The capital city is Doha, which is filled with futuristic skyscrapers and ultramodern architecture. This country has a subtropical desert climate with low annual rainfall and hot and humid summers. July is the hottest month where the temperature can soar to 122.7° F. January is the coolest month with highs ranging from 77° F to 95° F. February is the wettest month and you will typically experience constant cloud cover.
In 2018 this country had a population of 2.694 million people who belong to three groups; Bedouin, Hadar, and Abd. Bedouins are a nomadic people who historically have settled along the desert regions in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and the Levant (which is comprised of modern-day Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon). The ancestors of Hadar’s typically were town dwellers, with some Hadar’s descending from Bedouins and the majority descending from migrants in present-day Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The Abd is from the word Alabd, which means slaves and are the descendants of slaves brought from east Africa. Even though there is an ethnic distinction, all three groups identify themselves as القطري. Arabic is the official language; however, English, Farsi, and Urdu are spoken as well.
The food is varied with many staples imported in from other countries. The local dishes have been influenced by the cuisine of the Indian Subcontinent, Iran, the Levant, and North Africa. Some of the dishes eaten by the locals are: Machboos (a stew of richly spiced rice with seafood or meat, mutton served with yogurt, ghuzi, a whole roast lamb on a bed of rice with nuts, and stuffed boiled sheep or goat served with seasoned rice. The centerpiece of the meal generally is accompanied by a variety of side dishes, including chicken, fish, vegetables, and salad. Dates grown locally, fresh fruit, and desserts like halwa or Umm Ali round off a typical meal. To experience the best food and Arabic coffee visit Souq Waqif and Katara.
There are many sights and activities to choose from such as:
- Al Thakira Mangroves is a large area of vegetation attracting various birds, including flamingos and herons. Exploring the mangroves can be done by kayak.
- Al Zubarah Fort is a restored UNESCO World Heritage site and serves as an example of 18th – 19th century settlement in the region. It covers the remains of a walled coastal town, which was one of the Gulf’s most important pearl diving trading centers. UNESCO said “Al Zubarah bears a unique testimony to the human interaction with both the sea and the harsh desert environment of the region. Pearl divers’ weights imported ceramics, depictions of dhows, fish traps, wells and agricultural activity show how the town’s development was driven by trade and commerce, and how closely the town’s inhabitants related to the sea and their desert hinterland.”
- Doha’s corniche is a 4.35-mile waterfront promenade and stretches the entire length of Doha Bay. The corniche offers spectacular vistas of the city from the dramatic high-rise towers of the central business district. Traditional wooden dhows line the bay and evoke echoes of its great seafaring past. The corniche is a vehicle-free pedestrian space in the heart of the capital with cafes, restaurants, outdoor exercise facilities, and a running track.
- Museum of Islamic Art featuring some of the finest art and artifacts across the Islamic world. The collection includes paintings, glassworks, metalwork, ceramics, textiles and manuscripts. The Museum of Islamic Art offers indoor and outdoor cafes, a gift shop, and a world class restaurant ran by Alain Ducasse. To learn more about the museum including hours of operation, follow the link: http://www.mia.org.qa.
- The Ras Abrouq peninsula boasts a lunar-like landscape of limestone rock formations sculpted by the wind, unspoiled sandy beaches, and a wild deer reserve. The peninsula is a popular spot to take pictures of the sunrise and sunset.
- Dahl Al Misfir Cave is 40 meters deep and can give off a phosphorescent glow. The glow is due to gypsum deposits and gives rise to the geological phenomena known as “desert roses” (clusters of roughly rose-shaped gypsum crystals).
- The Pearl is known as the most glamorous address in the Middle East. The Pearl is a man-made island off the West Bay coast featuring Mediterranean-style yacht-lined marinas, upmarket residential towers, villas and internationally renowned hotels, as well as luxury shopping at top brand name boutiques and showrooms. A popular dining spot with dozens of restaurants, its waterfront promenades are lined with cafes and restaurants serving every taste – from a refreshing ice cream to a five-star dining experience. The Pearl is a popular visitor attraction by its chic elegance, outdoor atmosphere and al fresco dining. Hence its inviting description as the ‘Arabian Riviera’.
- Shopping: The souqs are still very much part of modern life and some specialize in products, such as fish or fruit and vegetables. Certain areas of the market are often devoted to groups of adjacent shops all selling related products, such as clothing and fabric, gold and jewelry, spices or kitchen wares. It’s is a great place for the dedicated shopper and ideal for finding souvenirs and regional specialties. Popular purchases include: carpets, rugs and textiles; Bedouin weaving; Arabic coffee pots; antique silver; incense burners; prayer beads; inlaid jewelry boxes; miniature dhows; brass items; and regional art and handicrafts. The market – as well as the nearby specialist gold souq – is also an excellent source of great value jewelry, precious metals and stones. In contrast to the atmosphere and bustle of the souqs with their multiple small shops, there are many large stand-alone retail outlets and showrooms lining the streets of Doha’s main shopping districts, as well as a fine array of large and small malls offering visitors a total shopping experience in air-conditioned indoor comfort. The mall features department stores, brand name boutiques, and individual shops offering an immense range of both regional and international products. Malls usually include under-cover parking, banks, supermarkets, coffee shops, food outlets and entertainment activities, such as cinemas, ten-pin bowling and ice skating.
Once you finish exploring this beautiful country, don’t forget to take home unique souvenirs. This country boasts some of the best souvenirs such as: Arabic coffee pots, Abaya, decorated Shishas, Pashminas, Dates, Oud, Wooden Boxes, Spices, Arabic Sweets, and Jewelry. This country is waiting for you to explore all it has to offer.
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