Qatar peninsula. Or it might have been derived from "dohat" — Arabic for bay or gulf — referring to the Doha Bay area surrounding Corniche. In 1825, during the war between Qatar and Bahrain, Doha had been severely damaged and Abu Dhabi was helping Bahrain. In 1882, Al Rayyan built the Al Wajbah fortress, in southwestern Doha. The following year, Sheikh Qassim bin Mohammed Al Thani led a Qatari army to victory against the Ottomans.
The city was made capital of the British protectorate of Qatar in 1916, and became the nation's capital following the independence of Qatar in 1971.
In 1917, the Al Koot Fort fortress, which is located in the centre of the city, was built by Sheikh Abdulla Bin Qassim Al-Thani. Still, during the early 20th century, much of Qatar's economy depended on fishing and pearling, and Doha had about 350 pearling boats. However, after the introduction of the Japanese cultured pearls in the 1930s, the whole region, including the town of Doha, suffered a major depression and Qatar was plunged into poverty. This lasted until in the late 1930s, when oil was discovered. However, the exploration and exportation was halted due to the second world war. Today the nation as a whole produces over 800,000 barrels of oil daily. In 1969, the Government House opened. Today it is considered to be Qatar's most prominent landmark.
The first mention of Al Bidda in English sources appeared in 1765, on a rather inaccurate map by Carsten Niebhur, in which Al Bidda is referred to as Guttur. Carsten had not visited Qatar personally, and had relied on the knowledge of local Arabs and English sea captains to fill in this section of his map. In the nineteenth century, Doha was little more than a small village which was known as Al Bidda. In 1820, Major Colebrook described it thus:
"Guttur – Or Ul Budee [Al Bidda], once a considerable town, is protected by two square Ghurries near the sea shore; but containing no fresh water they are incapable of defence except against sudden incursions of Bedouins, another Ghurry is situated two miles inland and has fresh water with it. This could contain two hundred men. There are remaining at Uk Budee about 250 men, but the original inhabitants, who may be expected to return from Bahrein, will augment them to 900 or 1,000 men, and if the Doasir tribe, who frequent the place as divers, again settle in it, from 600 to 800 men.''"
However, the small size of the place didn't stop it from being bombarded by the British vessel Vestal in 1821, after the city had been deemed to have broken a general treaty of peace. They were bombed again in 1841 after Al-Suwaidi, the Sudanese chief who then ruled Al Bidda, was accused of habouring an outlaw, and the village was destroyed in 1847 after its leader – Bin Tarif Bin Salamah – had been killed in battle against the Al Khalifas of Bahrain near Fuweirat. These major disturbances were probably also punctuated by the customary raids of the nomadic Bedouin;]: raids which would not stop for another hundred years.
At some point after this destruction, the Al Thani family moved from Fuwairet to Al Bidda, for when the British Resident visited the village he found that Sheikh Mohammed bin Thani was now chief of Doha. Doha was now a separate village close to Al Bidda, and in between Al Bidda and Doha lay little Doha, only four hundred yards form Al Bidda. Paradoxically, the roots of its future as the capital of Qatar lay when Doha, along with Al Wakrah, were attacked again – by Bahrain in 1867, aided by Abu Dhabi. Doha and Al Wakra attempted to retaliate in a very bloody sea battle.
The British, who wished to avoid disruption to trade and were angry that the Al Khalifas of Bahrain had broken a treaty forbidding maritime warfare in the area, came to Qatar and were met by the headman of Al Bidda, Sheikh Mohammed bin Thani, on behalf of "all the Sheikhs and tribes" in the peninsula. This meeting was, eventually, to lead to Qatar becoming a nation state under the Al Thanis. For a time Ottomans took up a rather nominal control of the country, with a base in Doha, with the acquiescence of Qassim Al Thani, who wished to consolidate his control of the area. However, disagreement over tribute and interference in internal affairs arose which eventually led to battle in 1893. The Ottomans were defeated and retreated to their small fort in the centre of Doha, where they remained until they finally left during the first world war. Partly as a result of the departure of the Ottomans, Qatar was made a formal British protectorate in 1916, with Doha as its capital.
At about 1900 Doha had a population of around 12,000 and around 350 pearling boats. However, the growth of trade in cultured pearls from Japan began to impact upon the region, and this was exacerbated by the depression of the 1930s.
The exploitation of Qatar's oil reserves after the end of the second world war was to save the city, although it was to be some time before the source of their current and future wealth – natural gas – was exploited.
Buildings at the time were simple dwellings of one or two rooms, built from mud, stone and coral. However, the Amirs of Qatar were not long in exploiting the new-found wealth, and slum areas were quickly razed to be replaced by more modern buildings. As with other countries in the region, in this rush to modernize much of the country’s heritage was lost, and in Doha now there is only a single remaining wind tower. The astonishing development of Doha, and the changing shape of the bay, can be seen to this day in Qatar’s National Museum. Doha was a port of some local significance. However, the shallow water of the bay prevented bigger ships from entering the port until the 1970s, when its deep-water port was completed. Further changes followed with extensive land reclamation, which led to the crescent-shaped bay that we can see today.
In 1973, the University of Qatar opened, and in 1975 the Qatar National Museum opened in what was originally the ruler's palace in 1912. The Al Jazeera Arabic satellite television news channel began broadcasting from Doha in 1996. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani currently rules in what some consider to be Qatar's most beautiful city.
By 2010, Qatar had a population of 1,696,563, making it one of the world's fastest-developing countries.
|Climate chart ( explanation)|
Doha has a subtropical arid climate ( Köppen climate classification BWh). Temperatures average over 38 °C (100 °F) from May to September, and humidity is variable. Dewpoints can surpass 25 °C (77 °F) in the summer. During the summer months, the city averages almost no precipitation, and less than 20 mm (0.79 in) during other months. Rainfall is scarce, at an average of 75 mm (2.95 in) per annum, falling on isolated days mostly between October to March. Winters are mild, and the temperature rarely drops below 7 °C (45 °F).
Summer temperatures frequently reach or surpass 40 °C (104 °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
|Rainfall mm (inches)||13.2
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||1.7||2.1||1.8||1.4||0.2||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.1||0.2||1.3||8.8|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||244.9||224.0||241.8||273.0||325.5||342.0||325.5||328.6||306.0||303.8||276.0||241.8||3,432.9|
|Source: NOAA (1962-1992)|
The demography of Doha is unusual in that the majority of residents are expatriates, with Qatari nationals forming a minority. The largest portion of expatriates in Qatar are from South-East and South Asian countries, mainly Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Philippines, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, with large numbers of expatriates also coming from the Levant Arab countries, North Africa, and East Asia. Doha is also home to expatriates from Germany, the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, France, South Africa, and Australia as well as many other countries from all over the world.
In the past, expatriates in Qatar were not allowed to own land; however, now people who are not Qatari citizens can buy land in several areas of Doha, including the West Bay Lagoon, the Qatar Pearl and the new Lusail City. Ownership by foreigners in Qatar entitles them to a renewable residency permit, which allows them to live and work in Qatar.
Each month, thousands emigrate to Qatar, and as a result, Doha has witnessed explosive growth rates in population. Doha's population currently stands at around one million, with the population of the city more than doubling in the past decade. Due to the high influx of expatriates, the Qatari housing market saw a shortage of supply which led to a rise in prices and increased inflation. The gap in the housing market between supply and demand has narrowed, however, and property prices have fallen in some areas following a period which saw rents triple in some areas.
Several churches have recently been constructed in Doha, following decrees by the Emir for the allocation of land to churches. In March 2008, the first Catholic Church in Doha, Our Lady of the Rosary, was opened. The church structure is discreet and Christian symbols are not displayed on the outside of the building. Today, several churches exist in Doha, including the Malankara Orthodox Church, Mar Thoma Church (affiliated with the Anglicans, but not part of the Communion), CSI Church, Syro-Malankara Church and the Pentecostal Church.
The following table shows the registered live births by nationality and sex for this municipality. Place of births is based on home municipality of mother at birth.
|Year||Qatari Male||Qatari Female||Total Qatari||Non Qatari Male||Non Qatari Female||Total Non Qatar||Total Male||Total Female||Grand Total|
According to Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, in year 1963, the first municipality was the Municipality of Qatar, created under Law No. 11. Later in the same year, its name was changed to Municipality of Doha by Law No. 15. Since 2004, Qatar has been divided into seven municipalities. Doha is the most populated municipality among them with a population of 998,651 as of 2008.
The following is a list of some of Doha's more prominent districts:
Much of Qatar's oil and natural gas wealth is visible in Doha, which is the economic centre of Qatar. Doha is home to the headquarters of the country's largest oil and gas companies, including Qatar Petroleum, Qatargas and RasGas. Doha's economy is built on the revenue the country has made from its oil and natural gas industries, and the Qatari government is rapidly trying to diversify the Qatari economy in order to move away from this dependence on oil. As a result, Doha is currently experiencing a very large boom, with the city developing very rapidly – this is mostly the result of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa's modernization program.
Like the nearby city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Doha's economy is moving away from its dependency on the oil and natural gas industries, although unlike Dubai, Doha's main focus is not tourism. Doha is seeing huge amounts of growth, with the population of the city increasing by more than 30,000 between 2004 and 2006; this has caused a boom in the real estate sector, with real estate prices skyrocketing. According to the BBC, as of late January 2007, Doha is now a more expensive city than Dubai in terms of real estate prices. This rate of growth has led to projects such as the Lusail City project, which is being constructed north of Doha and will eventually house 200,000 people. Construction is also booming in Doha, a result of increasing corporate and commercial activity there. This is most visible with the changing skyline of the city, as Doha has over 50 towers currently being constructed, the largest of which is the Dubai Towers. At the same time, 39 new hotels are joining Qatar's booming tourism market, adding about 9,000 new rooms by 2009.
Qatar Airways is headquartered in the Qatar Airways Tower in Doha.
Doha was included in Fortune's 15 best new cities for business for the year 2011.
Some projects in Doha include:
- Aspire Tower
- Education City
- Museum of Islamic Art
- The Pearl
- Al Waab City
- Dubai Towers - Doha
- Commercialbank Plaza
Doha has recently been undergoing a huge expansion to its transportation network, including the addition of new highways, the construction of a new airport, and the planned construction of a metro system. This has all been as a result of Doha's massive growth in a short space of time, which has resulted in congestion on its roads.
Education has been a major focus of the Qatari government in recent years. In addition to Qatar University, established in 1973, the government has solicited other universities to establish campuses in Doha, most notably at Education City.
Education City is one of the main projects of the non-profit organization Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. It has also launched the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), a global forum that brings together education stakeholders, opinion leaders and decision makers from all over the world to discuss educational issues. The first edition will be held in Doha, Qatar from November 16 to 18, 2009.
A key player in the educational field in Qatar is the Supreme Council of Communication and Information Technology ictQATAR. Through its e-education program, ictQATAR is bringing together the power of education and ICT in Qatar.
Doha is also home to many international schools established for its expatriate communities, with dozens of different private schools currently operating in the city, such as
Schools within and around Doha:
- Qatar Academy
- Qatar International School
- Pakistan Education Centre
- The American School of Doha
- The International School of Choueifat
- Lebanese School
- Doha College
- DeBakey High School for Health Professions at Qatar
- The Qatar Canadian School
- Philippine School Doha
- Bangladesh M.H.M High School & College, Doha-Qatar
- MES Indian School
- DPS-Modern Indian School, Doha-Qatar
- Ideal Indian School
- Doha Modern Indian School
- The Cambridge School (Doha)
- Newton International School
- Shantiniketan Indian School (wakra)
- Birla Public School, Doha-Qatar
- Compass International School
- Qatar Leadership Academy, Al Khor
- Modern English School - Doha
- International School of London Qatar
- SBS & SRS Complex of Iranian School
Universities/colleges within Education City: (See Education City)
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar
- Texas A&M University at Qatar
- Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar
- Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar
- Northwestern University in Qatar
- HEC Paris
- UCL Qatar
Other Universities/colleges around Doha:
- Qatar University
- College of the North Atlantic
- CHN University
- University of Calgary
Doha is home to a number of sports stadiums, many of which were renovated in preparation for the 15th Asian Games, held in December 2006, which Doha spent $2.8 billion for preparation. Doha also hosted the 3rd West Asian Games in December 2005. Doha is also expected to host the 2011 Asian Indoor Games; Doha was also host the finals for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. Qatar is aiming to be the region's sports capital.
Sports venues in Doha and its suburbs include:
- Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium – Al-Ahly Stadium
- Thani bin Jassim Stadium – Al-Gharrafa Stadium
- Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium (Al Sadd Stadium)
- Al Rayyan Stadium- Ahmed bin Ali Stadium
- Al-Arabi Stadium – Grand Hamad Stadium
- Hamad Aquatic Centre
- Khalifa International Stadium – Main venue for the 2006 Asian Games.
- Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex
- Qatar Sports Club Stadium
ASPIRE Academy, launched in 2004, is a sports academy which aims to create world-class athletes. It is situated in the Doha Sports City Complex, which also includes the Khalifa International Stadium, the Hamad Aquatic Centre and the Aspire Tower.
The MotoGP motorcycling grand prix of Doha is held annually at Losail International Circuit, located just north of the city.
Doha is also the location of the Grand Prix of Qatar for the F1 Powerboat World Championship, hosting a round annually out in the bay which the city overlooks.
Under-construction stadiums/sport facilities:
- The Wall Stadium
- Paralympic Stadium
- Doha Sports Museum
The Wall Stadium would become the world's largest underground stadium, dwarfing the Fjellhallen ice-hockey arena in Norway, and would be the main venue for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. The stadium is estimated to cost 20 million dollars. The stadium will have the latest technology and roads leading to the stadium will be easy. While the New Paralympic stadium south of the new City of Lusail will be the most advance Paralympic stadium.
In 2001, Qatar also became the first country in the Middle East to hold a women's tennis tournament: Qatar holds both the Qatar Open for Women and the ladies ITF tournament. Since 2008 and at least for 3 years, the Sony Ericsson Championships (equivalent to the ATP's season-ending Championships) takes place in Doha, in the Khalifa International Tennis Complex, and features record prize money of $4.45 million (check of $1,485,000 for the winner, which represents the largest single guaranteed payout in women's tennis today).
Doha submitted a bid for the 2016 Olympics. On June 4, 2008, the city was eliminated from the shortlist for the 2016 Olympic Games. On August 26, 2011 it was confirmed that Doha would bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Doha however failed to become a Candidate City for the 2020 Games.
In November 2009, Doha hosted the The Oryx Cup World Championship. This is a hydroplane boat race in the H1 Unlimited season. The race took place in Doha Bay on the Persian Gulf. The H1 Unlimited and the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) agreed to have the final race of the 2009 H1 Unlimited unlimited hydroplane season in Doha. Ten of the fastest racing boats in the world traveled to Doha November 2009 for the inaugural Oryx Cup event—the H1 Unlimited World Championship—as a result of an Agreement in Principle reached January 9 between the ABRA and the QMSF.
In December 2010, Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and bring the event to the region for the first time. As a result of Qatar's harsh summers and the small population of the country, the bid contained several unique elements which were unprecedented in World Cup history. The winning bid proposed that all stadiums constructed to host the World Cup would be built as air conditioned indoor venues, in order to ensure that the event could be held in summer.
In April 2012 Doha was awarded the 2014 FINA World Swimming Championships and the 2012 World Squash Championships.
Culture and arts
Qatar has a diverse and growing arts and entertainment industry.
The Doha Film Institute (DFI) is an organisation established in 2010 to oversee film initiatives and create a sustainable film industry in Qatar. DFI was founded by H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
The Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) is Qatar's annual film festival organised by DFI.