History of Qatar
A former pearl-fishing centre and once one of the poorest Gulf states, Qatar’s recent history reads like a fairy tale – within the space of 70 years, emerging from virtual anonymity to become the richest per capita country in the world.
Ruled by the Thani family for almost 150 years, the country was a British protectorate until declaring independence in 1971.
In 1995 Crown Prince Hamad bin Khalifa became Emir, an event which accelerated the modernisation of the country through political and institutional reforms including the empowerment of women, encouraging a diversified knowledge-based economy, and opening the country to tourism.
In 2013, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani succeeded his father as Emir, sending a powerful message that Qatar remains committed to empowering its youth as the nation strides confidently toward making its 2030 National Vision a glorious reality.
Geography and Climate
Qatar is an 11,437 square kilometre peninsula located halfway down the west coast of the Arabian Gulf, with 563 km of uninterrupted coastline.
Qatar has a moderate desert climate with long hot summers and mild winters. Summer temperatures can rise up to 50° Celsius and winter temperatures can fall to 7° Celsius. Rainfall average is 70mm per year, usually between October and March.
Facts & Figures
- Official Name: State of Qatar
- Capital: Doha
- Population: 1.86 million
- Currency: Qatari Riyal (QAR). Exchange rate fixed at US $1 = QAR 3.64
- Time Zone: GMT + 3 hours
The pearl of the Arabian Gulf and capital city of Qatar, Doha is one of the fastest growing cities in the world boasting a multi-billion dollar portfolio of large-scale business and lifestyle projects.
In addition to being one of the Middle East’s major commercial centres, the city hosts yearly a great number of sporting and cultural events. Shopping malls offer high-end boutiques, cinemas, local and international brand restaurants, and family activities including ice-skating, bowling and amusement parks.
Please visit the official Qatar Tourism Authority website, www.qatartourism.gov.qa , for more information on the various events and “things to do” during your stay.